Human brain connectomes; autism services in Sri Lanka; sex differences in fragile X syndrome

Here is a roundup of news and research spotted around the web for the week of 23 October.

  • Autism traits in young women, but not in young men, are associated with a delayed decrease in gray-matter volume between the ages of 14 and 22. Brain Structure and Function
  • Ongoing efforts to construct annotated connectomes of the human brain may help create more realistic models of network formation and dynamics. Nature Reviews Neuroscience
  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health has announced new grant review guidelines that de-emphasize the reputation of the principal investigator and their institution.
  • Autistic people whose mothers had an autoimmune condition or experienced an illness with fever during pregnancy tend to have poorer social and adaptive skills than autistic people whose mothers were free of immune activation during pregnancy. Scientific Reports
  • A caregiver’s background can bias their scoring of autistic children when using the Child Behavior Checklist. JCPP Advances
  • No researcher from a historically Black university or college has ever received a Pathway to Independence Award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, a mechanism to launch postdoctoral fellows on to research careers, according to a preprint. bioRxiv
  • Infants with autistic relatives show altered brain responses to social stimuli, which differ from those of infants with relatives who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Cortex
  • For nearly 80 percent of toddlers who screen positive for autism, parents or primary care providers had a prior documented concern about motor or language skills or suspected autism. Autism

    Research images of human brain connectomes
    Node modes: Researchers build human brain connectomes by integrating maps of function and connections between regions.
  • A center in Sri Lanka demonstrates how to establish autism services in a lower-middle-income country via partnerships among existing governmental, nonprofit and charitable organizations. The Lancet Regional Health – Southeast Asia
  • Researchers have conducted an integrative network analysis of the epigenetic and transcription effects of noncoding gene variants implicated in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions. Nature Genetics
  • Mice missing the FMR1 gene, a model of fragile X syndrome, display sex differences in autism-like behaviors and dendritic spine densities. Neuroscience
  • Molecular changes at synapses that underlie learning can be saturated to the point that they impair additional learning, according to a preprint. bioRxiv
  • Researchers have built a reference guide to typical fetal brain growth between 14 and 31 weeks of gestation, based on 3D-ultrasound images. Nature
  • Synesthesia occurs in autistic people more often than non-autistic people, and traits such as repetitive behaviors and high attention to detail appear to share genetic underpinnings with the sensory condition. Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences
  • Mice with insufficient SCN2A gene activity, a model of autism, show autism-like behavior and dampened cortical activity. iScience