Health & Science
NDL Insight: Autism is a complex disorder that affects many people in various ways. There are so many different opinions and theories about what causes autism, how to treat it, or whether there even is one single cause for the diagnosis. One thing we can all agree on though- research needs to be done with more rigor than was demonstrated by this study published 18 July 2018 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. The researchers on the study — which attempts to forecast autism prevalence and related costs in the United States in 2060—all have connections to organizations that wrongly tie autism to vaccines, critics note, a conflict of interest that none of the researchers adequately disclosed.
NDL Insight: I've always been fascinated by the nonsocial features of autism. It's easy to forget that there are other challenges and abilities, such as intense insistence on sameness, atypical responses to sensory stimuli, and a remarkable ability to detect small details. But it doesn't take long for these traits can become overwhelming or cause extreme distress in our day-to-day lives. If you're curious about how autistic people think differently from neurotypicals - read this article!
NDL Insight: Autistic people are often misunderstood and their social difficulties, like difficulty communicating or reading facial expressions, can cause problems for both parties. But a new idea called the ‘double empathy problem’ proposes that these communication breakdowns between autistic and non-autistic people may not be as one-sided as we think. This double empathy issue challenges long-held theories of autism which focus on either just understanding what is happening in an autistic person's head or how to help them understand us better through increased sensitivity training. Instead, it suggests that both sides need assistance; meaning this should not only be about helping the autistic individual but also teaching neurotypical individuals more about autism so they can better communicate with and understand those who have it.
NDL Insight: Recent research has found that autism and insomnia may be correlated, with genetic factors overlapping between the two conditions. This information is important for those who care for children on the autism spectrum, as well as their parents or guardians. When a child’s sleep patterns are disrupted by an undiagnosed sleep disorder, it can have serious consequences on cognitive development and mental health in general. To learn more about this study, read here.
Mounting evidence suggests that autism often involves upsets in homeostatic plasticity, a set of processes neurons use to stabilize their activity. These disruptions result from a range of autism-linked mutations and may help to explain the condition’s famed heterogeneity.