Spotted around the web: Cerebellar CHD8, microglia metamorphosis, family tree findings

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 7 March.

Research roundup

  • Deletion of the autism-linked gene CHD8 in progenitor cells destined to be excitatory neurons in the cerebellum causes motor problems and behavioral changes in mice. Journal of Genetics and Genomics
  • Childhood infections may contribute to diagnoses of autism or intellectual disability, according to a study of a Swedish register-based cohort of about half a million people. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • A culturally sensitive education and support program for Black parents of autistic children seems to engender high engagement and satisfaction. Autism
  • Intranasal oxytocin appears to enhance basolateral amygdala activity in autistic women — but not in non-autistic women — while they view faces showing emotion. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
  • The antidepressant drug mirtazapine reduced anxiety in a subset of autistic children in a small study. Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Region-specific brain organoids can be helpful for studying a range of neurodevelopmental conditions, according to a review of studies. International Journal of Stem Cells
  • Researchers describe 17 people with a neurodevelopmental condition linked to variants in the SOX4 gene. Journal of Medical Genetics
  • Human microglia express neuronal genes early in development and immune-related genes at later stages. Cell Stem Cell

Science and society

  • Families in the United States may spend thousands of dollars on additional evaluations after their children are assessed for learning disabilities in school. Yahoo Money
  • After a writer learned her daughter has autism, she mined her family tree for other relatives with neurodevelopmental conditions and disabilities. The New York Times
  • Researchers across the globe can help their embattled Ukrainian colleagues by speaking out, offering safe havens and reinforcing international coalitions, write the president and the international secretary of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Science
  • Special-education teachers have long been in short supply at U.S. public schools, and the problem has only worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. The Conversation
  • A court in Munich, Germany, has found the online community ResearchGate responsible for copyright infringement committed by its members, who posted paywalled journal articles. Nature