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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Spotted around the web: Cannabinoid gel; fragile X syndrome subtypes; neurodivergent scientists

by ,  /  9 December 2022

December 5th

Research roundup  

  • Loss of the GABRB3 gene, which is linked to autism and Angelman syndrome, reduces the number of GABA-ergic synapses in the developing mouse brain. Neuron 
  • A cannabinoid gel called ZYN002, made by Zynerba to treat fragile X syndrome, improves social avoidance behavior in clinical trial participants with high levels of FMR1 methylation. Spectrum reported on earlier results last year. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 
  • Polymorphisms of the TF and TCF4 genes appear to be strongly associated with autism in Bangladeshi children. Journal of International Medical Research 
  • Restoring levels of the protein PRRT2 in a mouse model of 16p11.2 duplication syndrome ameliorates both seizure susceptibility and social deficits, according to an unpublished study. bioRxiv 
  • Mice missing the SHANK3 gene, which is associated with autism and Phelan-McDermid syndrome, take longer than control mice to become proficient at a complex learning task. eNeuro 
  • Research with organoids and assembloids has helped advance scientists’ understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that influence human neuropsychiatric conditions, according to a review article. Biological Psychiatry 
  • Fragile X syndrome can be divided into five subtypes based on behavior, sleep and sensory issues, which may point to different therapeutic approaches. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 
  • The NIH-Toolbox Cognitive Battery is sensitive enough to show cognitive development during a two-year period in people with intellectual disability. Neurology 
  • Protein synthesis rates are elevated in the brains of mice that model Angelman syndrome and may contribute to observed memory deficits. Biological Psychiatry 
  • Studies designed to document changes in autism trait severity across the lifespan must account for the multiple ways that variability can arise. Clinical Psychology Review 

Science and society 

  • The transition to adulthood is especially difficult for people with profound autism and their families, the parent of a young man with profound autism writes. WBUR 
  • Graduate students from minority ethnic groups report discrimination and harassment in their academic spaces, according to a survey of 3,253 students around the globe. Nature 
  • Chloe Yap, a student at Queensland University, is the recipient of Australia’s 2022 CSL Florey Next Generation Award for her work showing that autistic people’s eating habits cause them to have atypical gut microbes. Spectrum has covered her (and others’) work that casts doubt on any causative role of the microbiome in autism. University of Queensland 
  • Stanford University is investigating its president, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, for research misconduct after other scientists raised concerns about possible image manipulation in some of his publications. STAT

    An illustration of a brain. Multi-colored arrows overlay the illustration.

    Think different: Research institutions should do more to hire and support neurodiverse scientists, advocates say.

  • Therapies for autism have undergone a paradigm shift from ‘fixing’ autistic people — by forcing conformity — to accepting and supporting them. Scientific American 
  • Elizabeth Berry-Kravis has been named director of a new center for translational research at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, that will train people to run clinical trials for rare neurodevelopmental conditions. 
  • Four neurodivergent scientists share their hiring and workplaces stories to highlight changes that would make research institutions more equitable. Nature 
  • The U.S.-based Social Security Administration is experiencing a backlog of disability claims, causing some Americans to wait months for critical support. The Washington Post 

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TAGS:   autism