Epidemiology

Illustration of a conveyor belt spilling pills over a green cliff face.

Acetaminophen use during pregnancy does not increase child’s chance of having autism, study finds

The link reported in prior studies likely reflects confounding factors, which sibling-matched controls in the new work address.

By Calli McMurray
9 April 2024 | 7 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.

The true meaning of a null result

This edition of Null and Noteworthy highlights results that reveal the difficulty in drawing definitive conclusions from data, including new findings about epidurals that contradict several others and an apparent null result on sex differences that may derive from “circular logic.”

By Laura Dattaro
14 August 2023 | 4 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.

Prenatal exposures; Angelman trial suspension; autistic adult well-being

This month’s issue of the Null and Noteworthy newsletter breaks down some negative results involving prenatal exposures, an experimental treatment for Angelman syndrome, and the role that age at autism diagnosis plays in subsequent outcomes, and more.

By Emily Harris
17 July 2023 | 4 min read
A woman stands by a window while talking on the phone and holding a pill bottle.

Evidence linking acetaminophen to autism, ADHD under debate again

As acetaminophen lawsuits make their way through the U.S. court system, researchers reevaluate the quality of the evidence linking in-utero exposure to the painkiller to neurodevelopmental issues in children.

By Teresa Carr, Undark
12 July 2023 | 18 min read
A row of magazines against the wall with many adhesive notes stuck between their pages.
Spectrum Microphone

Journal club: Does lithium in drinking water contribute to autism?

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that autism is more common among people born in areas with high levels of lithium in drinking water, but it is too soon to say whether prenatal lithium exposure is truly a concern.

By Brian Lee
11 April 2023 | 7 min read
A group of children walk up stairs

Filling autism knowledge gaps in Latin America: Q&A with Cecilia Montiel-Nava

Countries across Latin America and the Caribbean struggle to collect data on autism, but Cecilia Montiel-Nava and the Latin American Autism Spectrum Network are beginning to change that.

By Peter Hess
13 February 2023 | 7 min read
A young girl sits on the couch biting her thumb.

Children with autism and ADHD often have additional mental health conditions

The dual diagnosis frequently co-occurs with anxiety, depression and developmental and language delays.

By Maaisha Osman
10 February 2023 | 2 min read
Illustration of a pregnant woman seated next to a large diagram of the brain featuring chromosomes, bacteria and other microbes.
Spectrum Microphone

The link between maternal infection and autism, explained

Having an infection during pregnancy is tied to a small increase in the chances of having an autistic child, but the connection may not be causal.

By Charles Q. Choi
13 December 2022 | 7 min read
A map of England displaying autism incidence.

Autism incidence in England varies by ethnicity, class, location

High rates of autism are linked to lower socioeconomic status and minority ethnic groups, according to the largest-ever autism incidence study.

By Isabel Ruehl
6 December 2022 | 5 min read
Woman sits on a hospital bed and looks out of a window.
Spectrum Microphone

Psychiatric conditions hospitalize almost one in three autistic women by age 25

The findings, based on Swedish national registry data, suggest a critical need to expand mental health services for autistic people.

By Niko McCarty
31 October 2022 | 3 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Portrait of Kaspar Podgorski standing in his lab wearing a helmet with a climbing rope over his shoulder.

Climbing to new heights: Q&A with Kaspar Podgorski

The optical physiologist tracks neural computations inside the lab and scales sheer rock faces outside—even after a life-changing fall.

By Elissa Welle
21 June 2024 | 8 min read
Research illustration groups genes by their effects on brain cell types.

Giant analysis reveals how autism-linked genes affect brain cell types

Genes that predispose people to autism account for a large portion of the neuronal and glial cell changes seen in those with the condition.

By Charles Q. Choi
20 June 2024 | 5 min read

Widely used calcium imaging protocol can lead to spurious results, new paper cautions

The technique, which measures calcium currents as a proxy for neuronal firing, sometimes reports unusual and potentially misleading waves of activity in the hippocampus.

By Angie Voyles Askham
19 June 2024 | 0 min watch