Spotted A roundup of autism papers and media mentions you may have missed.
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Spotted around the web: Week of 17 December 2018

by  /  21 December 2018

December 17th

Research roundup

  • Prenatal exposure to phthalates, chemicals found in many plastic products, is not associated with autism, even in otherwise high-risk groups. Environmental Health
  • When parents play with their babies, their brain activity mirrors changes in the baby’s visual attention. PLOS Biology
  • People who have intellectual disability, with or without autism, are more likely than people in the general population to be hospitalized for conditions that could have been treated by a primary-care clinician. Autism Research
  • The social hormone oxytocin binds to its receptor less than usual in a reward region of the brain in individuals with autism, according to a study of postmortem tissue. Translational Psychiatry
  • Athletics programs that “combine relationship building with physical conditioning” may help decrease barriers for autistic children. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Mutations in CHD8, a top autism gene, appear to result in decreased axon and dendrite growth. Molecular Autism
  • In a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, neuronal structures do not change in response to increased sensory input, as happens in typical mice. Journal of Neuroscience

Science and society

  • A partial U.S. government shutdown could interrupt several scientific research programs. Nature
  • A federal judge in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional. Forbes
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for better detection and management of depression in women during and after pregnancy. Pediatrics
  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health is considering security measures to prevent intellectual-property leaks and foreign-government influence on research. Nature
  • Digital networks inspired by the human nervous system can, in turn, be used to simulate communication imbalances in autism, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. The Conversation
  • The movie “Rain Man” helped increase awareness of autism, but it is also a narrow depiction of people on the spectrum that perpetuates stereotypes. The Guardian
  • Parents of autistic children express frustration with the healthcare system and difficulty accessing specialist care. WCAI
  • A California judge dismissed a lawsuit against Craig Venter that claimed the geneticist stole trade secrets when he left his San Diego-based company Human Longevity in May. STAT
  • Researchers in China who commit scientific misconduct may soon face consequences that extend well outside of academia. Nature

Funding news

  • The advocacy organization 500 Women Scientists is launching a fellowship to support women of color who are leading projects in science, technology, engineering and math. 500 Women Scientists
  • Private funding can help fill gaps left by tightening budgets at federal agencies in the United States. The Scientist