News Highlights

Dr. Constantino and colleagues reported study findings of health disparities for African-American children with autism, including significant delays in timing of diagnosis, access to services, and double the rate of comorbid Intellectual Disability compared to Caucasian children. A commentary to this report offers an exploration of study implications and a call to action.

For more details on the study, two press releases can be found at:

Washington University School of Medicine

Spectrum News

As part of an embedded research project within the IDDRC@WUSTL, Dr. Constantino led research studies examining the female protective effect in autism.

In one of the project aims, data from the Swedish National Registry was analyzed, finding that female protective factors are not suggestive of a principal mechanism underlying the male sex bias in ASD.  This publication also generated a commentary in Biological Psychiatry regarding the importance of registry-based research in psychiatric epidemiology.

In another aim of the project, imaging analyses distinguished female carriers and non-carriers of familial risk for autism.  The third aim of the project involved patient-specific cellular analyses, which included refinement of methods, and several findings in cellular and molecular characteristics of multiplex autism.  This project contributed to the launch of the Cellular Models Unit of the IDDRC@WUSTL.

Dr. Constantino’s published research in Nature highlights the genetic origins of eye gaze, which received significant press coverage and was highlighted as one on the top scientific research findings in 2017 by both the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Spectrum News.

In autism, genes drive early eye gaze abnormalities (WU Press Release)

Study of How We Look at Faces May Offer Insight Into Autism (New York Times)



Members of the Child Psychiatry research labs (and a couple of storm troopers) pose at the annual St. Louis Autism Speaks Walk on Saturday, October 15, 2017.  Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support, and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

Unraveling Autism: A multifaceted approach aims to detect, treat and even reverse the disorder.





What Grandmothers Can Teach Science About Autism

The Atlantic features SDS Lab research focused on understanding autism risk across generations by enlisting the help of grandmothers with autistic children.