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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 3 September 2018

by  /  7 September 2018

September 3rd

Research roundup

  • Research focused on effective depression treatments for autistic people is sadly lacking. Current Psychiatry Reports
  • In 12-month-old babies, a lack of initiating shared attention is not a good predictor of a later autism diagnosis. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
  • A high depression rate among young people with autism and without intellectual disability likely traces to environmental rather than genetic factors. JAMA Network Open
  • Offering a safe, nonjudgmental environment for personal expression is key to helping autistic adolescents participate in peer interactions. PLOS One
  • People with autism are more likely than others to comply with burdensome requests due to heightened anxiety, low self-esteem and experiences with bullying. Autism
  • Adolescent boys with autism are less likely than typical boys to recognize when bullying is happening. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • The prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among U.S. children was 10.2 percent in 2016, up from 6.1 percent in 1997. JAMA Network Open
  • Children on the spectrum are less likely than, uh, their neurotypical peers to use ‘um’ to, like, fill in pauses between spoken words. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • They are more likely than their typical peers to succumb to the temptation to touch an attractive toy after being instructed not to do so. Autism
  • It’s possible to screen for autism in children living in resource-limited regions using internet tools, according to these findings from a population in India. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
  • This survey of autistic adults in Scotland suggests that clinicians should consider evaluating these individuals for visual and hearing impairments, in addition to other physical and mental conditions. BMJ Open
  • Globally, the prevalence of developmental disabilities among children has not attenuated since 1990, and some regions have seen increases, including sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The Lancet Global Health

Science and society

  • Chelation: Despite evidence of harm, some practitioners still peddle it to parents of autistic children. CBC
  • An antipsychotic pill with a sensor that transmits an alert when swallowed will soon be available in some U.S. states under Medicaid coverage. STAT+
  • This review of a book covering the intersection of autism and substance use calls the book “readable” and a “good introduction to the subject for professionals.” Drug and Alcohol Review
  • A professor tangled himself in a web of drama and lies after faking an offer letter to make himself look more desirable to his university. The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • A whistleblower who raised concerns about researchers improperly accessing data from a Utah autism registry won damages in a related federal lawsuit. Deseret News
  • At an autism conference in Vietnam, experts called for a society that “accepts and respects diversity.” Viet Nam News
  • At a conference in Nigeria, attendees pleaded for government encouragement of therapy for children with autism, Down syndrome or cerebral palsy. The Nation
  • Meanwhile, this story out of Kenya highlights the “misunderstood genius” of people on the spectrum. Standard Digital
  • Neuroscientist Mu-ming Poo, who is leading the China Brain Project, has had only one major epiphany brought on by a sleepless night, but it was a doozy. Neuron

Autism and the arts

  • The canard that people on the spectrum can’t understand or enjoy fiction needs to be put to rest, as Temple Grandin’s literature-related insights make clear. Salon
  • That said, some autistic writers argue that Grandin should not be treated as the avatar of autism or the central figure in a ‘supercrip narrative,’ a term describing a story that mythologizes a person with a disability. Medium
  • An art exhibit at a university in New York state features the work of autistic people “putting their voice on canvas.” WKBW


  • The lack of transparency in peer review enables “several forms of abuse,” say the authors of this call for open peer review. Nature
  • Nature editors respond in an editorial, noting that not all researchers are on board with the idea. Nature
  • Meanwhile, researchers could benefit from a potential “springtime for methods sharing” by posting detailed reproducible methods online. Nature
  • PNAS no longer in print? That’s the plan, starting in January 2019, because the journal aims to dispense with its strict page limits for articles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Throw your hat into the ring to be selected as an official ‘Neuroscience 2018 Blogger’ for the upcoming Society for Neuroscience meeting. Neuronline

Job moves

  • Has your experience with the academic job search left you with sufficient expertise to pursue this “unique calling”? Science

TAGS:   autism