Spotted around the web: Autism screening, hidden variables, Rett therapy

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 11 April.

Research roundup

  • Autistic children have a higher likelihood of developing hypertension, yet they are screened less frequently than non-autistic children during well-child visits in the United States. JAMA Network Open
  • Trofinetide, a novel anti-inflammatory drug, showed some benefit in girls with Rett syndrome in a phase 3 clinical trial. Spectrum reported on the results in January. MedPage Today
  • Commonly overlooked variables such as laboratory housing, circadian rhythms and social environments can all muddy behavioral results in animals, according to a review of studies. Neuropsychopharmacology
Diagram with mouse head, brain highlighted, in center with arrows pointing to and from an array of variables that may influence a lab animal's behavior. Examples include social environment, circadian rhythm, home cage environment, behavioral testing, social interaction, parental behavior, neural activity, transportation stress.
Control everything: Laboratory animals’ behavior may be influenced by experience and environment.
  • Imaging studies that associate brain structure with behavioral differences have a replication problem that might be addressed with larger cohorts and machine-learning techniques. Nature Reviews Neuroscience
  • Mice missing all three NRXN genes, which are linked to autism, lose cerebellar granule cells, probably as a result of faulty presynaptic functioning. Cell Reports
  • Copy number variants linked to neurodevelopmental conditions often share common molecular pathways, although how multiple gene variants in people interact remains largely unknown. Biological Psychiatry
  • Both autistic children and their caregivers report more adverse childhood experiences than non-autistic children and their caregivers, suggesting that trauma-informed services should take into account intergenerational effects. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • A developmental surveillance tool called the Social Attention and Communication Surveillance (SACS) more accurately identified infants and toddlers who were later diagnosed with autism than commonly used screening tools can. JAMA Network Open

Science and society

  • Scientists who generate freely available datasets often go uncredited, which can be problematic in a system that rewards those with more publications and citations. Nature
  • Ukrainian and Russian scientists share their perspectives on the impact of the war. Cell
  • The Matched Annotation effort, using data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, now has 97 percent of human protein-encoding genes described in transcript form. Nature
  • Videos from the Autism Science Foundation’s ninth annual Day of Learning are now available online. Autism Science Foundation
  • Spectrum has added new information to its Autism Drug Trial Tracker, which contains data for more than 200 clinical trials for autism and related conditions. Spectrum