Spotted A roundup of autism papers and media mentions you may have missed.
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Spotted around the web: Week of 28 January 2019

by  /  1 February 2019

January 28th

Research roundup

  • People with fragile X syndrome avoid looking at emotional faces because of social anxiety rather than lack of social interest. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • High doses and long exposure to second-generation antipsychotic drugs increase the risk of obesity in autistic children. Childhood Obesity
  • Rare gene variants as well as some common ones contribute to autism in people living in the Faroe Islands. NPJ Genomic Medicine
  • Mutations in the gene CEP41 may contribute to autism in part by disrupting axon development, according to studies in zebrafish. Translational Psychiatry
  • Teachers give autistic children higher scores than parents do on functioning and adaptive-behavior tests. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Toddlers with autism who have an older sibling on the spectrum are more cognitively and developmentally advanced than those with typical siblings and parents. Autism Research
  • Individuals who start taking the antipsychotic medication aripiprazole are not more likely to commit self-harm or suicide than those who begin using another antipsychotic drug. JAMA Psychiatry
  • Explaining why a treatment myth is false and what led people to believe in it may help combat misinformation about autism interventions. PLOS One

Science and society

  • The appointment of two vaccine skeptics to the MN Autism Council in Minnesota is worrisome for autism advocates. Star Tribune
  • A measles outbreak in Washington has prompted Governor Jay Inslee to declare a statewide public-health emergency to prevent the disease from spreading. CNN
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is accepting new drug and medical device applications again, now that the partial government shutdown has ended. The Washington Post
  • International medical leaders aim to tighten their criteria for germline editing after a Chinese scientist claiming to meet all the criteria edited the genes of two girls while they were embryos. STAT
  • In Ireland, some parents of children with autism are “afraid to speak out” against delayed diagnoses and the lack of spots in special schools. Irish Examiner
  • More than three dozen U.K. universities have received rebukes from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee for failing to register clinical trials and disclose their findings. STAT
  • Scientists are finding evidence for the role that gut microbes play in influencing the brain and neurological conditions, including depression, dementia, schizophrenia and autism. The New York Times
  • Faced with a shortage of federal- and state-funded residential options for autistic adults, parents are building their own housing complex for their children. The Washington Post

Autism and the arts

  • The song “Let It Go” has become an anthem for many marginalized groups, including people on the spectrum who relate to the feeling of isolation and the desire to reject social stigma. NPR
  • An immersive theater production about the Apollo 11 moon landing is designed to “foster an explorer mindset” in autistic children.


  • Scientists whose first language is not English can use a number of tools to analyze published papers and improve their own manuscripts for international journals. Nature