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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: Sleep disruption, new brain maps, autism and hydrocephalus

by  /  15 October 2021

October 11th

Research roundup

  • Autistic people experience more stressors than non-autistic people over the course of their adult lives, and those with poor physical or mental health are most affected. Health Psychology
  • People with autism are as adept as those without, on average, at making predictions in a learning task; predictive ability correlates with the ratio of glutamate and GABA in the frontal brain, which tends to be altered in autistic people. Spectrum has covered how problems with prediction could help to explain autism’s traits. Molecular Autism
  • Global efforts to map all the brain’s cells — in mice and other species — have recently made major advances. Nature
  • The regulator gene MEF2C appears to play a key role in the developmental pathways of cortical interneurons. Nature
  • Social skills training seems to be less effective in autistic children with high polygenic risk scores for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. npj Genomic Medicine
  • Children and adults with 16p11.2 copy number variants, which are associated with autism, may experience more sleep disruption than the general population. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Autistic children with good language skills but poor daily living skills may have more behavioral challenges — both internalizing and externalizing — than their peers with poor language but good daily living skills. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities
  • Children on the spectrum who have anxiety may benefit from a family-focused cognitive behavioral therapy targeting fears and uncertainties, according to a pilot study. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Autism and congenital hydrocephalus, which sometimes co-occur, seem to share a biological pathway involving the gene PTEN and the enzyme mTOR. Trends in Neurosciences
  • Of all the children born in Finland in 1987, those diagnosed with autism or psychosis as adolescents were more likely than their non-autistic peers to be underemployed and undereducated in their 20s. British Journal of Psychiatry

Science and society

  • MacArthur fellow and neuroscientist Damien Fair says that because neuroscience research touches all aspects of society, it needs the diversity of society to participate. Spectrum profiled Fair in 2019. Neuron
  • Neuroscientist Nadia Chaudhri, known for her support of students from underrepresented backgrounds, has died at age 43. Twitter
  • Sesame Workshop has released a new animated video short starring Julia, Sesame Street’s autistic muppet, in which she confronts her fear of the dark. Variety
  • The editors of the Journal of the American Academy Child & Adolescent Psychiatry have pledged to solicit research articles addressing systemic racism and to update their guide to authors to emphasize the diversity of human experience. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • The British Neuroscience Association is offering grants for local in-person events and has announced a job fair to support its members after the Society for Neuroscience cancelled the in-person component of its 2021 conference. Spectrum covered the cancellation and some of the response to it. Twitter

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TAGS:   autism