Signs & Symptoms

Autism’s core symptoms accompany a constellation of subtle signs that scientists are just beginning to unmask.

News / Toolbox
Visual vocabulary: In a test of verbal ability, children point to a picture that represents a word.
 Amy Boelé

Test paints quick picture of intelligence in autism

by  /  24 March 2017
A picture-based test is a fast and flexible way to assess intelligence in large studies of people with autism.
Species shift: Bacteria of the genus Bifidobacterium become more abundant in the gut of children who receive a microbial transplant.
Scimat / Science Source

Microbial transplant may treat gut, social problems

by  /  22 March 2017
Replacing the microbes that inhabit the gut may ease digestive troubles and social difficulties in children with autism.
Pair bonding: Babies with Prader-Willi syndrome who receive oxytocin show improved interactions with their mothers.Monashee Alonso / Getty Images

Oxytocin boosts social skills in autism-related syndrome

by  /  15 March 2017
One week of treatment with the hormone oxytocin improves social skills and feeding in infants with Prader-Willi syndrome.
March 2017
Defining roles: Loss of the Rett syndrome gene from two different types of neurons that inhibit brain activity (red and green) leads to distinct features in mice.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Questions for Huda Zoghbi: Studying Rett in the rodent brain

by  /  14 March 2017

Removing the Rett syndrome gene, MeCP2, from distinct cells and brain regions reveals hidden features of the condition.

Illustration by Jasu Hu

Pain, impulsivity may motivate self-harm in autism

by  /  8 March 2017

People with autism who have painful digestive issues or difficulties inhibiting their impulses are particularly prone to hurting themselves.

Blank space: An infant with autism (right) has more fluid between the brain and the skull than does a typically developing baby at the same age (left).

Excess brain fluid may forecast autism in babies

by  /  6 March 2017

Some infants who are later diagnosed with autism have too much fluid between the brain and skull.

1 Comment
Illustration by Bee Johnson

Autism rates in the United States explained

by  /  2 March 2017

The bulk of the increase in autism prevalence stems from a growing awareness of the condition and changes to the diagnostic criteria.

1 Comment
Model father: Children may inherit repetitive behaviors from their parents. 
Sandro Di Carlo Darsa / Getty Images

Parents’ traits predict autism features in children

by  /  1 March 2017

Children whose parents have a condition such as autism tend to have severe restricted interests and repetitive behaviors, even if they don’t have a diagnosis themselves.

February 2017
human brain showing the corpus callosum highlighted

Brain’s bridge could yield clues to faulty wiring in autism

by  /  27 February 2017

Decoding distortions in the brain’s largest nerve tract could lay bare basic problems with long-range neural connections in autism.

1 Comment
Seeing eye to eye: A camera embedded in a pair of eyeglasses could allow researchers to track a child’s gaze outside of a lab or clinic.
News / Toolbox

Wearable camera captures eye contact in children with autism

by  /  24 February 2017

A camera embedded in a pair of eyeglasses can reliably gauge a child’s tendency to look another person in the eye.

1 Comment
Pupil progress: Pupil responses to light may change with age in typically developing children but not in children with autism.

Peter Kotoff / shutterstock

Delayed pupil response to light may be early sign of autism

by  /  24 February 2017

The pupils of preschoolers with autism are slow to constrict in response to light, a phenomenon that may serve as an early marker of autism risk.

Deep brains: The thickness of a number of brain areas distinguishes women with autism from those without the condition.

Brains of women with autism may sport male features

by  /  23 February 2017

The brains of some women with autism more closely resemble those of typical men than those of typical women.

Courtesy Everett Collection
Opinion / Viewpoint

Animated sidekick connects parents to children with autism

by  /  21 February 2017

In a new type of therapy for autism, parents talk or type into their phone or computer, and their words emerge in the voice of an animated character.


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