illustration of a brain divided into 4 puzzle pieces
Why Autism Therapies Have an Evidence Problem
Some experts argue that better trials are needed before putting interventions into practice.
ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, tasha vector
Why Autism Therapies Have an Evidence Problem
Why Autism Therapies Have an Evidence Problem

Some experts argue that better trials are needed before putting interventions into practice.

Some experts argue that better trials are needed before putting interventions into practice.

ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, tasha vector

neurodevelopment

Four pregnant women sitting in chairs
Epigenetic Changes to Placenta Correlate with Maternal Depression
Chloe Tenn | Feb 1, 2022
An epigenome-wide association study found more than a dozen methylation changes in placental DNA that correlated with expectant mothers’ self-reports of depression and stress during their pregnancy.
Man in glasses smiling, looking off camera
Legendary Child Psychiatrist Michael Rutter Dies
Lisa Winter | Nov 10, 2021
He discovered that autism had strong genetic links.
Gaining Biological Insights into Brain Development Using Single Cell Technologies
Gaining Biological Insights into Brain Development Using Single Cell Technologies
The Scientist Creative Services Team in collaboration with 10x Genomics | Apr 12, 2021
Richard Smith will discuss the importance of ionic flux in in utero neuronal development.
One white mouse with red eyes runs on a blue exercise wheel, while another mouse stands with front paws on the wheel
Serious Infections Linked to Autism: Study
Abby Olena | Sep 17, 2021
In both a mouse model and the hospital records of more than 3 million children, researchers found a connection between strong immune activation in males and later symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
Study Looks for Effects of Fetal Exposure to Air Pollution
Jef Akst | Aug 1, 2021
By measuring various pollutants in the immediate vicinity of pregnant women and tracking brain development of their children, researchers in Barcelona aim to untangle any influence the former has on the latter.
Hippocampal neurons are labeled in blue and purple on a black background
New Role for Leptin: Promoting Synapse Formation in Rat Neurons
Abby Olena | May 20, 2021
The hormone, which is well known for regulating appetite, appears to influence neuronal development—a finding that could shed light on disorders such as autism that involve dysfunctional synapse formation.
Organoids Don’t Accurately Model Human Brain Development
Diana Kwon | Oct 23, 2019
A new study suggests that growing in a stressful environment prevents “brains-in-a-dish” from growing in the same way as their in vivo counterparts.
pregnancy in utero air pollution exposure lung asthma neurodevelopment fine particulate matter
Pregnant Moms’ Air Pollution Exposure May Affect Babies’ Health
Chia-Yi Hou | Sep 23, 2019
A number of epidemiological studies support a link between air quality and poor health outcomes, and researchers are searching for explanations in the lab.
Brain Surface Area Reveals Overlap in Genes, Intelligence, Evolution
Carolyn Wilke | Mar 4, 2019
An analysis of the contours of more than 600 kids’ brains points to links between cerebral surface area and heritability in regions of the brain important in cognition.  
Maternal Obesity and Diabetes Linked to Autism in Children
Sukanya Charuchandra | Oct 1, 2018
Inflammation may be a strong contender for the connection between mom’s weight and children’s neurodevelopment, according to lab studies on animals.
Image of the Day: Tadpole Prism
The Scientist Staff, The Scientist Staff | Nov 3, 2017
Scientists are making use of Xenopus tadpoles to study autism risk genes. 
Image of the Day: Neurons at Risk
The Scientist Staff | Sep 26, 2017
Scientists identified a schizophrenia-risk gene, ZNF804A, that influences the birth and movement of new neurons within the developing brain. 
Infection During Pregnancy Tied to Autism in Mouse Model
Kerry Grens | Sep 13, 2017
Bacterial strains in mice’s gut microbiomes mediated their pups’ risk for developing abnormal behaviors.
Brain Gain
Jef Akst | Oct 1, 2015
Young neurons in the adult human brain are likely critical to its function.
Synaptic Pruning Improves Autism in Mice
Kerry Grens | Aug 25, 2014
Fixing impaired pruning and autophagy signaling in neurons eases the symptoms of autism in a mouse model of the disorder.
The Psychiatrist’s Jigsaw
Megan Scudellari | Nov 1, 2013
Researchers are piecing together the devilishly complex sets of genetic alterations underlying schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.