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

Spotted around the web: Week of 15 October 2018

by  /  19 October 2018

October 15th

Research roundup

  • Using CRISPR to edit rodent DNA, researchers have produced mice bearing only maternal or only paternal genes. Cell Stem Cell
  • Watch the earliest stages of mouse embryonic development at single-cell resolution in a meticulously mapped video atlas. Cell
  • The ClinGen Allele Registry contains more than 650 million gene variants, each with a unique identifier called a ‘CAid’ to facilitate tracking them across databases and publications. Human Mutation
  • How autistic people practice theory of mind, or intuiting another person’s perspective, is about “difference rather than deficit.” Autism
  • People with intellectual disabilities love a good joke and appreciate “various types” of humor, just like anyone else. Frontiers in Psychology
  • Among people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, there is no such thing as an ‘average patient.’ JAMA Psychiatry
  • A pair of papers illustrate the remarkable potential of the UK Biobank for answering big questions about how genetics relates to the human condition. Nature
  • When small sections of 16p13.11, a region of chromosome 16, are duplicated, these changes likely contribute to autism, developmental delay and intellectual disability. Journal of Medical Genetics
  • The most commonly shared features among people with Schaaf-Yang syndrome are autism, joint problems and infant feeding problems. American Journal of Medical Genetics
  • In children with three sex chromosomes, language and neurodevelopmental differences don’t seem to trace to gene variants associated with neuronal communication. Wellcome Open Research
  • A study of prisoners of war suggests that the effects of a father’s trauma can be passed to the next generation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Some genetic variants associated with autoimmune disorders overlap with those tied to psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia or Tourette syndrome. American Journal of Medical Genetics
  • Low socioeconomic status and downward socioeconomic mobility in parents is linked to higher childhood risk for an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Use of psychotropic drugs — primarily melatonin and ADHD medications — is increasing among autistic children. Journal of Clinical Medicine
  • Rhesus macaque finger-length ratios show the opposite sex-based pattern from that of people and apes: Male monkeys have a higher index-to-ring-finger ratio than female monkeys. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience

Science and society

  • Stanford University’s John P.A. Ioannidis argues that the current model of scientific research funding is “miserably ineffective.” Scientific American
  • If you’ve earned your doctorate, STAT would like to hear from you about the agony and the ecstasy of your experience. STAT
  • Walt Disney Co. is doing its best to halt trials related to 30 lawsuits filed by autistic people who say its parks did not accommodate their needs. Orlando Sentinel
  • Autistic people have typical numbers of receptors for the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, which dampens brain activity. The Scientist
  • Most people can recognize thousands of human faces. Nature
  • Pharmaceutical companies are under growing pressure from the Trump administration to disclose drug prices in television advertisements. STAT
  • Silicon Valley engineer and entrepreneur Jeff Hawkins says he’s ready to reverse engineer the human brain, but critics express skepticism. The New York Times
  • A startup promises a “convenient alternative to seeing a therapist,” but one reporter describes it as providing “a friend for a fee.” The Verge
  • The United Kingdom plans to allow prescriptions for medicinal cannabis, motivated by people with epilepsy who report decreased seizures with cannabis use. The New York Times
  • Meanwhile, Canada has become the first of the G7 nations to legalize cannabis for all adults, but provinces get to choose age limits and how it will be sold. Business Insider

Autism and the arts

  • In a new book, autistic adults who were diagnosed after childhood describe what it’s like to grow up “wondering what’s wrong without ever knowing why.” Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • A woman with autism writes about how mimicking television characters when she was a girl impeded her ability to understand her true self. Vice
  • The “I am Special” board game is intended for children with and without autism, to help them learn that every person is unique. Jessica Kingsley Publishers


  • Elsevier and the American Chemical Society are filing a second lawsuit against ResearchGate, claiming illegal dissemination of copyrighted work on the networking platform for researchers. The Scientist
  • A 16-year-old paper claiming a vaccine-autism link and based on the retracted Wakefield study has itself been retracted. Retraction Watch

Funding news

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is sinking $1 billion into a new college of computing focused on artificial intelligence. Fortune