ASD and Sleep Disorders

Yanwei Chen, Chunni Guo, Bryan K. Wang, Junli Zhu, BS, Xuejun Kong, MD


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social communication deficits and repetitive behaviors/limited interests. There have been accumulated reports of significant sleep problems in ASD. The most common sleep problems include difficulties in sleep initiation and maintenance, irregular sleep- awakening rhythm, and disordered sleep pattern. Some investigators have suggested that sleep problems in children with ASD may be due to abnormal circadian rhythm. Neuroendocrine markers provided another perspective to study biological clock, these biomarkers are nearly not affected by social domains, such as cortisol and melatonin levels in ASD. Many sleep related genes are associated with ASD, especially single nucleotide polymorphisms in core circadian clock genes have been convinced the linkage. The abnormal expression of key genes causes alteration of protein synthesis in some critical pathways associated with ASD. Effective sleep therapy is critical to the improvement of the core symptoms of ASD.

[N A J Med Sci. 2017;10(4):164-170.   DOI:  10.7156/najms.2017.1004164]


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