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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 July

by  /  20 July 2018

July 16th

Research roundup

Is the placenta at the center of sex differences in neurodevelopmental conditions? Nature Communications

Mothers and fathers differ in their assessments of their child’s autism features. Minerva Pediatrica

Autistic adolescents respond to different social-motivation factors than their neurotypical peers do. Scientific Reports

Only limited evidence supports the use of a common autism screening tool at age 18 months. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology

The severe food selectivity that is common in children on the spectrum can increase risk of nutrition deficits. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

A huge study of infants in China yields a trove of mental-health data. Nature

Protein-coding predictions in a catalog of human gene annotations are frequently wrong. bioRxiv

Autistic people have differences in a reward pathway linked to social behaviors. Brain

Researchers look at the evidence supporting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s breakthrough-therapy designation decisions. JAMA

A mutation in a chromosomal region containing the autism-related FOXP1 gene is tied to severe intellectual disability. Clinica Chimica Acta

Fruit flies have the best gene names; here’s how they got some of them. STAT

In other editing news, a group of bioethicists says gene editing of sperm, eggs or early embryos could be “morally permissible.” Nuffield Council on Bioethics

Scientists may have underestimated the damage CRISPR can do. STAT

The visual cortex does not thin from pruning during childhood but becomes more myelinated, investigators say. bioRxiv

Empathy and systematizing in children with autism are both factors in their perception of fairness, researchers say. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry

In Bangladesh, at least 17 in 10,000 children are diagnosed with autism, according to a university report. New Age Bangladesh

The cerebellum has distinctive structural features in children on the spectrum. PLOS One

People on the spectrum only seem like they want to be left alone, but they are interested in socializing, two researchers argue. The New York Times

Vietnam is training parents and teachers nationwide in early-intervention approaches for autism. Vietnamnet

In Bahrain, integrating autistic children into regular classrooms is a “spectacular success.” Bahrain News Agency

Does an erroneous assumption about people with autism make robot-based treatment a mistake? Wired UK

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers guidance for gaining approval for switching drugs from prescription to over-the-counter status. STAT+

Advanced maternal age — 35 years or older — is not an independent factor in earlier identification of a child’s autism. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

Science and society

“60 Minutes” is catching flak for showing an autistic person in an “undignified manner.” The Sydney Morning Herald

High schoolers in Massachusetts have created their own disability history museum and want to see a national version established. WBUR

Neuroscientist Brenda Milner, whose work linked memory and the hippocampus, celebrates her centenary birthday. STAT

Anti-vaccine proponents tend to overestimate their knowledge relative to that of experts, researchers say. The Conversation

Health screenings at the Special Olympics highlight care gaps. K5News, Seattle

U.S. houses of worship are excluding children with autism and other developmental conditions but not those with epilepsy. Association of Religion Data Archives

A cafe in Tehran is the first in Iran to have a staff consisting entirely of people with autism or Down syndrome. Al-Monitor

Andrew Wakefield is being embraced (literally) by famous people in the United States, which doesn’t bode well for public health, this op-ed says. The Guardian

Autism and the arts

An autistic girl’s fictionalized account of a day in her “life of a perfectionist” has gone viral. BBC

Brutally honest standup comedian Hannah Gadsby is Australian and autistic, and she’s also a Netflix sensation. The Guardian


An editorial argues that new metrics should be applied for assessing the publication value of research from “the global south.” Nature

The Trump administration is deleting the National Guideline Clearinghouse, a “one-stop shop” for clinicians to find vetted guidelines for their specialties. Vox

Funding news

The migrant debacle is siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars from medical research and rural health programs. Politico