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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 13 August 2018

by  /  17 August 2018

August 13th

Research roundup

  • Although children with Phelan-McDermid syndrome sometimes have autism features, they might benefit more from speech therapy than from an intensive behavioral intervention. Translational Psychiatry
  • A seminar series involving autistic and non-autistic people offers a new framework for partnering on research. Autism
  • In lower-resource settings such as rural India, lay health workers can successfully deliver a 12-session intervention for children with autism and their families. A Spectrum viewpoint describes this intervention. Autism Research
  • Risky ‘rapid repeat’ pregnancies — those within one year of each other — are more common among women with developmental or cognitive disabilities. CMAJ
  • A GABA receptor mutation in mice inhibits the activity of a key protein in brain development, causing seizures and early mortality. Nature Communications
  • Women with eczema, psoriasis or asthma are more likely to have children with autism, and autistic children are likelier to have eczema, psoriasis or allergies. Autism Research
  • More maternal factors: Pre-pregnancy diabetes plus obesity increases the odds of having a child with autism. Pediatrics
  • Brain fat content changes with age and differs among people with and without conditions such as autism, schizophrenia and Down syndrome. Molecular Psychiatry
  • Science serendipity: While tweaking an optogenetics tool to limit off-target effects, researchers stumbled onto a way to measure chloride concentrations in different parts of a nerve cell. eLife
  • Autistic children see more improvement in insomnia and constipation when their families work with clinicians to set their own treatment goals. Pediatrics
  • When parents of children on the spectrum undergo training in nutrition and strategies to ease stress at mealtimes, mealtime stress eases. Journal of Pediatric Psychology
  • A history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is quite common among people with schizophrenia. Acta Pyschiatrica Scandinavica
  • One in four U.S. adults has a disability, with cognitive disabilities more common among young people and mobility disability more common among older people. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Science and society

  • Autism activists in Malaysia are calling for more screening and assessment centers to free preschool teachers from the task of identifying children with developmental delays. Free Malaysia Today
  • The gene-editing tool CRISPR is making its move into the clinic, but hurdles remain. The Scientist
  • Meanwhile, researchers who last year reported using CRISPR to repair a disease-related gene in an embryo say that repeat tests have yielded the same outcomes. STAT
  • A record number of scientists have thrown their hats in the ring for the U.S. midterm elections. BBC News
  • U.S. academia is “badly broken” when it comes to sexual harassment. Scientific American
  • Neuroscientist BethAnn McLaughlin of Vanderbilt University talks about her campaign to remove sexual harassers from the elite ranks of U.S. science. The Scientist
  • The U.S. State Department is slashing benefits for families whose children have developmental and other disabilities, even requiring some to repay benefits they’ve already received. Foreign Policy
  • Advocates have expressed concern to the Senate Judiciary Committee about a disability-related ruling Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh issued as a D.C. circuit court judge. American Network of Community Options and Resources
  • State-run institutions for people with disabilities are culpable for leaving residents vulnerable to predators, say plaintiffs in a Washington case involving an autistic woman. BuzzFeed News

Autism and the arts

  • A documentary focused on an autistic poet who won the “inclusion lottery” depicts how the artist’s family and friends molded the environment around him so that he could function freely. Psychology Today
  • An autistic teenager has written a book of tips — each six words or fewer — to help parents, teachers and friends understand his condition better. K5 News
  • Read a selection of powerful works from 10 poets with disabilities, who frequently focus on how society reacts to their conditions. The New York Times
  • An autistic woman who has achieved expertise in Carnatic music — a classical form of music in southern India — has come a long way since her first chaotic encounter with the genre. Manorama
  • You know you’ve noticed some of these: eight movies that got the science seriously wrong. STAT