Eye contact

A child uses a tablet device

New tablet-based tools to spot autism draw excitement — and questions

Handheld devices promise to bring autism detection home, but many researchers urge caution.

By Charles Q. Choi
4 January 2024 | 8 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.

Null and Noteworthy: Busting biomarkers; going after GABA; reproducibility illusion

In this edition of Null and Noteworthy, scientists find little to be excited about in research on biomarkers for neurodevelopmental conditions.

By Laura Dattaro
16 February 2023 | 4 min read
A group of rectangles placed against a colorful background contains diverse colors and patterns.

Broadening the autism spectrum: Q&A with Oluwatobi Abubakare

Too often, people outside the margins of what’s considered classic autism are left out of research agendas, Abubakare says.

By Rachel Zamzow
20 September 2022 | 8 min read
Illustration shows a woman whose mouth is covered by a cloud and whos eyes are covered by a cloud.
Spectrum Microphone

Double empathy, explained

The double empathy theory challenges the idea that social difficulties are specific to autism and suggests that problems arise from a mismatch in perspective between autistic and non-autistic people.

By Rachel Zamzow
22 July 2021 | 8 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

Null and Noteworthy: Brain folds, flickering faces, wearable eye trackers

Welcome to the Null and Noteworthy newsletter, a roundup of papers that do the vital work of reproducing a previous result or reporting the absence of one.

By Laura Dattaro
25 March 2021 | 5 min read
Child with clinician, making eye contact

Algorithm ‘sees’ when people’s eyes meet

A new machine-learning tool detects eye contact during recorded face-to-face interactions as accurately as expert observers can.

By Chloe Williams
25 February 2021 | 3 min read
Owen leaving his home for a bike ride, followed by his therapists and teachers.

Owen’s odyssey: A year and a half after an autism diagnosis

This is part 2 of Owen’s story. It tracks his early progress in treatment for autism. Part 1 described his difficult path to a diagnosis.

By Lydia Denworth
25 November 2020 | 15 min read
Illustration shows a family is watching fireworks, child sees blurry version of the event.

Eyeing the connection between autism and vision

Autism is unusually common among blind people, and children with autism are more likely to have vision problems than their typical peers. Understanding why could lead to better therapies for autism for autism.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
16 September 2020 | 15 min read
Illustration shows an ear balancing on a brain, surrounded by barriers blocking sound waves

Confusion at the crossroads of autism and hearing loss

Hearing difficulties and autism often overlap, exacerbating autism traits and complicating diagnoses.

By Jyoti Madhusoodanan
12 August 2020 | 15 min read

Meet the autistic scientists redefining autism research

Growing ranks of researchers on the spectrum are overcoming barriers — from neurotypical bias to sensory sensitivities — to shape autism science.

By Rachel Nuwer
10 June 2020 | 18 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Brain organoid size matches intensity of social problems in autistic people

Overgrown organoids could point to mechanisms underlying profound autism.

By Holly Barker
18 July 2024 | 5 min read

Persistent protein pairing enables memories to last

The complex of two memory proteins, rather than the individual molecules acting independently, underlie month-long memories in mice, a new study suggests.

By Elissa Welle
17 July 2024 | 5 min read
A digitally distorted image of a file folder against a blue gradient background.

Data access changes to UK Biobank stir unease in neuroscientists

“I feel a little bit in limbo,” says neuroscientist Stephanie Noble, who has paused a study using Biobank data after the repository shifted from a data download to a cloud-only access model.

By Calli McMurray
16 July 2024 | 7 min read