Autism Genetics: Research List for AFF4 Gene Associated with Autism

AFF4 Gene Research List

2011 Research

Functional Characterization of the AFF (AF4/FMR2) Family of RNA-Binding Proteins: Insights into the Molecular Pathology of FRAXE Intellectual Disability

  • Describes the role of AFF genes and proteins
  • Discusses relationship of characteristics of AFF (including AFF4)  proteins to FRAXE (often associated with high-functioning autism)
  • Discusses how the relationship between the AFF genes might provide an explanation for the mild symptoms often associated with FRAXE

Additional Resources:

Research List for Autism Genetics and the AFF4 Gene

List of Research for Insomnia & Sleep Problems Associated with Autism

Sleep Problems/Insomnia and Autism Research List

2014 Research

CYP1A2 Polymorphisms in Slow Melatonin Metabolisers: A Possible Relationship with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

  • A pilot study
  • Included 15 patients with autism spectrum disorders
  • Patients had experienced insomnia/sleep problems associated with a disappearing response to melatonin
  • Studied the disappearing response to melatonin in context of the slow metabolization of melatonin

Melatonin in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Endogenous and Pharmacokinetic Profiles in Relation to Sleep

  • Included 9 children with autism spectrum disorders
  • Investigated endogenous and supplemental levels of melatonin
  • Compared melatonin levels to sleep patterns

2013 Research

Autism Before Diagnosis: Crying, Feeding and Sleeping Problems in the First Two Years of Life

  • A retrospective study
  • Included 208 children with autism and a control group (age- and gender-matched)
  • Compared number of consultations for excessive crying, feeding problems, and sleeping problems

An Investigation of Sleep Patterns in Adolescents with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder Compared with Typically Developing Adolescents

  • Included a group of adolescents with high-functioning autism and a group of typically developing adolescents
  • Compared sleep patterns and sleep disturbances between the 2 groups
  • Focused on sleep efficiency, fatigue levels, and other sleep problems

Relationship Between Poor Sleep and Daytime Cognitive Performance in Young Adults with Autism

  • Included 31 young adults (17 with autism and 14 without autism)
  • Examined the impact of poor sleep on sustained and selective attention
  • Also examined the impact of poor sleep on cognitive procedural memory, declarative memory, sensory-motor memory, and working memory)

2012 Research

Sleep Spindles, Mobile Phones, Lucid Dreaming and Sleep in Parkinson’s Disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • No abstract available

The Relationship Between Sleep Problems and Daytime Behavior in Children of Different Ages with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Study included 1193 children with autism spectrum disorder from 14 different locations
  • Children in study ranged from 4 to 10  years old
  • Focused on the relationship between sleep problems and daytime behaviors
  • Utilized Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Survey Interview Form, and Child Behavior Checklist to assess sleep problems and daytime behaviors in children with ASD

A Practice Pathway for the Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Insomnia in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • An article describing a suggested protocol for identifying and managing insomnia in children with autism
  • Protocol developed by the Sleep Committee of the Autism Treatment Network

Sleep in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • A review paper
  • Discusses impact of sleep problems in children with ASD
  • Describes several possible causes of sleep problems in children with autism
  • Provides a treatment strategy algorithm for sleep problems in children with autism

Sleep and Daytime Functioning: A Short-Term Longitudinal Study of Three Preschool-Age Comparison Groups

  • Included 194 children in 3 groups (57 children with intellectual disabilities, 68 children with autism, and 69 typically developing children)
  • Study period lasted 6 months
  • Researched and compared sleep, sleepiness, and daytime performance between the children in each group

Comparison of Sleep Questionnaires in the Assessment of Sleep Disturbances in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • A questionnaire-based study
  • Included responses of the parents and/or caregivers of 124 children with autism spectrum disorders
  • Researchers compared two methods (Modified Simonds & Parraga Sleep Questionnaire and the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire) used to measure sleep problems in children with autism

Sleep Disruption as a Correlate to Cognitive and Adaptive Behavior Problems in Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Included 335 children with autism or PDD-NOS between the age of 1 and 10 years
  • Researched the relationship between scores on the Behavioral Evaluation of Disorders of Sleep and adaptive behavior and intelligence
  • Also focused on correlations between sleep and verbal skills, daily living skills, socialization skills, and motor development

