Social cognition; racial disparities; MECP2 gene

Here is a roundup of autism-related news and research spotted around the web for the week of 11 March.

  • Three genetic patterns that underlie language, behavior and motor challenges in autism arise from modeling genomic covariance. Nature Communications
  • Uta and Chris Frith write about how their work on social cognition applies to conditions such as autism and psychosis. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry
  • Autistic people tend to have more short-range and fewer long-range connections between functional nodes in the brain than do non-autistic people, according to a preprint. bioRxiv
  • A review of patient-reported outcome measures discusses the challenges that arise when the respondents are autistic and suggests potential improvements. Autism Research
  • Racial disparities in autism diagnosis stem from differences in defining the condition, cultural perception of traits, and access to resources and services, as well as prevailing biases and stigmas, according to a review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Even as rates of early screening for autism increase, children are still diagnosed later, on average, than when the condition might first be identified, according to a review. Pediatric Clinics of North America
  • Autistic people are at greater risk for self-harm and for suicide deaths and attempts than non-autistic people; some studies find autistic girls and women have higher rates of attempts and ideation than autistic boys and men, but there’s no clear gender difference in deaths by suicide. Autism Research
  • Intracranial brain volume and hippocampal volume increase in relation to the number of duplications at the 22q11.2 locus, but not so for thalamus or amygdala volumes. Neuropsychopharmacology
  • A new caregiver-report instrument shows good viability as an outcome measure for assessing Rett syndrome treatments. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Sensory sensitivities occur in two syndromes caused by variants of the MECP2 gene, though people with MECP2 duplication syndrome tend to have more pronounced changes than do those with Rett syndrome. Autism Research

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, help is available. Here is a worldwide directory of resources and hotlines that you can call for support.

Sign up for the weekly Spectrum newsletter to stay current with the latest advancements in autism research.