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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: Week of 16 September 2019

by  /  20 September 2019

September 16th

Research roundup

  • The more preterm a baby is, the higher her risk of intellectual disability, autism or cerebral palsy, according to records from more than 700,000 people in Australia. The Journal of Pediatrics
  • People with gene deletions or duplications on chromosome 16, which are linked to autism, have unusually large or small brain volumes, respectively, by age 4 and a half. NeuroImage
  • Laboratory-grown brain organoids are a useful research tool, but as they become more sophisticated, concerns about consciousness are cropping up. Stem Cell Reports
  • Both younger and older adults with autism traits tend to have difficulty understanding social situations. Autism Research
  • Children whose mothers took acetaminophen during pregnancy may be more likely than others to have behavioral conduct problems as preschoolers. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology
  • Researchers have created a reference database of organisms in a typical human microbiome. PLOS ONE
  • Neuronal death during development is not random, but determined by cell fitness. Nature Communications
  • Female pediatricians earn less than male pediatricians, even when the number of hours worked, specialty and seniority are taken into account. Pediatrics
  • Researchers are visualizing genes by using fluorescent proteins inserted via gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR. Trends in Cell Biology
  • A new method helps prevent CRISPR from editing DNA it wasn’t intended to target. Nucleic Acids Research

Science and society

  • The U.K. health secretary has announced plans to sequence the 500,000 genomes in the U.K. Biobank. Bloomberg
  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science has selected 125 women innovators in STEM fields to serve as role models for girls.
  • Hiring autistic people begins with considering their needs in the interview process, such as avoiding panel interviews and vague or trick questions. Fast Company
  • A developmental neurobiologist argues that the neurodiversity movement, which calls for inclusion of autistic people, marginalizes those with more profound difficulties. Aeon
  • At least 12 children with autism share the same sperm donor; one mother sued the sperm bank. The Washington Post
  • Many families in New York are choosing to homeschool their children, after the state ended the religious exemption for vaccines. The New York Times
  • Being bullied leads to a host of poor psychological outcomes; new research reveals it also changes brain structure. Undark
  • Researchers have created realistic models of human embryos from stem cells. MIT Technology Review
  • A new book, “Hacking the Code of Life,” details how today’s gene-editing tools are advancing research and raising ethical questions. Undark
  • The Cartoon Network is mentoring 20 autistic people in Los Angeles, California, in animation storytelling. Disability Scoop
  • Boosting the number of women presenting at scientific conferences requires prolonged, consistent effort. Nature

Autism and the arts

  • Artwork by an autistic high-school student in Tampa, Florida, is among nine designs chosen to represent the Special Olympics USA Games in 2022. ABC Action News
  • Vancouver artist Margaux Wosk creates colorful paintings and advocates for autistic people in her social media feeds and Etsy shop. The Mighty


  • Open-access journals with high acceptance rates, such as PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports, are losing prestige and receiving fewer submissions. Science