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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Spotted A roundup of autism papers and media mentions you may have missed.

Spotted around the web: Antipsychotic side effects, online training, protein predictions

by  /  5 August 2022

August 1st

Research roundup  

  • More than half of autistic 8-year-olds miss out on early-intervention programs, and many come from underserved communities, according to data collected over 10 years in New Jersey. JAMA Pediatrics 
  • People with copy number variants in the 22q11.2 chromosomal region have distinct neuroanatomical traits that change over time in ways that relate to diagnoses of autism or psychosis. Molecular Psychiatry 
  • People with variants of the ADGRL1 gene may have any of a range of neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism; a mouse model shows stereotyped behaviors, unusual locomotor activity and altered synapse formation. American Journal of Human Genetics 
  • Autistic children may be more vulnerable than children with other disabilities to disruptions in daily routines, support services and sleep — and were especially so earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLOS One 
  • Antipsychotic drugs tend to cause significant weight gain in people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, according to a review of studies. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 
  • A protein that helps move lipids within cells — phosphatidylinositol transfer protein — seems to be a key regulator in the migration of cortical neurons during development and may play a role in neurodevelopmental conditions. Cell Reports 
  • Online training for parents of autistic children compares favorably with in-person training to reduce parents’ stress and improve children’s emotional control and flexibility. Autism 
  • Depression is associated with autism traits in adolescents, and social standing at school plays a role in that link. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
protein structures predicted by an AI tool

Folding fix: An artificial-intelligence tool has predicted the 3D structure of some 200 million proteins.

Image courtesy of DeepMind

  • Differences in the Rho-GTPase signaling pathways, implicated in autism’s cognitive traits, are also involved in the development of motor circuits. Molecular Psychiatry 
  • Psychiatrists in the United States receive few hours of training and little hands-on exposure to people with autism or intellectual disability, even though both conditions are associated with other psychiatric conditions. Autism 

Science and society 

  • An artificial-intelligence tool from the company Deep Mind has predicted the shape of 200 million proteins. The New York Times 
  • Researchers have developed a freely accessible computer-based program to help autistic children develop their attentional skills. University of Birmingham 
  • Autism researcher Micheal Sandbank pointed out an error in one of the Lancet Commission report’s tables. Spectrum covered the report last December. Twitter 
  • A man in Seattle, Washington, describes getting an autism diagnosis at age 34, after years of misdiagnoses and medications, when his therapist used a screen created for children and adolescents. The Seattle Times 
  • The International Society of Psychiatric Genetics urges caution on embryo screening for psychiatric conditions until the clinical, social and ethical implications are better understood. The Lancet Psychiatry 
  • Implanting human neurons into animal brains could lead to important research discoveries but also raises ethical questions. Nature 

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TAGS:   autism