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OPINION

Opinion / Viewpoint

How to improve oxytocin research for autism

by ,  /  9 March 2021

To guard against hype, scientists studying oxytocin’s role in autism and its potential as a treatment need to embrace robust theories, rigorous delivery methods and reproducible research practices.

Featured articles

Opinion / Q&A
Hands of researcher in two colors, one hand with Fragile X and the other with COIVD shapes connected by multicolored dots.

Fragile X researcher takes on COVID-19

by  /  2 March 2021
Cara Westmark has spent the past year building the case that a drug designed for fragile X syndrome might help coronavirus patients, too.
Opinion / Q&A
Oil and water with colors behind: blue, green, yellow and red.

How microscopic ‘condensates’ in cells might contribute to autism

by  /  23 February 2021
A controversial idea about how cells compartmentalize their contents into droplets — like beads of oil in water — could be key to understanding autism, says Julie Forman-Kay.
Opinion / Q&A
Maria Chahrour and Leah Seyoum-Tesfa framed by a window at Maria's home.

How two researchers built the first genetics cohort of African children with autism

by  /  16 February 2021
In this recorded interview, Maria Chahrour and Leah Seyoum-Tesfa talk about how they work closely with immigrant communities to increase diversity in genetic studies of autism.

Latest Opinion

Brain made of DNA strands on a background of molecule shapes
Opinion / Viewpoint

There are no autism-specific genes, just brain genes

by ,  /  23 March 2021

There is not yet a single example of a gene that, when mutated, increases the likelihood of autism but not of other neurodevelopmental conditions, including intellectual disability.

Opinion / Viewpoint

Autism in girls: Jumping hurdles on the path to diagnosis

by  /  3 February 2021

The barriers to an autism diagnosis are especially challenging for women and girls. A big part of the problem is still the perception of autism as a ‘male’ condition.

Brains of many colors with people standing on them, coming out of the shadows
Opinion / Reviews

Book Review: ‘Nobody’s Normal’ chronicles the intertwined history of mental illness and stigma

by  /  26 January 2021

Anthropologist and autism expert Richard Roy Grinker’s latest title reveals how our definitions of mental illnesses and notions of ‘normality’ reek of cultural biases that stop many from seeking help.

Opinion / Q&A

How polygenic scores can improve predictions about autism, schizophrenia

by  /  19 January 2021

Jacob Vorstman wants to help people who have rare mutations tied to autism, schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental conditions set expectations about outcomes.

portrait of Dr. Waganesh Zeleke.
Opinion / Q&A

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Waganesh Zeleke

by  /  22 December 2020

Waganesh Zeleke studies how cultural views can shape autistic people’s lives, as well as the lives of those around them.

Two children are interacting with a toy in the shape of a brain.
Opinion / Q&A

How redefining autism could improve research on the condition

by  /  8 December 2020

Ami Klin wants researchers, clinicians and policymakers to think of autism as something inborn that only predisposes a child to certain traits. Early intervention can change the course of development.

Portrait of of Kim Kaiser, Director of programming at Color of Autism.
Opinion / Q&A

How autism researchers can better reach Black families

by  /  1 December 2020

Kim Kaiser spoke with Spectrum about the nonprofit organization The Color of Autism, why researchers fail to reach Black families and what’s needed to fix that disparity.

Young boy looking upset, sits on couch with crossed arms.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Errors of omission: Why we are deeply concerned about research on autism therapies

by , , ,  /  24 November 2020

Studies of autism treatments rarely report adverse events, and the scientists involved often fail to disclose their conflicts of interest.

Illustration shows woman in profile with her voice forming a large diverse group of people including those with disabilities.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Autistic people are coming into their own as political players

by  /  17 November 2020

With the election of Jessica Benham and others to U.S. state legislatures, autistic politicians stand poised to advocate for policy and research on priorities that matter most to them.

hands with a red and blue string puzzle.
Opinion / Reviews

Book Review: ‘The Pattern Seekers’ links human invention — past, present and future — to autism traits

by  /  10 November 2020

Simon Baron-Cohen’s new book is essentially a 272-page argument for his hypothesis that all human innovation stems from the ability to discern and manipulate causal patterns.

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