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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: Diagnosing autism in a pandemic, clinical trial recruitment, Ph.D. pay gap

by  /  5 March 2021

March 1st

Research roundup

  • Children who are later diagnosed with autism may show sharp declines in how often they gaze at adult faces between 6 and 36 months of age. Child Development
  • Researchers designed a social-network platform for adolescents on the spectrum by engaging users and their parents. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Nearly 80 percent of autistic children in the United States have an additional mental health diagnosis, according to a survey of caregivers. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
  • Some autistic adults describe hoarding and self-injurious behaviors as emotion self-regulation strategies. Autism
  • Neuroscientists have a role in environmental conservation because the natural world is a source of a biological diversity and a place of respite, some experts argue. eNeuro
  • The physiological function of the protein tau, linked to autism and Alzheimer’s disease, is not known, which makes it difficult to treat its effects. Science
  • Nonverbal communication patterns in infants with a family history of autism may help predict an autism diagnosis. Autism Research
  • Children are difficult to recruit into clinical psychiatry trials because they may not meet inclusion criteria, be interested or want to alter their current therapy. Trials
  • Levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) appear to increase in the left parietal lobe of autistic children as they grow, whereas they start high and stay steady in non-autistic children. Autism Research
  • Marmosets may be better animal models than rodents for brain and neurodevelopmental research. ILAR Journal

Science and society

  • The pay gap between men and women scientists who land a permanent job after their postdoctoral work stands at $22,000, according to a survey of scientists in the U.S. and Canada who received their Ph.D. in the past three years. Nature
  • The isolation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has clouded parents’ and doctors’ ability to recognize social difficulties in young children that might normally lead to evaluation for autism. The New York Times
  • Two recent films feature different takes on autistic people and have aroused very different reactions from the autism community. The Hollywood Reporter
  • U.S. National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins has publicly apologized for the structural racism that persists in biomedical research. Science
  • The Autism Science Foundation plans to hold its annual Day of Learning virtually on 22 April at no cost. Autism Science Foundation
  • The judge in the criminal case against Alek Minassian, who drove his van into a crowd, killing 10 people in 2018 in Toronto, Canada, ruled that autism could not be used as a defense. Toronto Star

TAGS:   autism