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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 22 October 2018

by  /  26 October 2018

October 22nd

Research roundup

  • The structure and function of our dendrites, the neuronal extensions that receive incoming signals, may be what defines our nerve cells as human. Cell
  • To bee or not to bee social: An autism-linked gene involved in neuronal communication may drive the social behavior of bees. Nature Communications
  • Mice delivered by cesarean section show differences in brain development, vocalization and nerve-cell function compared with vaginally delivered mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • A signaling pathway that regulates impulsive behavior works through the amygdala, the brain’s emotion-processing center. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Disrupting the autism-related gene SHANK3 in monkeys produces ‘autism-like’ features that antidepressants can mitigate. Human Molecular Genetics
  • The volume of gray matter in the brain is linked to genetics-based risk scores for autism and schizophrenia. NeuroImage: Clinical
  • A comprehensive database of thousands of DNA-sequence changes related to autism has been updated and includes genetic and clinical annotations for each entry. Database
  • People with savant syndrome and autism have features that are distinct from those who have autism alone. Molecular Autism
  • Autistic people may have difficulty evaluating what others are thinking while simultaneously tracking what’s happening around them. Autism Research
  • One in four children with autism shows abnormal brain-wave activity, which predicts worse outcomes. Epilepsy and Behavior
  • Children with features of autism perform well on a visual working-memory task, in contrast with earlier findings linking autism features to poor memory. Autism Research
  • Among Saudi Arabian children, having closely related parents is a contributing factor to autism. Neurosciences (Riyadh)
  • Autistic Somali children living in Minnesota are likely to be diagnosed at a later age than their white counterparts. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • A web-based program may help clinicians recognize autism features in low- or middle-income countries, according to results from a trial run in South Africa. Autism Research
  • Mutations that crop up after a zygote forms may contribute more to brain development than previously thought. Nature Neuroscience
  • A chemical derived from broccoli is being tested in a randomized controlled trial as an autism therapy. Neurology

Science and society

  • Stem-cell clinics touting autism treatments are the target of a U.S. government crackdown. STAT
  • A U.S. senator in Nevada has been pushing clinicians in the Veterans Affairs department to adopt an experimental, unproven ‘brain-wave’ treatment for mental health. ProPublica
  • Are promised post-marketing studies of approved drugs really just a way to push approvals through first and ask questions later? Undark
  • The Trump administration’s plan to define gender as a binary is “an insult to science,” experts say. STAT
  • Autistic advocates have issued a statement condemning the plan. Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • Researchers are working with advocates on the spectrum to develop a policy brief for the International Society for Autism Research on the top priorities for suicide prevention among autistic people. Twitter
  • Researchers need to look to emerging economies if they want to see huge gains in helping people via science. Nature
  • Canada is creating a national online autism resource called the AIDE Network, along with opening six brick-and-mortar centers across the country to offer resources and support. Public Health Agency of Canada
  • The American Association of Suicidology has developed a resource for crisis-center workers to recognize and support people on the spectrum who call for help. American Association of Suicidology
  • Crowdfunding has become the American way to pay for medical care, but much of the money raised — amounting to millions of dollars — goes toward unproven and possibly harmful treatments. STAT
  • In Hong Kong, many autistic teen runners are picking up social tips while they train weekly for an upcoming race at Hong Kong Disneyland. South China Morning Post
  • Hundreds of children on the spectrum from several Asian nations participated in swimming and running competitions in Indonesia as part of the 4th ASEAN Autism Games. Antara News
  • It’s a 21st century job: Hired hackers are breaking into the National Institutes of Health and other databases to identify security flaws before the real criminals do. The Scientist

Job moves

  • Craig Newschaffer is now dean of Pennsylvania State University’s College of Health and Human Development. To fill his former position, Diana Robins has been named interim director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute. Drexel University

TAGS:   autism