Williams syndrome

Researcher talking on phone and working on computer at home.

Autism researchers adapt studies for a socially distant world

Locked out of labs during the coronavirus pandemic, scientists are moving their investigations to virtual and online formats, a shift that may bring lasting changes to autism research.

By Laura Dattaro
30 April 2020 | 6 min read
Mother mouse with pups on white

Multiple genes may conspire to lead to autism traits

The many genes implicated in Williams syndrome, a condition related to autism, may all work together to exert their effects on behavior.

By Nicholette Zeliadt
23 December 2019 | 4 min read

Unusual gait marks mice with mutations related to autism

Mouse models of two genetic conditions related to autism show abnormalities in their movement patterns.

By Emily Anthes
20 October 2019 | 3 min read

Book Review: A mother finds reward in risk

In “The Boy Who Loved Too Much,” a woman tries to cocoon her son, who has Williams syndrome, from life’s insults but later realizes her protective instincts carry dangers of their own.

By Emily Willingham
30 October 2018 | 5 min read
child working on colorful puzzle on lightbox

Duplication of DNA on chromosome 7 increases risk of autism

Roughly one in five children who has an extra piece of chromosome 7 also meets the criteria for an autism diagnosis.

By Jessica Wright
1 February 2018 | 4 min read

Edited human embryos; prenatal antidepressants; gut thinking and more

Researchers in Oregon edit human embryos, prenatal antidepressants may play a role in autism risk, and gut microbiota are associated with early cognition.

By Emily Willingham
28 July 2017 | 5 min read

Injury risk; stem-cell start; food faces

People with autism are at high risk of death from injury, China starts a clinical trial involving human embryonic stem cells, and individuals with autism have trouble seeing faces in food.

By Emily Willingham
9 June 2017 | 7 min read

Tooth fairy delivers drug target for boosting social interest

Cells derived from the dental pulp of children with Williams syndrome hint at a treatment approach for autism.

By Ann Griswold
16 September 2016 | 4 min read

Brexit effect; ghost game; down with jargon

Scientists fret over ‘Brexit,’ a video game boosts cognitive skills in children, and studies detail the downsides of jargon.

By Emily Anthes
1 July 2016 | 4 min read

An overdue query in autism science: What, exactly, is autism?

As powerful genetic tools identify increasing numbers of autism genes, scientists are parsing the pool of autism into new syndromes, each with a distinct genetic origin.

By Jessica Wright
30 November 2015 | 7 min read

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

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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