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Portrait of Matthew Siegel sitting on a staircase.

Pinning down ‘profound autism’ for reliable research: Q&A with Matthew Siegel

A clear and actionable definition for the term could enhance research and improve care, Matthew Siegel says.

By Katie Moisse
13 June 2024 | 7 min read

Can an emerging field called ‘neural systems understanding’ explain the brain?

This mashup of neuroscience, artificial intelligence and even linguistics and philosophy of mind aims to crack the deep question of what "understanding" is, however un-brain-like its models may be.

By George Musser
5 June 2024 | 21 min listen
Conceptual image of colorful falling letters, casting shadows on a white wall.

Some minimally verbal autistic people show signs of written-language familiarity, study suggests

But researchers not involved in the work worry the findings could be used to support discredited facilitated-communication techniques.

By Calli McMurray
9 May 2024 | 7 min read
Illustrated portrait of Emily Finn.
Synaptic Microphone

Brain connectivity and letting the data speak with Emily Finn

The Dartmouth College researcher talks about her quest to understand behavior and doing neuroscience “in the woods.”

By Brady Huggett
1 May 2024 | 69 min listen
Human head drawn in profile, brain area is red and connected to words spelled out in connected lines with nodes.

Individual neurons tune to complex speech sounds and cues

Neuropixels arrays implanted in people reveal nuances of speech perception and production that confirm results from brain-surface recordings and can even predict what someone is about to say.

By Elissa Welle
15 March 2024 | 7 min read
A research image of autism-linked genes.

Autism-linked perturbations converge on cell skeleton and RNA-binding proteins

The findings solidify the idea that autism-linked mutations affect brain activity by way of several key shared mechanisms.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
29 February 2024 | 4 min read

Controversial dyslexia study marred by methodological and ethical problems, researchers say

Subsequent studies have also failed to validate a range of products based on the work.

By Brendan Borrell
27 February 2024 | 8 min read

Autism research hits the road

Some scientists are thinking creatively about how to collect data in flexible environments and meet communities where they’re at.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
8 December 2023 | 0 min watch
An illustration of a hand placing letters spelling the word voice on a black board.
Spectrum Microphone

Debate unfurls over inclusivity and authenticity in research involving minimally verbal autistic people

Autism researchers can’t agree on how far to go to validate the input they gather from minimally verbal autistic people who use certain communication devices.

By Brendan Borrell
25 September 2023 | 11 min read
Five high-school-aged students sit on a bench looking at notebooks and a laptop.
Spectrum Microphone

Social skills decline during adolescence for a sliver of autistic youth

Most children with the condition, however, gain communication and social abilities over time.

By Calli McMurray
24 August 2023 | 4 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