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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: Coronavirus disruptions to healthcare, mice on LSD, controversy over cell interiors

by  /  29 January 2021

January 25th

Research roundup

  • Nonfunctional variants of CHD8, a top autism gene, cause subtle anatomical changes in the developing mouse brain. BMC Research Notes
  • Scientists who publish in open-access journals that carry publication fees tend to be well-funded men who hold senior positions at prestigious institutions. Quantitative Science Studies
  • Brain pathways in the hippocampus may mature differently in people with 22q11 deletion syndrome, who have an elevated risk of developing psychosis. Biological Psychiatry
  • Most people with autism, particularly those under age 5, have experienced disruptions in healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic; Spectrum covered this study’s preliminary data last year. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Autistic women of reproductive age appear to have more health conditions than non-autistic women. Autism
  • People with autism and those with schizophrenia seem to share similar structural dimensions in 41 brain areas; Spectrum reported on a related study in October. Molecular Psychiatry
  • The brain’s capacity to produce dopamine appears to be similar in autistic and non-autistic people. Translational Psychiatry
  • Rapid decay of mRNA in cells may be a driving molecular pathway that links FMRP-protein loss with fragile X syndrome. Nature Cell Biology
  • Toddlers aged 1 to 2 years respond similarly to parent gestures whether they have a family history of autism or not; those whose parents gestured the most have the largest vocabulary at age 3. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Mice dosed with LSD become more social — an effect mediated by excitatory neuronal pathways. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Among preschool-age children, autistic boys tend to show more repetitive and restricted behaviors than autistic girls do. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Science and society

  • Reporting an association between a laboring woman’s epidural and the likelihood that her child will have autism can impart more harm than good, an anesthesiologist says, echoing critiques reported in a Spectrum article. Anesthesiology News
  • The White House has issued a statement committing to making its website accessible to people with disabilities.
  • A scientific controversy over how cell interiors are organized may affect how research is interpreted, as illustrated by this Spectrum story on the expression of genes in Rett syndrome. Science
  • The nonprofit group 500 Women Scientists objects to Eric Lander’s nomination as presidential science adviser, calling it a failure to promote qualified women or Black, Indigenous and people of color. Scientific American
  • The likelihood of having a mental health diagnosis is much higher in autistic than non-autistic children — nearly 78 percent versus 14 percent. Disability Scoop
  • Using a smartwatch to deliver reminders is touted as a support for autistic students, but it focuses on ‘normative’ behaviors as defined by non-autistic makers. The Neurodiverse Universe
  • In Pennsylvania, judges and healthcare experts are teaming up to improve courtroom experiences for people on the spectrum. KYW Newsradio
  • The anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine may mitigate the memory difficulties and hyperactivity that occur in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome. Fragile X News Today
  • A group of women biomedical engineers at U.S. universities is calling on the National Institutes of Health to take action for equity in grant-funding to Black academics in the field. Cell

TAGS:   autism