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Signs & Symptoms

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

News
Treat pursuit: Rats with a mutation in the SHANK2 gene press a lever for a reward about a hundred times more than controls before giving up.Dmitry Maslov / Getty Images

Rats with mutant SHANK genes show autism-like behaviors

by  /  16 February 2017
Researchers have engineered two new rats with mutations in a family of genes that function at neuronal junctions, they reported today at the 2014 International Meeting for Autism Research in Atlanta.
Features / Deep Dive
Photography by Vanessa McKeown

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.
News
Blue zones: Surface area measurements (blue) in certain areas of the brains of 6-month-old babies can distinguish children with autism from those without the condition.

Rapid brain growth in infancy may signal autism

by  /  15 February 2017
The faster the brains of children with autism grow in their first year of life, the more severe their autism features are likely to be at age 2.
February 2017
Photography by Vanessa McKeown
Opinion / Q&A

Questions for Gahan Pandina: New tool may aid autism trials

by  /  14 February 2017

A new ‘knowledge engine’ collects reams of behavioral and sensory data to create highly sensitive outcome measures for autism drugs.

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Early days: Parents are best suited to spot signs of autism in infants, such as whether the baby babbles in response to others.  Insung Jeon / Getty Images
News

Survey for parents could flag autism in infants

by  /  13 February 2017

Asking parents to fill out a questionnaire about their babies’ early skills could help clinicians spot signs of autism.

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Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda
News

New autism diagnoses shifting toward mild end of spectrum

by  /  2 February 2017

Although the number of people diagnosed with autism is on the rise, the proportion with severe features has dropped since 2000.

2 Comments
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Features / Deep Dive

This is a story of autism in small-town America

by  /  1 February 2017

Rural living can be wonderful: community, friendly faces, a slower pace of life. But when there’s autism in the family, it can be tough.

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Illustration by Julia Yellow
News

Autism, fragile X follow different developmental paths

by  /  1 February 2017

Children with autism show an increase in restricted interests in their preteen years that is not seen in those with fragile X syndrome.

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January 2017
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News

Sound processing skewed in mouse model of Rett syndrome

by  /  27 January 2017

Researchers have traced an unusual maternal behavior in female mice modeling Rett syndrome to a neural circuit that processes sound. They have also found a drug that reverses this behavior.

3 Comments
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Features / Webinars

Webinar: Geoff Bird explores overlap between autism, alexithymia

1 March 2017

Reserve your spot for this webinar. Register now.

1 Comment
Illustration by Masha Manapov
News

New method aims to quantify ‘camouflaging’ in autism

by  /  19 January 2017

A combination of multiple diagnostic tests may gauge the extent to which adults with autism attempt to blend in.

7 Comments
Illustration by Pep Boatella
Opinion / Q&A

Questions for Pua, Seal: What’s wrong with brain imaging work?

by  /  17 January 2017

Despite the completion of hundreds of imaging studies in people with autism, researchers have yet to find features that distinguish people with the condition.

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Moving target: Brain waves known as beta oscillations reflect brain activity that controls body movements and may signal telltale changes in DNA.AJPhoto / Science Source
News

Brain-wave patterns distinguish dup15q syndrome

by  /  13 January 2017

Children with an extra copy of the 15q11-13 chromosomal region, the second most common genetic abnormality in people with autism, have unusually strong brain waves called beta oscillations. The preliminary findings, presented Friday at the Dup15q Alliance Scientific Meeting in Orlando, Florida, suggest that beta oscillations could distinguish children with dup15q syndrome from those with other forms of autism.

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