Individual differences in early language development, and in later language functioning, are associated with changes in the anatomy of the brain in autism.
The largest ever psychological study of sex differences in adults with autism has found that both males and females with autism on average show an extreme of the typical male mind, where systemising (the drive to look for underlying rules in a system) is stronger than empathising (the ability to recognize the thoughts and feelings of others and to respond to these with appropriate emotions).
Adults with the autism spectrum condition known as Asperger Syndrome are significantly more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than people from the UK general population, according to the first large-scale clinical study of its kind.
Children who later develop autism are exposed to elevated levels of steroid hormones (for example testosterone, progesterone and cortisol) in the womb, according to scientists from the University of Cambridge and the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. The finding may help explain why autism is more common in males than females. However, the researchers caution it should not be used to screen for the condition.
Scientists have confirmed that variations in a particular gene play a key role in the autism spectrum condition known as Asperger Syndrome. They have also found that variations in the same gene are also linked to differences in empathy levels in the general population.
New research sheds light on previously under-researched area of study – females with autism.
An online recreation of Charles Darwin’s famous experiment on the expression of emotion is being launched at Cambridge University’s Festival of Ideas tomorrow (22nd).