Spectrum News

I am a contributing editor at Scientific American and write the Brain Waves blog for Psychology Today (you can find those posts here). My work has also appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, Vogue and many other publications. Earlier in my career, I was on staff at Newsweek, and People, among other places and I’ve included a few of my old favorites from those days.

A Quest for Quincy: Gene Therapies Come of Age for Some Forms of Autism

A gene therapy for Angelman syndrome stands at the forefront of efforts to treat autism-linked conditions that stem from single genes. Photograph by William Mebane   Allyson Berent is a specialty veterinarian in New York City. She treats animals that other doctors cannot help. When no good therapies are available,…

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What the ‘Broad Spectrum’ Can Teach Us about Autism

The relatives of autistic people often have mild traits of the condition. Studying these family members could broaden our understanding of autism.

It wasn’t until Rebecca Wiesenthal’s oldest son, John, turned 3 and started preschool that she began to worry about his language development. John did not talk much and when he did, he used made-up words — such as “mop” for milk — that his teachers could not understand. “My husband…

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How Exactly does Autism Muddy Communication?

The root of the problem could be social or linguistic.

The quirks in Ramsey Brewer’s conversation are subtle. The 17-year-old repeats himself from time to time and makes small mistakes in the words he uses. For instance, he says he and his best friend look scaringly, not scarily, similar. He also pauses at odd spots, and for a beat or…

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The Enemy Within

The possibility that autism is caused by a maternal immune system gone awry is no longer a fringe idea – but proposals to identify or fix these glitches are controversial.

Read the original story here.  Judy Van de Water got into autism research precisely because she wasn’t an expert in autism. She is an immunologist, studying the strategies our bodies employ to defend us against pathogens, and the ways those strategies sometimes misbehave or overreact. But about 15 years ago,…

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Brain Stimulation Holds Promise In Autism Treatment

This article originally appeared on Spectrum on September 23, 2015. Will Robeson bounces into the neuroscience lab at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, familiarly calling out to each staff member. He makes his way to a black leather recliner positioned next to a suitcase-sized piece of equipment, with controls and a…

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Magnetic promise: Can brain stimulation treat autism?

There are hints that transcranial magnetic stimulation, which uses electricity to change how brain cells function, might improve the symptoms of autism. But hopes are running way ahead of the facts.

Read the original Spectrum News story here. And the syndicated Newsweek version here.   PHOTO BY WILLIAM DESHAZER   Will Robeson bounces into the neuroscience lab at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, familiarly calling out to each staff member. He makes his way to a black leather recliner positioned next…

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