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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Community Newsletter: Upcoming webinars, participatory research resources, research reactions

by  /  23 January 2022
Speech bubble formed by a network of communication

Illustration by Laurène Boglio

Ready for your weekly recap of autism research tweets?

First up in this edition of Spectrum’s Community Newsletter, the cover of The Lancet on 15 January featured a quote from the journal’s recent commission on the future of autism care and clinical research.

The issue offers a report from the commission, plus a profile of commission co-chair Catherine Lord, distinguished professor of psychiatry and education at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a comment from Monica Juneja, professor of pediatrics at Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, India, and her colleagues. All are useful reads before tuning in to the Spectrum webinar this coming Wednesday, 26 January 2022, at 11 a.m. EST with Lord and her commission co-chair, Tony Charman, chair of clinical child psychology at King’s College London in the United Kingdom.

Also on Wednesday at 11 a.m. EST, Jill Silverman, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis, will talk about translational biomarkers, tweeted Silvia De Rubeis, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who coordinates the center’s seminar series. Both talks will be recorded, so you can watch one or the other later.

The International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) has launched a new initiative, the INSAR Community Collaborator Request, to connect autism researchers with autistic adults, among other stakeholders, to pursue participatory research, autistic researcher Zack Williams tweeted. Williams, an M.D./Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, gives details in a thoughtful thread, with links to additional resources from Sue Fletcher-Watson, professor of developmental psychology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Nature Medicine starred a research paper published in November in Cell that flips the link between autism and microbiome differences: Instead of causing the condition’s traits, microbiome differences may result from the dietary preferences many autistic people have. Spectrum covered some of the work in October.

And, “The emperor has no clothes,” tweeted Andrew Whitehouse, professor of autism research at Telethon Kids and University of Western Australia in Perth, about a new test for autism that was granted ‘breakthrough device’ status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December. Spectrum covered the agency’s announcement last week.

That’s it for this week’s Community Newsletter! If you have any suggestions for interesting social posts you saw in the autism research sphere, feel free to send an email to [email protected].

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