Facial expressions between autistic and typical people may be mismatched

I can relate to this experience myself – Greg

Conversations between an autistic and a typical person involve less smiling and more mismatched facial expressions than do interactions between two typical people, a new study suggests1.

People engaged in conversation tend to unconsciously mimic each other’s behavior, which may help create and reinforce social bonds. But this synchrony can break down between autistic people and their neurotypical peers, research shows. And throughout an autistic person’s life, these disconnects can lead to fewer opportunities to meet people and maintain relationships.
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Losing sleep: How researchers miss a key contributor to autism

BY LUCIA PEIXOTO, ANNETTE ESTES 16 JULY 2020

I can relate to having sleep issues – Greg

Most people with autism — up to 86 percent — have trouble sleeping . Their sleep problems often include the hallmarks of insomnia: difficulty falling asleep, waking up multiple times during the night and getting less sleep than average. Animal models of autism display these same signs, suggesting that sleep problems may arise from fundamental mechanisms conserved across species. But scientists do not yet know what these mechanisms are, much less why insomnia is so prevalent in autistic people.

Autism researchers and clinicians commonly refer to insomnia as a comorbidity, meaning that it only accompanies autism. However, we suggest that doctors and scientists may need to consider it as an integral part of the condition and begin to study sleep in more rigorous ways — for instance, using technology in place of surveys and questionnaires.

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Study links gene to inherited form of autism

Inherited mutations in a gene called ACTL6B lead to autism, epilepsy and intellectual disability, according to a new study1.

The mutations are recessive, which means that they lead to autism only if a person inherits them in both copies of the gene — one from each parent, who are silent carriers. Most other mutations implicated in autism are spontaneous, or ‘de novo,’ mutations, which are not inherited.

The study suggests that recessive mutations in ACTL6B could be a relatively common cause of autism, says co-lead researcher Joseph Gleeson, professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. read more