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Spectrum: Autism Research News

April 26th

Research roundup

  • The prefrontal cortex may manage cognitive flexibility by monitoring feedback via specific neuronal pathways, according to a study in mice. Cell
  • Clinical differences do not explain the racial disparities in age at autism diagnosis; Black and white children referred for evaluation have similar cognitive and behavioral profiles. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Being near other people causes non-autistic people to shrink their personal space and modulate their sensory integration; autistic people, however, tend to maintain personal space and sensory responsiveness in social settings. Biological Psychiatry
  • Training doctors to use a web-based autism screen may increase screening at routine checkups and boost the clinicians’ confidence around autism care. Academic Pediatrics
  • Autism traits can emerge, increase, decrease or dissipate from childhood through adolescence, according to a population-based study. American Journal of Psychiatry
  • Looking at COVID-19 in pregnant women provides a new opportunity to study how viral infection can affect fetal brain development. STAT
  • Researchers have compiled case reports of 62 people to characterize FOXP1 syndrome, in which mutations of the FOXP1 gene cause developmental delays, autism or intellectual disability. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Several gene therapies targeting some of the most common variants linked to autism are inching closer to clinical trials. Nature Biotechnology

    Network analysis: Grouping autism-linked genes according to their biological functions may help researchers develop gene therapies.

  • After careful screening, researchers estimate that 1.53 percent of children in Tarragona, Spain, have autism — nearly doubling a previous estimate. Autism
  • Molecular tools that enable researchers to image dopamine function in people may help scientists better understand conditions such as autism and schizophrenia. Cell Chemical Biology

Science and society

  • The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has commented on the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin, re-asserting its commitment to making a safer, more just world for those in marginalized groups. Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • Laboratories continue to struggle with shortages of personal protective equipment, pipette tips, freezers and reagents because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Scientist
  • Neuroscientist Ranulfo Romo Trujillo has left his academic post at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. Science
  • Autism services and lifespan issues receive less than 10 percent of federal research funding in the United States, despite an advisory panel’s recommendation that these areas be prioritized. Disability Scoop

TAGS:   autism