Baby sibs

A grid of four brain scans showing excess cerebrospinal fluid.
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Is excess brain fluid an early marker of autism?

Brain scans of hundreds of infants suggest that up to 80 percent of those with autism have unusual amounts of cerebrospinal fluid. Researchers are studying how this might contribute to the condition.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
17 August 2023 | 10 min read
Illustration of DNA methylation.
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‘Polygenic risk scores’ for autism, explained

These scores — composite measures of a person’s autism-linked common genetic variants — cannot predict an autism diagnosis but could help researchers better understand the condition’s underlying biology.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
23 May 2023 | 4 min read
An illustration of doctors examining a larger-than-life DNA strand

Whole-genome trove ties new genes, variants to autism

A massive update to the MSSNG dataset gives qualified researchers ready access to explore autism’s genetic architecture on a cloud-based platform.

By Isabel Ruehl
12 December 2022 | 4 min read
two toddlers, a boy and a girl, draw animals on a glass window in thin lines of blue, green and magenta.

Autism’s sex bias disappears after tracking trajectories

The male sex bias in autism may in large part be a product of how common diagnostic tools measure traits in boys versus girls at a single point in time, according to a new study.

By Peter Hess
22 June 2022 | 5 min read
Two young children play with a tablet computer underneath a blanket fort

Brain’s early visual areas reflect autism’s heritability

Inherited genetic factors for autism influence brain development, new studies of autistic children and their younger siblings reveal.

By Angie Voyles Askham
16 June 2022 | 5 min read

Structural brain changes foretell language skills in autistic infants

Increased white-matter maturation tracks with stronger language abilities later in childhood, but the relationship with cortical thickness is less clear.

By Angie Voyles Askham, Peter Hess
19 May 2022 | 4 min read
Colorful illustration of child's brain with electrodes connected EEG wave patterns, DNA strand, and playing siblings.

Connecting autism-linked genetic variation to infant social behavior

Integrating genetic analyses into studies of babies’ brain development could help us understand how autism-related genes contribute to autism traits.

By Anna Gui, Emily Jones
10 August 2021 | 5 min read
Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results
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Null and Noteworthy: Oxytocin, parental training, outcome assessments

In this edition of Null and Noteworthy, researchers open the case on acetaminophen and close it on oxytocin.

By Laura Dattaro
15 July 2021 | 6 min read
Baby in mother's lap watching her mouth move as she talks.

Infant siblings of autistic children miss language-learning clues

So-called ‘baby sibs’ watch adults’ faces just as much as children without autistic siblings do, but they don’t understand spoken language as well.

By Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky
6 May 2021 | 3 min read
Baby getting an MRI scan

Imaging study casts doubt on cerebellum’s role in autism during infancy

Connections between the cerebellum and brain networks do not seem to contribute substantially to the emergence of autism traits.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
13 January 2021 | 3 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Brain organoids overgrowth; DSCAM gene; sleep issues in autism

Here is a roundup of autism-related news and research spotted around the web for the week of 24 June.

By Jill Adams
25 June 2024 | 2 min read
Close-up image of a dead fly with visible growths protruding from its abdomen due to Entomophthora fungus infection.

Mind control in zombie flies: Q&A with Carolyn Elya

A parasitic fungus compels its insect host to behave in strange ways by hijacking secretory neurons and circadian pathways.

By Shaena Montanari
25 June 2024 | 5 min read
Illustration of a canyon landscape with an orange clock face in place of a sun.

How to teach this paper: ‘Behavioral time scale synaptic plasticity underlies CA1 place fields,’ by Bittner and Milstein et al. (2017)

Katie Bittner, Aaron Milstein and their colleagues found that cellular learning can happen over longer timescales than Hebb’s rule predicts. How long should we wait to teach students about this phenomenon?

By Ashley Juavinett
24 June 2024 | 11 min read