Spotted around the web: Week of 13 January 2020

Research roundup

  • The more educated an autistic child’s parents are, the less likely the child is to talk about suicidal thoughts, although the reasons for this trend are unclear. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Sex differences in autism prevalence may have a neuronal basis that could be explored in animal models. Journal of Neuroscience Research
  • A new autism screening questionnaire filled out by caregivers measures ‘social motivation’ in children and may improve diagnosis. Molecular Autism
  • Autistic children who are hyperresponsive to light, sound, touch and other sensory stimuli are prone to anxiety. Autism Research
  • A mutation in the gene CACNA1D that increases calcium exchange in neurons has been linked to autism. Molecular Autism
  • People with DiGeorge syndrome, a condition associated with autism and caused by a missing piece of chromosome 22, tend to have small brains. Molecular Psychiatry
  • Experimental compounds decrease epileptic brain activity and improve cognitive function in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, a condition linked to autism. Cell Reports
  • Doctors spend an average of 16 minutes interacting with electronic health records for every person they treat. Annals of Internal Medicine
  • Seizures can be triggered by changes in sleep and wakefulness in a mouse model of epilepsy associated with autism and intellectual disability. Biological Psychiatry

Science and society

  • To study brain activity during social interaction, researchers have fashioned a magnetic resonance imaging scanner that accommodates two people lying face to face. Science
  • In Connecticut, people with autism can store their driver’s license and vehicle registration in a blue envelope to alert police officers to their condition during roadside checks. NBC Connecticut
  • A new Trump administration rule dictates that federally funded research that uses fetal tissue must undergo an ethics review, but no review board has been established. The Washington Post
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is under-resourced and susceptible to political interference. The New York Times
  • Engineering students have created designs and prototypes of consumer products for people with autism, such as a refrigerator lock, an app that shows family restroom locations and a shower guard that prevents overflows. NPR
  • Racism, including that of healthcare providers, is a big factor driving health disparities between black and white children in the United States. Pediatrics Nationwide
  • Dozens of institutions have repeatedly failed to enter clinical trial data into a federal database as required by law. Science
  • A naturopath in Vancouver, Canada, has been treating autistic children using fecal transplants, a risky and unproven procedure. CBC News
  • Investors have backed a smartwatch for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism that alerts wearers to their drifting attention. ABC13
  • A New York City school for children with autism held a conference on how to transition to independent life as an adult. CBS New York

Autism and the arts

  • Autistic artist Kieran Castaño, who says his pointillist style relates to stimming behavior, has a show at Orlando, Florida’s Mills Gallery. Orlando Weekly
  • Signe Land, a lawyer who was diagnosed with autism as an adult, is writing a memoir about practicing law as an autistic person. Minnesota Lawyer

Originally published on Spectrum

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