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Spotted A roundup of autism papers and media mentions you may have missed.
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Spotted around the web: Week of 12 November 2018

by  /  16 November 2018

November 12th

Research roundup

  • A 2012 report from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network misstated the prevalence of autism among children of certain races and ethnicities living in Georgia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Autistic children are more than 50 percent more likely than those in the general population to become overweight or obese at a young age. The Journal of Pediatrics
  • Children with autism and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have similar cognitive difficulties. Research in Developmental Disabilities
  • Traumatic brain injury in early childhood may significantly increase the risk of autism, ADHD and developmental delay. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
  • Providing information about autism to jurors can profoundly change their perception of an autistic defendant’s likeability, honesty and blameworthiness. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Cannabis treatment may help ease severe behavioral problems such as tantrums, self-injury and violence in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Microglia, the brain’s immune cells, respond to neonatal infections in young male and female rats in different ways, producing long-term, sex-specific changes in the brain. Neuroscience Letters
  • Zinc deficiency may contribute to changes in the connections between brain cells in early development, potentially leading to autism. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience

Science and society

  • People with autism are more likely than their neurotypical peers to come out as LGBTQ. Utah Valley Daily Herald
  • The subway’s crowded cars and noise may be too stimulating for some, but the regular schedules and fixed tracks seem to appeal to some children on the spectrum, particularly young boys. The New York Times
  • Biologists are trying to create synthetic cells that can store instructions, grow and divide, and mimic certain aspects of life. Nature
  • An autism researcher says he can reverse social deficits in an autism mouse model, even in adulthood, by targeting certain genes. Newsweek
  • School councils in the United Kingdom are facing “devastating cuts” to special-education funding. The Guardian
  • A man charged with kidnapping a 13-year-old autistic girl in Springfield, Missouri, two years ago is facing trial this week. Springfield News-Leader
  • An uptick in the number of monkeys used in research is alarming animal-rights activists, but those in the biomedical community say nonhuman primates are increasingly important for testing drugs and studying human diseases. Science
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is conducting a series of ‘listening sessions’ as part of a department-wide audit in which scientists will be asked to justify using human fetal tissue in their research. STAT
  • Communicating with clinical-trial participants by soliciting their feedback or even just saying ‘thank you’ may benefit investigators and trial sponsors alike. Nature
  • The Chinese government is cracking down on companies and hospitals involved in genetic data breaches, but experts worry that this may also hamper international research collaborations. Nature
  • Neuroscientist Karl Friston’s ‘free energy principle’ may help artificial-intelligence researchers topple scientific roadblocks in their field. Wired

Autism and the arts

  • Celebrity chef Art Smith will receive a Dream Maker Award for his dedication to promoting self-confidence in ‘differently abled’ individuals. PR Newswire


  • A group of editors has written a guide for how to deliver useful and thorough peer-review analyses. Nature

Funding news

  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health has expanded investment in the BRAIN Initiative, funding more than 200 new awards for the development of tools to understand neural circuits in action. National Institutes of Health
  • A U.K.-based biotech company has agreed to work with Italian researchers to look for biomarkers for autism based on blood samples from autistic individuals. Verdict Medical Devices

Job moves

  • Craig Powell has moved from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is chair of neurobiology, as well as director of the Civitan International Research Center. University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Adriana Di Martino, previously at New York University, is now research director of the Autism Center at the Child Mind Institute in New York City. Child Mind Institute