Sleep Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Problems: a Longitudinal Population-Based Study

  • A longitudinal total population study
  • Study included 28 children with autism spectrum disorders that met study criteria (out of 3700 children screened)
  • Focused on insomnia and other sleep related problems at ages 7 to 9 and 11 to 13
  • Compared prevalence and duration of sleep problems of the 28 children to controls

2011 Research

Sleep Correlates of Pervasive Developmental Disorders: a Review of the Literature

  • A review article
  • Utilized 17 sleep studies that met inclusion criteria (out of 38 original sleep studies)
  • Focused on predisposing factors for developing insomnia in children with pervasive developmental delays

Sleep in Children with Autism With and Without Autistic Regression

  • Included 52 children ages 5 to 10 (22 with non-regressive autism, 18 with regressive autism, and 12 neurotypical children)
  • Hypothesized that children with regressive autism would have more sleep problems than neurotypical children or children with non-regressive autism
  • Focused on differences in sleep architecture and non-rapid eye movement sleep between the 3 groups

The Neurology of Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • A review article
  • Focuses on 3 neurological issues often associated with autism: motor impairment, sleep disorders (including insomnia), and epilepsy
  • Discusses research involving the biochemical and behavioral basis for sleep problems associated with autism

2010 Research

Sleep in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

  • A review article
  • Discusses possible sources of sleep problems/insomnia associated with autism
  • Overview of options to treat sleep disorders associated with ASD, including behavioral and pharmacological approaches

Epidemiology and Management of Insomnia in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

  • A review article
  • Discusses statistics regarding sleep problems and autism
  • Discusses research involving different types and possible sources of sleep disorders associated with autism
  • Overview of interventions studied to treat sleep disorders

2009 Research

Sleep Behaviors and Sleep Quality in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • A descriptive cross-sectional study
  • Included 99 children (26 with an autism spectrum disorder, 21 with PDD-NOS, 12 with Asperger disorder, and 40 individuals in the control group)
  • Compared differences in sleep behaviors, sleep quality, and prevalence of sleep disorders among the different groups

Sleep Patterns in Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • A review article
  • Discusses the various sleep disorders often associated with autism
  • Discusses the benefits of addressing the sleep problems associated with autism spectrum disorders

Sleep Problems in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Prevalence, Nature, & Possible Biopsychosocial Aetiologies

  • A review article
  • Discusses the higher prevalence of sleep issues, the types of sleep disorders, and the possible sources of sleep problems in individuals with autism spectrum disorders

A Sleep Habits Questionnaire for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Discusses the sleep difficulties often experienced by children with autism
  • Describes research establishing the Family Inventory of Sleep Habits as a valid and reliable questionnaire to measure sleep hygiene in individuals with autism

2008 Research

Sleep in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • A review article
  • Focuses on creating a treatment plan to address sleep problems associated with autism
  • Also discusses benefits of improving sleep habits in individuals with autism

Assessment and Behavioral Treatment of Feeding and Sleeping Disorders in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • A review article
  • Discusses feeding and sleeping problems associated with autism spectrum disorders
  • Describes assessment and treatment of sleeping and feeding problems associated with autism

Sleep Patterns in Preschool-Age Children with Autism, Developmental Delay, and Typical Development

  • A multi-method design
  • Included 194 individuals (68 with autism, 57 with developmental delays, and 69 normal developers)
  • Compared the quantity and quality of sleep among the children with autism, the children with developmental delays, and the typically developing children

The Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire in Toddlers and Preschool Children

  • Describes the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ)
  • Studied whether or not the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire is useful for screening for sleep problems in children with neurodevelopmental diagnoses such as autism or developmental delays

The Use of Actigraphy to Study Sleep Disorders in Preschoolers: Some Concerns about Detection of Nighttime Awakenings

  • Included 58 children of preschool age (22 with autism, 11 with developmental delays, and 25 typically developing children)
  • Compared the accuracy of actigraphy to videosomnography in detecting nighttime awakenings

2006 Research

Characterizing Sleep in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: a Multidimensional Approach

