Skip to main content
Spotted A roundup of autism papers and media mentions you may have missed.
News / Spotted

Spotted around the web: Week of 10 December 2018

by  /  14 December 2018

December 10th

Research roundup

  • State-level mandates covering autism-specific services have helped shift the burden of healthcare spending from families to insurers in the United States. Pediatrics
  • Scientists have developed a fruit-fly model of autism that may help researchers understand the genetic basis of sensitivity to bright lights and loud sounds, a common feature of autism. Proceedings of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • Replenishing certain gut bacteria reverses social deficits in several mouse models of autism. Neuron
  • Genes related to pain show different expression patterns in children with autism than in controls, which may hint at why some autistic individuals are relatively insensitive to painful stimuli. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience
  • Discrepancies between direct tests and caregiver reports of problem-solving difficulties occur far more often with autistic children than with others. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Science and society

  • Two experimental autism drugs put on accelerated tracks for agency approval still have difficult hurdles to cross before becoming widely available. Disability Scoop
  • Experiments using human fetal tissue have stalled in the United States while the government audits all federally funded research using the tissue. STAT
  • A California school where a 13-year-old boy with autism died last week after being restrained by a staff member broke several state regulations, according to officials. NPR
  • The U.S. Department of Education is investing $2.5 million in a program that aims to use virtual reality to help foster social skills in children with autism and learning difficulties. Variety
  • A pediatrician and father of an autistic girl explains how the anti-vaccine movement takes legislative attention away from services that children on the spectrum need. The Guardian
  • Dozens of doctors fail to disclose financial ties with pharmaceutical and healthcare companies when their research is published. The New York Times
  • Some parents are fighting to legalize cannabis extracts to treat sleep problems, anxiety, seizures and other health issues in their autistic children. Tonic
  • Joseph’s University in Philadelphia has become the first Division I basketball school to include sensory break rooms for people with autism and their families to use during basketball games. The Washington Post
  • A number of Boston-area theater companies have started producing sensory-friendly plays. WBUR
  • A group that helps autistic adults is suing neighbors for harassment and vandalism. Asbury Park Press NJ
  • Officials are investigating a former University of Illinois child psychiatrist whose conduct placed “research priorities above patient welfare.” ProPublica

Autism and the arts

  • The National Institutes of Health shied away from an exhibit featuring portraits of people with rare diseases, asking organizers to remove a painting because it may be too distressing for others to see. STAT
  • Harry Potter fans have taken to writing their own stories, reimagining the series with autistic characters. The Conversation


  • Journal editors say controversial research studies such as the recent ‘CRISPR babies’ experiment should be reviewed carefully to ensure they meet ethical standards. STAT