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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Research Highlights about Autism

Father sitting and talking to his toddler
Toddlers’ Responses to “Baby Talk” Linked to Social, Cognitive, Language Abilities

In an NIMH-supported study, researchers found that toddlers respond to emotionally expressive speech in different ways, and these varied responses are linked with their social, linguistic, and cognitive abilities.

A mother and toddler with a health care provider
Multistage Autism Screening in Early Intervention Settings May Reduce Disparities

An NIMH-supported study shows that incorporating a multistage screening process for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) into federally funded early intervention services may reduce disparities in early ASD diagnosis.

3D rendering of a molecule
Autism and Congenital Heart Disease Share Underlying Molecular Network

A recent study of gene networks may hold some promising clues about shared mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorder and congenital heart disease, two physiologically distinct disorders that often co-occur.

A close-up view of an adult man’s face and eye
Machine Learning Study Sheds Light on Gaze Patterns in Adults With Autism

NIMH researchers examine what people with ASD and people without ASD look at when viewing a social scene.

a young boy stacks wooden alphabet blocks
Testing and Refining Biomarkers to Support Intervention Research for Children with Autism

NIMH, along with other NIH Institutes, is supporting the ABC-CT project, a multisite study that aims to test and refine biomarkers that can be used as objective measures of social impairment for children with autism in clinical trials, leading to more predictive and personalized treatment.

Infant and female caregiver holding tablet and speaking with doctor.
Supporting the Development of Early Autism Screening Tools

NIMH, along with other NIH Institutes, is supporting the goal of identifying autism in the first year of life by funding projects that seek to seek to translate findings related to early-emerging signs of autism into practical ASD screening tools that can be implemented in the general population and community settings.

This image shows double-helix DNA strands.
Large-Scale Genetics Study Sheds Light on Developmental Origins of Autism

Researchers were able to identify different types of rare genetic variations associated with autism spectrum disorder by analyzing data shared via the NIMH-funded Autism Sequencing Consortium.