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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: Polypharmacy, poison exons, infant social attention

by  /  21 May 2021

May 17th

Research roundup

  • A new model shows how cognitive differences may predispose autistic people to anxiety. Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • Hyperexcitability in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome appears to be mediated in part by neurons in the lateral amygdala, which fire more and form stronger excitatory synapses than those in control mice. eNeuro
  • Similar neural networks are activated in autistic and non-autistic people as they observe facial emotions, even when their behavioral responses differ. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
  • The genetics of some neurodevelopmental conditions involve poison exons, extra bits of DNA that disrupt protein transcription; targeting these spliced-in segments with antisense RNA may be therapeutic, as Spectrum reported last year. Developmental Neuroscience
  • Infant social attention, which may be different in people with autism, may also be necessary for the development of social and neurocognitive brain systems. Scientific American
  • Autistic boys and young men, along with those who have another psychiatric diagnosis or self-injurious or aggressive behaviors, are more likely to take multiple psychotropic medications than other autistic youth; Spectrum has covered the problem of polypharmacy in autistic children. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
  • In 2020, people with autism living in Europe had difficulty accessing social services and healthcare, including COVID-19-specific services. BMJ Open
  • Children do not have an elevated chance of having autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder if their mothers were given oxytocin during labor, according to a study of 1.5 million births. International Journal of Epidemiology
  • A single family in Colombia shows variable phenotypes of fragile X syndrome and a range of genetic profiles, including different numbers of nucleotide repeats and methylation patterns. Spectrum has covered the fragile X cluster in Colombia in depth. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities
  • People born preterm or with low birth weight appear to be more likely to have a child with autism than people without these birth histories. International Journal of Epidemiology

Science and society

  • Nonprofit, for-profit and government agencies in Phoenix, Arizona, are collaborating to provide housing and other services for autistic adults, but unmet needs remain, writes the founder of an autism services organization. AZCentral
  • The lawyer for the so-called ‘QAnon Shaman,’ a man facing federal charges for his role in the 6 January attack on the U.S. Capitol, says his client’s autism made him susceptible to propaganda. Salon

TAGS:   autism