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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: Suicide risk, bumetanide, preprints

by  /  7 February 2020

February 3rd

Research roundup

  • Autistic people’s social skills differ depending on whom they’re interacting with. Autism
  • Preschool children with autism are prone to wandering away from supervised areas. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
  • In the 1950s, behavioral health experts differed in their interpretations of Harry Harlow’s experiments with monkeys ‘raised’ by stand-ins for ‘refrigerator mothers.’ History of Psychiatry
  • Birth appears to trigger cell death, a normal part of early brain development. eNeuro
  • People with neurological diagnoses, including intellectual disability, may be at an elevated risk for suicide. JAMA
  • Stem cells from autistic people with large heads, or macrocephaly, replicate unusually rapidly, which may create errors in cells’ DNA. Cell Stem Cell
  • Research on autism in the elderly is thin, but the need for it is growing. Asian Journal of Psychiatry
  • There are new clinical guidelines for ‘complex attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,’ which occurs in conjunction with other conditions, such as autism. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Bumetanide, an approved diuretic drug, appears to ease autism traits in young children. Translational Psychiatry

Science and society

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has new guidance on the manufacture and clinical development of gene therapy products. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • American parents of children with disabilities have more trouble finding childcare than parents of typical children do, according to two large surveys. Center for American Progress
  • YouTube is streaming a 2005 British documentary on Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant with extraordinary language and mathematical talents. YouTube
  • The BRAIN initiative of the U.S. National Institutes of Health has announced a new director, John Ngai, who says the project’s primary mission is to develop tools for clinical research. Science
  • The in-person format of the Iowa caucuses — the first step in the U.S. presidential elections — prevents people with disabilities from participating. The Guardian
  • A New York state park is raising funds to open an autism nature trail. WGRZ
  • Key Bank has hired 11 new employees through its partnership with a recruitment firm that specializes in training and placing workers with autism. The Plain Dealer

Autism and the arts

  •  Dave Howard, an autistic author of children’s books, has opened a colorful bookstore and art space in western Pennsylvania. Tribune-Review
  • A Madison, Wisconsin, art gallery is exhibiting artwork from 15 adults and 9 children with autism. Isthmus


  • More than one-third of peer-reviewed scientific journals do not provide information about how to publish preprints. bioRxiv