Spotted around the web: Double empathy, cortical-cerebellar links, public peer review

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 24 October.

Research roundup  

  • Autistic people report heightened sensory and physical experiences during pregnancy; they are also more likely than non-autistic people to have prenatal anxiety and depression. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 
  • Damian Milton, who originated the idea of the double empathy problem 10 years ago, writes with his colleagues about work in the area and future directions. Autism 
  • The sodium channel Nav1.8 appears to be an effective therapeutic target for Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, which is caused by mutations of the TCF4 gene. Molecular Psychiatry 
  • Autistic people have a distinctive pattern of neural activity between the cortex and the cerebellum during social interactions, according to a new preprint that has not been peer-reviewed. medRxiv 
  • Newborn babies show a diversity of white-matter maturation patterns, according to a large imaging study. Neuron 
  • A common mutation in the autism-linked gene NLGN3 — the R451C substitution — increases the strength of excitatory synapses while leaving inhibitory synapses unaffected. Molecular Psychiatry 
  • Autistic adolescents and young adults are more likely than their non-autistic peers to be hospitalized with a psychiatric diagnosis, and autistic women are more frequently hospitalized with anxiety, depressive or sleep disorders than autistic men are. JAMA Psychiatry 
  • People living in England who speak a language other than English or who are economically disadvantaged face barriers to accessing autism diagnoses, services and supports. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health

    A map depicting access to autism services across England.
    Uneven landscape: Access to autism services varies across England.
  • Researchers should monitor short-term and long-term adverse effects of behavioral interventions for autism, two autism experts argue in a commentary. Autism 
  • Global DNA methylation patterns differ between autistic and non-autistic people, as well as between autistic people with and without fragile X syndrome. Genes 

Science and society 

  • The editors of the scientific journal eLife consider the plusses and minuses of their 18-month practice of public reviews of preprints. eLife 
  • A group of bioethicists shares how collaborating with neuroscientists can help address ethical concerns that arise with brain organoid research. Nature Neuroscience 
  • Lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania, such as worker shortages, mean that autism programs and services for adults are severely limited. The Philadelphia Inquirer 
  • TikTok has become a platform for young autistic voices, but it carries content that contributes to stereotypes. The Conversation 
  • Peer review is inadequate for identifying fraud in scientific papers. Undark