Spotted A roundup of autism papers and media mentions you may have missed.
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Spotted around the web: Week of 10 September 2018

by  /  14 September 2018

September 10th

Research roundup

  • A company hoping to use a laser (yes, laser) as an autism treatment has submitted clinical-trial results to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permission to market its device. Erchonia
  • Ever wished you could identify all of the available datasets relevant to your research in one easy online query? Well, Google is now your friend. Google
  • Australia has set up a biobank of samples and clinical data related to autistic children and their parents as an international resource for autism researchers. BMC Pediatrics
  • Synesthesia, or the overlapping of usually discrete sensory pathways, and transgender identity are correlated. Transgender Health
  • Men with many autism features show a slower response to emotional speech than men with few autism features. Physiology & Behavior
  • This review questions the idea that the same brain regions are involved in envisioning an action, watching an action and performing an action. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
  • When it comes to neurodevelopment, conditions that seem to have a single genetic cause may be influenced by a background chorus of uncommon changes in other genes. Genetics in Medicine
  • Whether a gene is of maternal or paternal origin affects brain development and behavior in different ways, says this commentary. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
  • This genomics study offers a sweeping look at how changes in enhancers — sequences of DNA that affect the expression of often faraway genes — are associated with the development of autism. Autism Research
  • Variation in the number of copies of large DNA sequences is linked to both autism and schizophrenia in this Japanese population, with “significant overlap” between the two conditions. Cell Reports

Science and society

  • U.S. policies prohibiting some international scholars from entering the country have entangled the Society for Neuroscience in a Twitter brouhaha over fee reimbursements. Twitter
  • The selection process for the U.S. medical student honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha, is drawing fire for reinforcing systemic racism, and some universities have paused nominations altogether. NPR Shots
  • U.S. schools are failing autistic and other neurodiverse students because of a relentless focus on neurotypical needs and expectations, which essayist Joi Ito calls “educational tyranny.” Wired
  • For those keeping score, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard just won a round in its court battle against the University of California, San Francisco, over CRISPR-related patents. STAT
  • This year’s Lasker Awards include honors for the researchers who helped uncover the role of histones in regulating gene expression. Cell
  • After easily clearing the U.S. Senate committee hurdle, White House science adviser nominee Kelvin Droegemeier has one more before stepping into the position: a full Senate vote. Nature
  • U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Army veteran who lost both of her legs in combat, has a warning for the disability community about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Time
  • Autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, acknowledging concerns people with autism have about eugenics, argues that genetic studies are intended to help autistic people, “not wipe them out.” New Scientist
  • Eventually, many people with ‘invisible’ disabilities must make a decision about whether or not to disclose their condition to employers, educators and others. This workbook offers a guide. National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability
  • Health officials in Liberia are grappling with some parental misconceptions about autism and offering programs to help parents. Front Page Africa
  • In Ghana, this essayist takes on the persistent debate about the most appropriate terminology to use when referencing people with disabilities. Ghana News Agency
  • Karachi officials are opening what has been described as the “largest public sector autism center” in South Asia. Daily Times
  • Meanwhile, the island of St. Kitts is celebrating the opening of its first-ever autism services center. ZIZ

Autism and the arts

  • An autistic reviewer says that the series “Atypical” has improved “in significant ways” in its second season, although it had “an extremely low bar to clear.” The New York Times
  • Part of that improvement might trace to the inclusion of people on the spectrum both behind and in front of the camera. Variety
  • She’s a sort of New Zealand Alex Trebek, playing a key role on a popular quiz show, and she says being autistic made her “perfect” the job. Woman’s Weekly
  • Naia Izumi, who has autism, beat out 5,000 entrants to win NPR’s annual Tiny Desk Contest for musicians, and he says that the secret to his success is that he likes “organizing sounds.” Riff Magazine


  • The editor of Nature Briefing has tweeted that she’s on the lookout for “content from indigenous perspectives and about decolonizing science.” Twitter
  • A report shows that researchers from “emerging economies” are quick to respond to requests to peer review submissions but are rarely asked to do reviews. Nature
  • Tired of waiting for open access to become the norm, 11 European organizations have decided that studies they fund must be published without even a temporary paywall. Science

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