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

Spotted around the web: Week of 3 December 2018

by  /  7 December 2018

December 3rd

Research roundup

  • Prenatal folic acid supplements may lower autism risk, according to a recent review. Acta Pediatrica
  • Obesity in pregnant mice is tied to immune activation in the fetal brain, especially in male fetuses. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
  • Stimulating a brain region above the eyes with electrodes appears to ease depression. Current Biology
  • Although 4-year-old children with autism have lower receptive vocabulary scores than their typical peers, these scores improve as fast as those of typical children over the next several years. Autism
  • Women with depression have an increased risk of having a child with autism, regardless of whether they take antidepressants during pregnancy, a new study suggests. Clinical Epidemiology
  • Smoking during pregnancy does not appear to cause autism. Translational Psychiatry
  • Autistic children are particularly vulnerable to being bullied in school, according to a French study. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
  • Autistic children often face barriers to accessing healthcare. Autism
  • Girls with autism have a narrower range of restricted interests than autistic boys do, and their interests have a more socially oriented focus — such as people or animals. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Adults on the spectrum, who are at a higher-than-average risk of mental-health problems and self-injury, need more treatment and support that is tailored to their needs. Autism

Science and society

  • Harvard University scientists are planning to start gene-editing sperm for in vitro fertilization amid controversy over claims of CRISPR babies born in China. MIT Technology Review
  • A new tool kit may help crisis-center workers better communicate with autistic people who call or text a helpline for support. American Association of Suicidology
  • Advance directives allow people with mental-health issues to legally specify the kind of treatment they want before they become too sick to voice their preferences. The New York Times
  • Techniques that make opaque tissues crystal-clear are enabling scientists to study intact samples and better understand cellular connections, gene expression and protein functions. Nature
  • A number of airlines are refusing to transport laboratory animals, according to a complaint filed by the National Association for Biomedical Research. Bloomberg
  • Scientists and various other ‘thinkers’ name climate change and artificial intelligence as among their top fears for the future. Motherboard
  • For the first time, a baby has been born to a woman who received a uterus transplanted from a deceased woman, demonstrating that the procedure is a viable option. The New York Times
  • Two brothers on the spectrum run a comic-book shop in England that includes spaces free of sensory stimulation and offers employment opportunities for people with autism. BBC
  • Data from a landmark study on adolescent brain development, tracking nearly 12,000 children aged 9 to 10, will be made available to researchers for further analysis. National Institutes of Health


  • A ‘transparent’ peer-review process does not harm manuscript turnaround times or affect the chances that a peer-reviewed study is published. Genome Biology