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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 30 July 2018

by  /  3 August 2018

July 30th

Research roundup

  • Asperger syndrome and ‘high-functioning autism’ have different clinical profiles, according to this study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Home-based sensory interventions show promise for helping autistic children in developing countries. Indian Journal of Pediatrics
  • In this tiny study, Greek-speaking children on the spectrum can recognize the parts of a compound word but struggle to discern its meaning. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics
  • A zebrafish model of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome has yielded insights into how related cardiovascular and craniofacial changes arise. Cell Reports
  • Seven people carrying mutations in a relatively unexplored gene have many neurological differences, including seizures, neurodevelopmental regression and coordination difficultiesAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
  • Meet the scutoid, a newly described cell shape that might explain how epithelium can be sculpted into organs during development. Nature Communications
  • The medical conditions that co-occur with autism form some previously unreported co-occurring combinations themselves in autistic children. Academic Pediatrics
  • Researchers have unveiled the Psychiatric Cell Map Initiative, an ambitious plan to map interacting molecular pathways for neurodevelopmental conditions. Cell
  • If you apply magnetic resonance imaging in children, how about trying the ‘Kitten Scanner’ to eliminate the need for sedation? Caveat: the study excluded autistic children. Journal of Child Health Care
  • One in eight children ages 2 to 9 years in India has a neurodevelopmental condition. PLOS Medicine
  • A study of sex-based differences in restricted and repetitive behaviors among children with autism finds decreased rates of some stereotyped behaviors in subpopulations of girls. Autism
  • A new review offers a repository of important studies addressing gender dysphoria and sexuality among people with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • People who identify as trans or nonbinary and who also have autism tend to have higher levels of self-reported autism traits than those who identify with their assigned sex. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • At least some parts of the leopard gecko brain can regenerate. Scientific Reports
  • If lizards aren’t your thing, how about a nice video showing how the mouse brain determines how to act on what it sees? STAT


Science and society

  • Social-media bots have gained notoriety for their role in voter manipulation, but are they also manipulating attitudes about public health? U.S. News & World Report
  • Researchers in resource-poor areas describe the many obstacles — from bombings to utility outages — that they encounter in their work. Nature
  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health has delayed by more than a year the implementation of its policy on basic research involving people. Science
  • Disability community advocates are concerned about how Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would treat cases involving the Americans with Disabilities Act. Rewire.News
  • Children reunited with their parents after forcible separation at the U.S. border are showing signs of trauma and persistent mental-health issues. The New York Times
  • A judge has ruled that the Trump administration cannot give migrant children psychotropic drugs without parental consent. The Washington Post
  • Donald Trump has at long last selected a White House scientific adviser: meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier. Nature
  • The European Medicines Agency has recommended granting pediatric-use marketing authorizations for two drugs, including one to treat insomnia in children with autism or Smith-Magenis syndrome. European Medicines Agency
  • “NeuroTribes” author Steve Silberman reminds Guardian readers that Leo Kanner likely did not arrive at the clinical entity we call ‘autism’ independently of Hans Asperger. The Guardian
  • With the release of a child molester and one-time high-profile geneticist from prison, journalist Daniel Engber asks, “Can or should a man’s monstrosity be separated from his science?” Slate


Autism and the arts

  • In August, London theater-goers can seek out autism-friendly performances of “Aladdin” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the latter of which runs more than five hours in total. GoodToKnow
  • A book review covers two new books, “The Disordered Mind” and “Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World’s Strangest Brains,” offering new perspectives on human neurology. Science
  • It’s a good question: Why are science-fiction settings never wheelchair accessible? io9
  • Pakistani artists helped build international goodwill and raise funds for the Oman Autism Society by including their art in an Oman-based fundraising exhibition. Times of Oman


  • An editorial contributor to Nature does some hand-wringing over whether journalists can avoid inappropriately magnifying results communicated via preprint servers. Nature
  • At the other end of the data-control spectrum, this commentary calls for “open practices” in data sharing and publication. Towards Data Science
  • A cell biologist working in epigenetics was dismissed from her post last year over research misconduct, and her institution has called for retraction of five of her papers. The Scientist