News

Nighttime light affects sleep, repetitive behaviors in autism mouse model

Recent research findings suggest alterations in the autism gene CNTNAP2 might relate to a vulnerability to sleep disturbances. Philippe Mourrain, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment on the studies mentioned.

Losing Sleep, a documentary

Insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy are massively increasing in the world. In a scientific investigation, we will discover the new methods developed to find sleep: fractional sleep, light therapy, helmets that stimulate the brain. Consequences are huge: sick leave from work, billions of dollars lost for companies, and worse: obesity, diabetes, early Alzheimer. The science of sleep has become a major priority for researchers, so much so that the Nobel Prize in medicine has just been awarded for the discovery of the internal biological clock. Philippe Mourrain, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is interviewed.

Remembering Bill Dement, father of sleep medicine

Autism linked to sleep problems and brain changes in infancy

Children with autism are more likely than typical children to have had problems falling asleep as infants. Philippe Mourrain, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment.

How studying sleep in animals could unearth autism’s roots

Sleep is critical for children’s development and for proper maintenance of their brains. A majority of autistic children suffer from sleep disturbances, which may disrupt these crucial processes. Philippe Mourrain, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, writes this viewpoint piece.

Neural sleep patterns emerged at least 450 million years ago

Researchers have found that brain patterns in sleeping zebrafish are similar to those of land vertebrates, suggesting that such sleep signatures developed before aquatic and land animals diverged. Senior author Philippe Mourrain, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and lead author and postdoctoral scholar Louis Leung, are quoted in this piece.

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Short sleep is unhappy bedfellow for autism features

The fewer hours of sleep children with autism get, the more severe their features, according to a study of more than 2,700 children with the condition. Insufficient sleep appears to take the biggest toll on a child’s ability to make friends: Every four-minute decrease in sleep duration is associated with a one-point increase in a score that reflects a child’s difficulty in forming peer relationships. Philippe Mourrain, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment. 

Why it’s difficult to study sleep in autism

Sleep problems are unusually common in people on the spectrum, and yet the topic is poorly understood. In this Cross Talk, five scientists discuss the biggest hurdles they face in understanding the relationship between autism and sleep. Philippe Mourrain, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment.