Sleep in autism spectrum disorders: A window to etiology, diagnosis and treatment

  • Autism Research
Speaker Ruth O’Hara, Ph.D.
Stanford University
Date & Time


Location

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010 United States

Autism Research

Autism Research lectures bring together scientists and scholars to discuss diverse and important topics related to autism.

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On 7 September 2016, Ruth O’Hara discussed the field’s current understanding of sleep in autism spectrum disorder.

Her talk was part of the Simons Foundation Autism Research lecture series.
 

About the Lecture

Understanding sleep physiology in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) not only provides a window to the underlying etiology, it can also help characterize sub-phenotypes and offer a potent treatment approach for improving neuropsychiatric and neurocognitive function in ASD through improved sleep.

Ruth O’Hara discussed the field’s current understanding of sleep in ASD, including: a) describing how sleep physiology in ASD differs from sleep physiology in typically developing children; b) discussing the different potential ASD phenotypes suggested by her work; and c) describing the different sleep architecture, sleep disturbances, and sleep disorders that are more prevalent in ASD than in typically developing children and which can serve as treatment targets that may in turn improve the core symptoms of ASD.

About the Speaker

Ruth O’Hara is associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University. Her research integrates measures of sleep physiology, the brain and behavior across the lifespan. Over the years she has obtained substantial National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to support her work. O’Hara received a SFARI grant to examine sleep physiology and neurodevelopmental processes in autism spectrum disorder. She was a member of the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) sleep-wake disorders work group.

Past Lectures

Transgenerational inheritance of pathogen avoidance or: How getting food poisoning might save your species

Coleen T. Murphy, Ph.D.James A. Elkins, Jr. Professor in the Life Sciences, Princeton University

In this lecture, Coleen Murphy will present how she and her colleagues found that a single exposure to purified small RNAs isolated from pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA14) is sufficient to induce pathogen avoidance in the treated worms and four subsequent generations of progeny. The RNA interference (RNAi) and PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathways, the germline and the ASI neuron are all required for avoidance behavior induced by bacterial small RNAs and for the transgenerational inheritance of this behavior. A single P. aeruginosa non-coding RNA, P11, is necessary and sufficient to convey learned avoidance of PA14, and its C. elegans target, maco-1, is required for avoidance. Their results suggest that this non-coding-RNA-dependent mechanism evolved to survey the microbial environment of the worm, use this information to make appropriate behavioral decisions and pass this information on to its progeny.

What do we mean by ‘autism risk genes’?

David Ledbetter, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer, Dascena

Joseph Buxbaum, Ph.D.
Director, Seaver Autism Center
Professor, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomic Sciences
Vice Chair for Research and Vice Chair for Mentoring, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Heather Mefford, M.D., Ph.D.
Full Member, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

David Ledbetter and Joseph Buxbaum discussed whether there are genes for which mutations confer risk specific to autism or whether these genes are really conferring general risk of disrupted brain development. The discussion was moderated by Heather Mefford.

Small molecules, genes and antisense oligonucleotides: Industry perspectives on treatment development for ASD

Federico Bolognani, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Head of Clinical Science, Axial Therapeutics

Stuart Cobb, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Neurogene; Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Yael Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Business Development, Ultragenyx

Randy Carpenter, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Rett Syndrome Research Trust; Co-Founder, Allos Pharma

Federico Bolognani, Stuart Cobb, and Yael Weiss joined a panel to discuss new industry developments on the use of small molecules, gene therapy and antisense oligonucleotides as treatment approaches for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The panel discussion was moderated by Randall Carpenter.

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