Gut

Three groups of people meet and mix at a crossroads.

Year in Review: Spectrum’s best in 2023

Here are five must-reads from our coverage of autism research over the past 12 months.

28 December 2023 | 4 min read
Digital illustration of Prevotella bacteria.

Gut microbiome meta-analysis reveals consistent autism signal

But the field needs to move on from cross-sectional studies to gain insights into the causes and consequences of the association, experts say.

By Calli McMurray
22 August 2023 | 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.

Null and Noteworthy: COVID-19 conclusions; diagnosis duplication; oxytocin again

This month’s newsletter explores the pandemic’s effects on autism rates, trends in co-occurring mental health conditions, and the impact of intranasal oxytocin.

By Emily Harris
10 November 2022 | 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.

Null and Noteworthy: Medication timing; oxytocin amounts; sensory sameness

Parents’ health, treatment dosages and sensory perception feature in this month’s crop of null and replicated results.

By Emily Harris
13 October 2022 | 5 min read
Illustration of a pregnant woman in a peach-colored shirt and light red pants standing in profile against a backdrop of chromosomes
Spectrum Microphone

Autism linked to inflammatory bowel disease in parents

The inflammation associated with the disease, particularly in mothers, may contribute to autism traits in children.

By Emily Harris
28 June 2022 | 5 min read

Gut molecule linked to decreased myelination in mouse brains

Targeting the molecule, 4EPS, with an experimental drug may be a way to ease anxiety for autistic people, the researchers say. But not everyone is convinced.

By Angie Voyles Askham
14 February 2022 | 6 min read
Micrograph of intestinal bacteria.

Infection in pregnant mice ups risk of gut problems in pups

Infection during pregnancy can tweak a mouse’s gut microbiome in ways that have lasting effects on her pups’ immune system and increase their chances of gut inflammation, a new study suggests.

By Angie Voyles Askham
18 January 2022 | 5 min read
Illustration: microbes clumped together forming the shape of a brain. The microbes are pink, blue, aqua, and red. Set against a dark blue background.
Spectrum Microphone

Despite flurry of findings, doubts dog gut microbes’ role in autism

The possibility of microbial treatments for autism has inspired a burst of research and nascent clinical trials, but new research suggests these efforts rest on shaky scientific ground.

By Angie Voyles Askham
19 October 2021 | 10 min read
Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of bacteria cultured from a sample of human faeces.

New library catalogs the human gut microbiome

Researchers put hundreds of gut bacteria strains through their paces to chart the compounds each creates — and to help others explore the flora's potential contribution to autism.

By Rahul Rao
25 August 2021 | 2 min read
Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze
Spectrum Microphone

After 60 years, scientists are still trying to crack a mysterious serotonin-autism link

The high levels of serotonin seen in the blood of some autistic people have confounded scientists for more than half a century. Despite so little progress, some researchers refuse to give up.

By Grace Huckins
4 June 2021 | 9 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

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
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