Spotted around the web: Autism services for Indigenous people; seizure meds; brain waves

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 10 October.

Research roundup  

  • A policy review of Canada’s autism services calls for input from Indigenous people to help improve the current patchwork system of care. Frontiers in Psychiatry 
  • Variants of the autism-linked gene GIGYF1 appear to slow insulin receptor turnover and cause autism-like behaviors in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation 
  • Genetic analysis of extended families in Kazakhstan that include people with autism and the broad autism phenotype has revealed well-described alterations of neuronal function as well as less common biological pathways. Disease Markers 
  • Mutations of the autism-linked gene MYCBP2 affect the structure and function of the corpus callosum, which may result in neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism and intellectual disability. Brain 
  • Seizure medications have side effects such as insomnia, irritability and memory problems, which may exacerbate challenging traits in people with neurodevelopmental conditions such as Dravet syndrome or tuberous sclerosis. CNS Drugs 
  • Autistic children in China tend to be born to older-than-average parents who are highly educated and have family members with psychiatric conditions, according to 2020 national data. Psychiatry Research 
  • Electroretinograms are similar in autistic and non-autistic people, suggesting that visual hypersensitivity in autism is not mediated by the retina. Autism Research

    A diagram describes different side effects of anti-seizure medications
    Side effects: Seizure medications can worsen challenging traits in developmental conditions that coincide with epilepsy.
  • Autistic children’s brain waves show higher phase-amplitude coupling, a measure thought to represent integration across groups of neurons, compared with non-autistic children. medRxiv 
  • A new machine-learning model uses medical insurance claims data to predict a child’s likelihood of having autism and performs similarly to existing screening tools. Spectrum covered a similar approach last year. BMJ Health & Care Informatics 

Science and society 

  • Rick Woychik, director of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, has interviewed autism researcher Kristen Lyall about prenatal factors, such as maternal nutrition, that are linked to autism. Environmental Factor 
  • A recent incident of abuse against a child with Prader-Willi syndrome at an Illinois-based residential center did not result in charges, in part because staff members covered for each other, according to this investigative story. ProPublica 
  • The CHIPS and Science Act, which U.S. President Biden signed into law, includes $32.5 million for research on sexual and gender-based harassment in academia. Undark 
  • Stalicla has licensed a patented composition of sulforaphane and alpha cyclodextrin from Evgen Pharma and plans to study the compound first in a subgroup of autistic people. Spectrum profiled Stalicla, which is pursuing a precision-medicine approach to neurodevelopmental conditions, earlier this year. PR Newswire