Null and Noteworthy: Autism and aging, anorexia overlaps, pregnancy effects

by Lauren Dattaro


Fortunately, many replications and null findings are making their way into journals — so many, in fact, that this newsletter will now be published monthly, rather than every other month. So keep an eye out for the next edition in March. In the meantime, thanks, as always, for your feedback, and please continue to send your thoughts, ideas, interesting studies and cat photos to

Aging up:
Though much autism research focuses on early development, scientists are increasingly working to understand how the brain may age differently in autistic and non-autistic people. A new study set out to replicate a pair of findings from 2015 and 2016. Both found that autistic adults lost many cognitive faculties at the same rate as non-autistic adults but retained more of their working and visual memory and ability to intuit others’ feelings, suggesting that autism has a ‘protective effect’ on aging.

Not so, according to the new study, which looked at 88 autistic and 88 non-autistic people between 30 and 89 years of age and was led by one of the co-investigators of the 2015 work. The team replicated nearly all of the previous findings — suggesting that autistic adults are not at any increased risk for cognitive difficulties as they age — but saw no evidence of the previously observed protective effect.

The work was published in Autism Research in December.

What I Learned from Interviewing 24 Men with Inattentive ADHD

I am putting part of this article on my web site because besides being on the spectrum over the years since entering the work world the professionals felt I had ADHD inattentive issues.    I tried to over compensate by being very organized and used a systems approach in my work and personal life. I found the mediation I needed, the long lasting one to help me through out the day, was not covered by insurance at all. All treatment was out of my pocket. The short acting med that I would have to take every 4 hours caused me to crash mentally and I would want to sleep. So I did without.  Like I say about out insurance system, if it is cheap and stupid they will cover it. I had force myself to be more focused.  I did struggle with many of the issues mentioned in this article.  – Greg

By Cynthia Hammer, MSW

Males & Inattentive ADHD

Inattentive ADHD in boys and men is rarely mentioned, but it does exist. When it goes undiagnosed and untreated, it causes great emotional, social, and often physical harm. The earlier a child’s inattentive ADHD is recognized, the less difficult the child’s life will be. Only six of the 24 men were diagnosed before age 18, (three at age 7, one at age 10, and two at age 16).   

The age of diagnosis for the remaining eighteen is three men between 18-30, seven men between 30-40, four men between 41-50, three men between 51-60, and one man diagnosed when over 65.

There is a backlog of men and women with undiagnosed inattentive ADHD because it was not recognized during their childhood.  I also hope reading about the experiences of men with inattentive ADHD will help adults to identify this disorder in themselves.  Here are the nine symptoms of Inattentive ADHD as listed in the DSM-V, the manual of psychiatric diagnoses. An adult to be diagnosed with IA would need to have at least 4 symptoms to a degree and frequency that they significantly impact the adult’s life.

1. Makes careless mistakes/lacks attention to detail

2. Difficulty sustaining attention

3. Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

4. Fails to follow through on tasks and instructions

5. Exhibits poor organization

6. Avoids/dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort

7. Loses things necessary for tasks/activities

8. Easily distracted (including unrelated thoughts)

9. Is forgetful in daily activities

Most of the men I interviewed were physicians, psychologists, and coaches who currently work with ADHD clients. A few worked in IT and the rest have an assortment of jobs.  The sample is skewed toward professionals because I solicited most of my interviewees through LinkedIn. The sample is also skewed to those fairly satisfied with their lives, as I believe, otherwise, they would be reluctant to be interviewed. Many interviewees reported continuing problems with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.  I only interviewed three men who were down on themselves and hated, with a passion, having ADHD