A photograph of Paul-Antoine Libourel.

At the end of the earth with Paul-Antoine Libourel

The French researcher’s accomplishments working with chinstrap penguins in the Antarctic highlight the importance of recording sleep in the wild.

By Yves Sciama
11 June 2024 | 18 min read
A grid of four brain scans showing excess cerebrospinal fluid.
Spectrum Microphone

Is excess brain fluid an early marker of autism?

Brain scans of hundreds of infants suggest that up to 80 percent of those with autism have unusual amounts of cerebrospinal fluid. Researchers are studying how this might contribute to the condition.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
17 August 2023 | 10 min read
An illustration of Ashura Buckley
Synaptic Microphone

The sleep/wake cycle and autism with Ashura Buckley

The NIH neurologist talks about her research, her family and how mental health labels can be limiting.

By Brady Huggett
1 July 2023 | 71 min listen
A young woman sleeps at home wearing a Dreem headband and surrounded by stuffed animals.
Spectrum Microphone

Capturing autism’s sleep problems with devices nearable and wearable

Next-generation trackers could realize a long-standing research dream: conducting sleep studies in large numbers of autistic people.

By Angie Voyles Askham, Peter Hess
6 June 2023 | 9 min read

Adult Angelman mice get some benefit from boosting UBE3A gene expression

The treatment eases the animals’ sleep troubles, suggesting it has clinically meaningful effects beyond what was thought to be a critical window in early life.

By Angie Voyles Askham
9 February 2023 | 5 min read
Graham Diering smiles in a portrait in his yard.
Modeling Microphone

Asleep in the Mouse House with Graham Diering

Memories from Diering’s life trace the rising star’s scientific path from raising lizards as a child and later exploring home brewing to heading a lab that investigates memory, sleep disturbances and early development in animals with autism-linked mutations.

By Peter Hess
12 January 2023 | 17 min listen
A grid of clocks placed over a colorful gene sequence.

Autism-linked genes clock daily oscillations

Rhythmic variations in the genes’ brain expression levels may help explain the sleep problems that often accompany the condition.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
14 November 2022 | 4 min read
A young girl rubs her eyes in a dark room.
Spectrum Microphone

Autistic people at increased genetic risk of sleep problems

Compared with their unaffected siblings and unrelated controls, children with autism harbor more copy number variants in genes that govern the circadian cycle or are associated with insomnia.

By Holly Barker
18 October 2022 | 5 min read
Lab mice (Mus musculus), tribe Balbc, three 13 day old babies with eyes still closed, laying side by side

Sleepy mice with autism-linked mutation struggle to fall asleep

Mice with a mutated copy of SHANK3 fail to establish normal sleep patterns during development.

By Peter Hess
12 September 2022 | 3 min read
Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results.

Null and Noteworthy: Mind reading, specialist shortage, sleep problems source

This month, a commonly used emotion-recognition test doesn’t perform as expected — nor does a survey of past efforts to train autism specialists or a hunt for the sources of the sleep problems that often accompany the condition.

By Emily Harris
23 August 2022 | 4 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Brain organoids overgrowth; DSCAM gene; sleep issues in autism

Here is a roundup of autism-related news and research spotted around the web for the week of 24 June.

By Jill Adams
25 June 2024 | 2 min read
Close-up image of a dead fly with visible growths protruding from its abdomen due to Entomophthora fungus infection.

Mind control in zombie flies: Q&A with Carolyn Elya

A parasitic fungus compels its insect host to behave in strange ways by hijacking secretory neurons and circadian pathways.

By Shaena Montanari
25 June 2024 | 5 min read
Illustration of a canyon landscape with an orange clock face in place of a sun.

How to teach this paper: ‘Behavioral time scale synaptic plasticity underlies CA1 place fields,’ by Bittner and Milstein et al. (2017)

Katie Bittner, Aaron Milstein and their colleagues found that cellular learning can happen over longer timescales than Hebb’s rule predicts. How long should we wait to teach students about this phenomenon?

By Ashley Juavinett
24 June 2024 | 11 min read