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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: PTEN organoids, virtual reality, decolonizing science

by , , ,  /  10 September 2021

September 6th

Research roundup

  • Ten percent of parents in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, believe the falsehood that child immunization can cause autism. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Autistic adolescents hospitalized for anorexia nervosa receive similar treatments and have similar outcomes as their non-autistic peers, according to four years of data from a single institution. (Spectrum has previously covered the overlap between autism and anorexia.) Journal of Clinical Medicine
  • Overexpression of the gene PTEN, which has been linked to microcephaly in people, produces smaller-than-usual brain organoids; loss of the gene is linked to macrocephaly and autism. Molecular Brain
  • A virtual-reality system uses games to encourage gaze-sharing and gaze-following in children with autism. (Spectrum has reported on the use of virtual reality in autism research.) IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
  • Black autistic teenagers and young adults have significantly more depressive symptoms than their white peers, a small study suggests. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Digital health technologies designed to support autistic people are promising but should not be publicly available without more evidence to back them, researchers argue. Autism
  • Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder compound attentional difficulties in children with both conditions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
  • Brain organoids derived from human cells with mutations in the autism-linked CNTNAP2 gene show an unusual proliferation of excitatory neurons. Nature Communications
  • Oxytocin appears to play a crucial role in the development of brain networks and social behavior in zebrafish. Journal of Neuroscience
  • The sodium channel genes SCN1A, SCN2A, SCN3A and SCN8A are spliced differently and produce different exons across development, which may account for the biological effects of variants of these genes, which are implicated in autism and epilepsy. Genome Medicine

Science and society

  • A project called Decolonise Science has plans to translate African research into one of six African languages, including coining new words for scientific terms. Nature
  • Sixty percent of early-career neuroscience researchers had no funding when they were hired at the rank of assistant professor, according to a study of 344 people in 133 institutions, challenging the myth that junior scientists must have a grant to obtain a faculty position. Science Advances
  • Including non-academics in grant review panels can add valuable perspectives, especially when evaluating applied research. London School of Economics Impact Blog
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created information and tip sheets about COVID-19 for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers.

    Illustration of a masked woman in a wheelchair representing someone who may benefit from the CDC's new information and tip sheets about COVID-19.

    Friendly messaging: Cartoon stories may help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities better understand public health measures for COVID-19.

  • To improve the justice system for autistic people, judges should be educated on the condition, and courtrooms should implement accommodations, reformers say. Public Source
  • A variety of tools exist to help researchers keep up with the scientific literature, including visual mapping and personal algorithms. Nature

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TAGS:   autism