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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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

Spotted around the web: Developing striatum, autism incidence in Japan, psychedelic therapies

by  /  14 May 2021

May 10th

Research roundup

  • JASPER, a naturalistic social-communication intervention for autistic children, seems to increase child-initiated interactions, a key step in language development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
  • A catalog of RNA from single cells in the fetal striatum, a brain area implicated in autism, may unveil transcription hierarchies involved in early development. Science

    RNA from fetal striatum reveal hierarchies in early developent.

    RNA Catalog: Analyzing RNA species in fetal brain may reveal how their interactions drive striatal development.

  • Adults who have epilepsy caused by focal cortical dysplasia, an atypical pattern of neuronal layers, tend to have more autism traits than those without epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior
  • Treatment for sleep problems in autistic adults is rarely effective, according to a new survey. Autism
  • Another recent survey based on self-reports suggests that autistic adults also have poorer diets and get less exercise and sleep than non-autistic adults. Molecular Autism
  • In Japan, 2.75 percent of children born from 2009 to 2014 were diagnosed with autism by age 5, a higher incidence than has been reported elsewhere. Spectrum’s prevalence map tracks similar studies around the world. JAMA Network Open
  • An injection of oxytocin appears to reverse social deficits in a strain of mice with mutations in the autism-linked CHD8 gene; the mechanism of this effect remains unclear, however, because the hormone is too large to enter the brain. BMC Neuroscience
  • Autistic girls are diagnosed, on average, 14 months later than autistic boys, because they often present with few repetitive behaviors and satisfactory language skills. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • An expert panel recommends focusing on traits rather than diagnoses when prescribing antipsychotics for children. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Long-read sequencing is a useful way to study large genomic alterations called structural variants, which typically exceed 50 base pairs in length. Nature Genetics

Science and society

  • Writers Steve Silberman, Eric Garcia and Sara Luterman discuss the shift in thinking about autism that led to this year’s renaming of April as Autism Acceptance Month. 1A
  • The psychedelic drugs MDMA and psilocybin appear poised to become mainstream treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, respectively, after clinical trials have shown their effectiveness. The New York Times
  • Research involving autistic people and virtual reality is on the agenda of a virtual conference slated for 12 to 14 May 2021. Applications of Virtual Reality in Autism Research
  • An article for young readers explains the ‘double empathy problem’ — how conversation styles differ between autistic and non-autistic people and can lead to communication breakdowns. Frontiers for Young Minds
  • North Carolina lawmakers have sent a bill to the governor that would allow behavior analysts to work with autistic children without the direct supervision of a psychologist. The Progressive Pulse

TAGS:   autism