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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Spotted around the web: INSAR abstracts, transfer RNA, vaccine hesitation

by  /  13 May 2022

May 9th

Research roundup — INSAR22 abstracts (Note: Links to abstracts may work only for registered conference attendees.)

  • An autism screening and evaluation program called ‘Get SET Early,’ which has been tested in a community setting, helps autistic children get diagnosed by age 2. 423.031
  • Loneliness is a strong predictor of suicidal ideation in autistic adults and is mediated by signs of depression and reduced quality of life. 205.003
  • Pediatricians may feel confident diagnosing autism in young children, but they may be overconfident when ruling out autism, according to a study comparing their evaluations with those of a diagnostic specialist. 201.002
  • Two new TBR1 mouse lines with mutations that mimic those in autistic people show some differences from the TBR1 knockout mice that are most often used to study the gene’s effects. 401.009

Research roundup — Journal articles

  • BTBR mice, an inbred strain that has sometimes been used as an autism model, display altered functioning of immune cell progenitors early in development, which, in turn, results in altered gut and brain activity. Molecular Psychiatry
  • Autistic boys are three times as likely to show up at an emergency department because of self-harm as non-autistic boys are, according to a cohort study in London, England. BMC Medicine
  • Silencing the Drosophila homolog of the autism-linked TRPC6 gene cause the flies to have impaired sleep, reduced courtship and problems with learning and memory. Molecular Psychiatry
  • Autistic adults who are hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19 tend to express concern about the vaccine’s side effects rather than trivialize the illness. Vaccine
  • Autistic adolescents who drink alcohol cite some positive effects, such as feeling like they fit in; those who don’t drink say they want to avoid the negative effects, such as interactions with their medications or becoming addicted. Autism
  • Transfer RNA molecules, which are linked to neuropsychiatric conditions, can be modified to affect brain functions such as memory and mood. Molecular Psychiatry
  • Neural stem cells, responsible for neurogenesis in early development, are dormant in mice deficient in SHANK3, an autism-linked gene. Molecular Psychiatry
  • Mice missing the PCDH10 gene, which is associated with autism, have typical growth of neuronal axons but impaired development of excitatory synapses in the amygdala. Journal of Neuroscience

Science and society

  • The Colorado legislature has passed a bill that families of children with autism lobbied for, requiring schools to allow medical treatment during the school day. Colorado Newsline
  • An expert panel has created policy recommendations to prevent suicide in autistic people, derived from research presented at an online conference hosted by Australian stakeholders last December. Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre