Spotted around the web: Oxytocin mice, social memory mechanisms, Autism Drug Trial Tracker update

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 31 January.

Research roundup

  • Problematic eating behaviors in young adults with autism appear to derive from both autism traits and concerns about body weight and shape. Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Low birth weight is associated with attention difficulties but not autism, according to a study of more than 9,000 children. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
  • People with copy number variants (CNVs) associated with neurodevelopmental conditions also tend to have medical issues such as hypertension, kidney failure and obesity. Spectrum covered a December study that estimates how much such CNVs increase the chances of having any of a range of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions. JAMA Psychiatry
  • Autistic children can read the intention behind other autistic children’s movements just as well as non-autistic children can interpret their non-autistic peers’ movements. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Researchers have developed new mouse strains with genetically altered oxytocin receptors, tagged to aid visualization and manipulation. eNeuro
  • Treatment with recombinant human growth hormone increases insulin-like growth factor-1 levels and decreases autism traits in children with Phelan-McDermott syndrome, according to a small pilot study. Molecular Autism
  • Preeclampsia, combined with preterm birth or low birth weight, is associated with an increased chance of having a child with a neurodevelopmental condition, such as intellectual disability or attention deficient hyperactivity disorder, according to a study of more than 1 million births. JAMA Network Open
  • Social memory is impaired in mice when a phosphorylation site on their oxytocin receptors is blocked or absent. Science Signaling

Science and society

  • Psychology professor Erica Hsiung Wojcik of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, says researchers can boost equity in the field by diversifying their personal networks of collaborators and peers. Nature Reviews Psychology
  • Two autism advocates — Julia Bascom, who leads the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and is autistic, and David M. Perry, who parents a child with autism and intellectual disability — argue against the label “profound autism,” saying it only distracts from efforts to support all autistic people. Spectrum covered the introduction of the term by the Lancet Commission in December and hosted a webinar by the commission’s co-chairs last month. The Nation
  • Spectrum has updated its Autism Drug Trial Tracker, which was launched last month and provides interactive, curated information on more than 200 clinical trials for autism and related conditions. Spectrum
  • The National Council on Severe Autism has published a position statement denouncing the use of words and images that “trivialize or romanticize” autism. National Council on Severe Autism
  • The Autism Science Foundation has announced its annual Day of Learning, with TED-style talks, to be held on 30 March with both New York City-based and virtual components. Autism Science Foundation
  • Families with disabled children had two major challenges during the pandemic — the loss of in-person services and a higher-than-average risk of contracting COVID-19. The 19th
Mother peering over child's shoulder to review schoolwork on screen.
Remote learning: A parent oversees her child’s online schoolwork.

Boston Globe / Getty Images
  • The Council of Autism Service Providers has published a set of best practices for autism practitioners, covering business operations, clinical work and risk management. The Council of Autism Service Providers