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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Spotted around the web: Gender balance in clinical trials, Nuak kinases, open-access publishing

by  /  23 September 2022

September 19th

Research roundup  

  • A screen called the PANSS Autism Severity Score appears to be a valid tool for assessing autism traits in people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Frontiers in Psychiatry 
  • Copy number variants in chromosomal region 16p11.2, associated with autism and intellectual disability, may perturb cellular energy cycles and RNA processing in addition to altering gene-expression patterns. bioRxiv 
  • Infants with 22q13 deletions that encompass the SHANK3 gene and those with a SHANK3 mutation share a similar clinical expression of Phelan-McDermid syndrome. Frontiers in Genetics 
  • Autistic children and their non-autistic siblings have more biomarkers of oxidative stress than do unrelated non-autistic children. Biomarker Insights 
  • Traits associated with autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder do not predict lower academic achievement in university students. Frontiers in Psychology 
  • Nuak kinases, members of the AMP-activated protein kinase family, play a role in neurodevelopment and are implicated in autism, schizophrenia and intellectual disability, according to a new review. Cellular Signalling 
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor seems to lessen autism-like behaviors in a rat model; microbubbles and focused ultrasound help the large peptide cross the blood-brain barrier. Frontiers in Neuroscience 
  • Autistic women and girls who are recruited into research studies are often excluded because they do not score high enough on a single autism tool. Autism Research

    Pipeline problem: Researchers may recruit autistic women and girls for clinical studies and still not enroll them.

  • The size of 12 regions within the brain’s default mode network may distinguish toddlers with low IQs that persist into school age from those whose IQs increase over the years. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 
  • Sex differences in dopamine activity at synapses may contribute to the greater prevalence of autism and ADHD in boys versus girls, according to a mouse study of a dopamine transporter gene variant linked to both conditions. Molecular Psychiatry 
  • Autistic children’s sleep challenges appear to correlate with measures of arousal and reactivity involving respiratory sinus arrhythmia — changes in heart rate that accompany breathing, according to a small study. Autism Research 

Science and society 

  • Scientists are often reluctant to share computer code used in their research, despite journal demands that they do so. The Scientist 
  • The Crossref database of scientific articles now offers open access to the reference sections of its 60 million papers. Nature 
  • Many lifestyle interventions may help autistic children who have atypical sensory processing, especially if customized to the child. Psychology Today 
  • Varying definitions of ‘mid-career’ in academic science include researchers who are under 40 years old, those who have just received tenure and those with 5 to 15 years of post-graduate experience. Nature 
  • The open-access movement in scientific publishing prompts discussion about whether journals’ operating costs should be covered by researchers, readers or fundraising. Vox 

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TAGS:   autism