  • A cross-sectional study
  • Included 21 children with autism and 10 typically developing children
  • Compared parental reports of sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorders to polysomnographic findings, autism symptoms, and daytime behaviors

Sleep Disturbances and Correlates of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • A questionnaire-based study
  • Included parent answers from questionnaire regarding sleep problems/patterns in 167 children (108 with autism, 27 with Asperger’s syndrome, and 32 with other diagnoses of autism)
  • Focused on sleep problems, sleep patterns, and issues associated with sleep problems/patterns

Insomnia in School-Age Children with Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism

  • A questionnaire-based study
  • Included parent answers regarding sleep/wake behavior of 64 children (32 with Asperger’s syndrome and/or high-functioning autism and 32 control individuals)
  • Focused on sleep/wake behaviors (especially insomnia) of children with Asperger’s syndrome and/or high-functioning autism

2005 Research

Atypical Sleep Architecture and the Autism Phenotype

  • A subjective and objective methodology study
  • Subjective part of study included 105 individuals (27 with autism and 78 healthy controls) and the objective portion of the study consisted of 32 individuals (16 with autism and 16 controls)
  • Focused on whether or not an atypical sleep architecture is truly associated with autism

2004 Research

Sleep in Young Adults with Asperger Syndrome

  • An objective methodology study
  • Included 20 young adults with Asperger’s syndrome and 10 healthy controls
  • Compared polysomnographic sleep profile and spectral power analysis of individuals with Asperger’s syndrome to healthy controls

2003 Research

Insomnia is a Frequent Finding in Adults with Asperger Syndrome

  • Included 20 individuals with Asperger’s syndrome and 10 healthy controls
  • Compared levels of insomnia and difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep in the Asperger’s syndrome group and the control group

1995 Research

The Sleep/Wake Rhythm in Children with Autism

  • A parental questionnaire and sleep diary study
  • Included a group of children with autism with moderate to severe mental handicaps, a group of children with autism with mild handicap to normal IQ, and a group of healthy controls
  • Focused on sleep patterns and sleep problems of children in the 2 groups with autism compared to the control group

Additional Resources:

List of Research for Insomnia and Sleep Problems Associated with Autism

Autism Research: Relevance of Donepezil in Enhancing Learning and Memory in Special Populations: a Review of the Literature

Research for Aricept (Donepezil) as a Treatment for Autism:

Researchers Hypothesize that Aricept (Donepezil) May Be Effective for Treatment of Attention, Memory, and Cognitive Deficits Associated with Autism
Researchers Find that a Review of the Literature Indicates that Aricept (Donepezil) May Be Beneficial in Treating Attention and Memory Issues Associated with Autism

Aricept (donepezil) has long been used to enhance memory in individuals with Alzheimer disease.  The success seen in Alzheimer cases has caused some to speculate if similar benefits might be observed in other health conditions such as autism that also impact memory, attention, and cognition.  Researchers conducted a review of available literature discussing the use of Aricept (donepezil) in other conditions.  The review was published in an article titled Relevance of Donepezil in Enhancing Learning and Memory in Special Populations: a Review of the Literature.

The authors searched for literature involving donepezil and the following health conditions:

  • Alzheimer disease
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism
  • Down syndrome
  • Schizophrenia
  • Traumatic brain injury

The researchers discovered that the available literature involving animal studies provides evidence that treatment with Aricept (donepezil) may be effective in treating cognition, attention, and memory issues in the conditions listed above.  However, they found few human studies examining the use of donepezil for these health conditions (with the exception of Alzheimer disease).

The authors state that the evidence and research currently available suggest that donepezil may be effective for treating memory and attention in autism.   They are quick to point out that the cholinergic system (the system that Aricept affects) in unlikely the only system responsible for the attention and memory differences associated with autism.

The authors conclude that more studies involving Aricept (donepezil) are warranted.  They suggest that future studies should focus on “changes in operationally defined behaviors” and effective methods to measure those changes.

Source:

Yoo, J Helen, Maria G Valdovinos, and Dean C Williams. “Relevance of donepezil in enhancing learning and memory in special populations: a review of the literature.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 37.10 (2007) : 1883-1901.

Additional Information: