Rachel Zamzow

Contributing Writer, Spectrum

Rachel Zamzow is a freelance science writer based in Waco, Texas. Her work covering science and health has appeared in Spectrum and the Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications.

Rachel has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Missouri. She tweets @RachelZamzow.

February 2017
Photography by Vanessa McKeown
Features / Deep Dive

Why don’t we have better drugs for autism?

by  /  15 February 2017

Clinical trials for autism drugs have been plagued with problems: bad design, the wrong measures, too broad a range of participants. All that is finally starting to change.

January 2017
Illustration by John Hersey

Algorithm automates efforts to estimate autism prevalence

by  /  30 January 2017

A new computer program accurately estimates the prevalence of autism from children’s medical and school records.

November 2016
Molecular marker: Blood levels of a nerve growth factor may not match its levels in the brain. choja / iStock

Growth factor levels may be elevated in children with autism

by  /  11 November 2016

Children with autism may have increased blood levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein that spurs the formation of neuronal connections.

1 Comment
October 2016
Age effect:  Having young parents lowers a child’s risk of autism.Hero Images / Getty Images

Parental age has different impact on autism, schizophrenia

by  /  31 October 2016

Children born to parents who are 35 or older are at an increased risk of autism; for schizophrenia, the increased risk is limited to those born to mothers in their teens or early 20s.

1 Comment
Hispanic family taking a selfie

Rare look at Hispanic families confirms autism’s genetic pattern

by  /  20 October 2016

One of the first studies to explore Hispanic families with a history of autism reveals that parents of children with the condition show some autism features themselves.

September 2016
Double dose: Adding a second medication to a treatment for irritability may curb unwelcome weight gain in children with autism.Image Source / Getty Images

Diabetes drug slows weight gain in some children with autism

by  /  28 September 2016

Metformin can reverse weight gain in children with autism who take antipsychotic medications.

1 Comment
August 2016
Hot links: A radioactive tracer that tags proteins in synapses (yellow) highlights the density of neuronal connections.
News / Toolbox

New tool spotlights neuron junctions in living human brains

by  /  19 August 2016

A new imaging technique allows researchers to illuminate the junctions between neurons in a living person’s brain.

Clocking out:  Children with autism have trouble gauging how long things take. BeholdingEye / Getty Images

Tracking time can be tricky for children with autism

by  /  11 August 2016

Children with autism have trouble relying on past experiences to gauge how long things typically take.

July 2016
Chemical overload: The placenta (micrograph at left) responds to inflammation by shifting into overdrive, delivering a surplus of serotonin to the fetal brain. David M. Phillips / Science Source

Serotonin may mediate effects of infection in the womb

by  /  6 July 2016

Infection during pregnancy may blunt the growth of neurons in the fetus by boosting levels of the chemical messenger serotonin.

June 2016
Waiting to exhale: A malfunction in a specific part of the brain may explain why some individuals with Rett syndrome hold their breath a lot.
Vladimir Serov / Getty Images

Breathing issues in Rett stem from distinct neural circuits

by  /  24 June 2016

Each of the various breathing difficulties seen in people with Rett syndrome may arise from a distinct circuit in the brainstem.


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