Research by Topic: Repetitive Behavior

Yeah, another study about autistic poop

Published July 2, 2019 in ASF Podcast

This week’s podcast includes a summary of the new study, this time in an animal model, looking at microbiome transplantation.  Because this was more of an experimental model, the researchers could be more rigorous in their design and look at things like behavior, brain activity, and specific biological pathways.  While a mouse does not have […]

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Do the rules apply in school?

Published July 2, 2019 in ASF Podcast

This week is focused on what happens in schools, including classification, service receipt and new interventions.  How an educational classification translates to a clinical diagnosis, how and what factors are important in receiving services, what teachers think about repetitive behaviors and finally, a new intervention that can be delivered by therapists in school or mental […]

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A longitudinal study of parent-reported sensory responsiveness in toddlers at-risk for autism

Published June 26, 2019 in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

BACKGROUND: Atypical sensory responsivity and sensory interests are now included in the DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) under the broad domain of restricted and repetitive behavior (RRB). However, relatively little is known about the emergence of sensory-related features and their relation to conventionally defined RRB in the first years of life. […]

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New Behavioral Test Uncovers Autism Mouse’s Stubbornness

Published October 2, 2013 in Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute

Researchers have developed a new test that reveals complex repetitive behaviors in BTBR mice, a mouse strain with features resembling those of autism, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods. Repetitive behavior is common in autism, and usually comes in two forms: repetitive actions, such as hand flapping or rocking, and higher-order symptoms, such as an insistence on sameness, or restricted interests. This second form is difficult to produce in mice, but these researchers believe they have been able to do it.

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Two Studies Isolate Specific Brain Circuits That Underlie Compulsive Behaviors Seen in Individuals with OCD and Autism

Published June 7, 2013 in Science

Two studies successfully attempted to shut down and trigger compulsive behaviors in mice by using light to target certain brain circuits. These studies helped isolate the obsessive brain circuits believed to underlie compulsive behaviors in individuals with OCD and autism. 1)

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Elevated Repetitive Behaviors are Associated with Lower Diurnal Salivary Cortisol Levels in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published March 1, 2013 in Biological Psychiatry

This pilot study examined the relationship between repetitive behaviors (RBs) and cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress, in individuals with ASD. Multiple salivary cortisol samples were taken over three days for 21 children with ASD with high and low levels of RBs. Children in both groups showed the same pattern of cortisol change throughout the day, but the overall cortisol levels in the high RB group were significantly lower, suggesting RBs may work to soothe and decrease stress.

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Frequency and Pattern of Documented Diagnostic Features and the Age of Autism Identification

Published February 6, 2013 in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Pediatric Psychiatry

The age at which a child with autism is diagnosed is related to the particular suite of behavioral symptoms he or she exhibits, according to this study led by an ASF Grantee. Certain diagnostic features, including poor nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors, were associated with earlier identification of an autism spectrum disorder. Displaying more behavioral features was also associated with earlier diagnosis.For more information about this study, read the guest blog from the lead author here:

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Antioxidants For Autism

Published June 1, 2012 in Biological Psychiatry

A specific antioxidant supplement containing N-Acetylcysteine, or NAC may be an effective therapy for some features of autism, according to a pilot trial from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital that involved 31 children with the disorder.

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Six Developmental Trajectories Characterize Children With Autism

Published May 1, 2012 in Pediatrics

“OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to describe the typical longitudinal developmental trajectories of social and communication functioning in children with autism and to determine the correlates of these trajectories.RESULTS: Six typical patterns of social, communication, and repetitive behavior functioning were identified. These trajectories displayed significant heterogeneity in developmental pathways, and children whose symptoms were least severe at first diagnosis tended to improve more rapidly than those severely affected. “

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Agent Reduces Autism-like Behaviors in Mice

Published April 26, 2012 in NIMH

National Institutes of Health researchers have reversed behaviors in mice resembling two of the three core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). An experimental compound, called GRN-529, increased social interactions and lessened repetitive self-grooming behavior in a strain of mice that normally display such autism-like behaviors, the researchers say.

Agent Reduces Autism-like Behaviors in Mice

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Evidence behind autism drugs may be biased: study

Published April 24, 2012 in Reuters

Doctors’ belief that certain antidepressants can help to treat repetitive behaviors in kids with autism may be based on incomplete information, according to a new review of published and unpublished research.

Evidence behind autism drugs may be biased: study

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Training Parents Is Good Medicine for Children With Autism Behavior Problems, Study Suggests

Published February 24, 2012 in Science Daily

Children with autism spectrum disorders who also have serious behavioral problems responded better to medication combined with training for their parents than to treatment with medication alone, Yale researchers and their colleagues report in the February issue of Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Training Parents Is Good Medicine for Children With Autism Behavior Problems, Study Suggests

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Repetitive behaviors in adults with Autism Spectrum disorders significantly lessen with antidepressant treatment

Published December 5, 2011 in MedicalXpress

Restricted, repetitive behavior, such as compulsive arranging and rigid adherence to routines, is a defining symptom of autism spectrum disorders. A 12-week study showed that the antidepressant fluoxetine produced a greater decrease in repetitive behaviors and more overall improvement than placebo in adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Repetitive behaviors in adults with Autism Spectrum disorders significantly lessen with antidepressant treatment

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Autistic Brains Grow More Slowly

Published October 20, 2011 in Psych Central

UCLA researchers have found the connections between brain regions that are important for language and social skills grow much more slowly in boys with autism than in non-autistic children…


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A Systematic Review of Medical Treatments for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published April 1, 2011 in Pediatrics, McPheeters et al.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University reviewed evidence regarding medical treatment of children 12 years old and younger with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It was found that risperidone and aripiprazole for treatment of challenging and repetitive behaviors in children with ASDs. However, there are significant adverse effects of these medicines, including severe impairment or risk of […]

American Academy of Pediatrics

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Shank3 Mutant Mice Display Autistic-like Behaviors and Striatal Dysfunction

Published March 1, 2011

Currently, the neurological basis of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is poorly understood. “Shank3 is a postsynaptic protein, whose disruption at the genetic level is thought to be responsible for the development of 22q13 deletion syndrome (Phelan-McDermid syndrome) and other non-syndromic ASDs”. In this study, mice with the Shank3 deletion were seen to exhibit “self-injurious repetitive […]

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Autistic Toddlers Prefer to Gaze at Geometric Patterns

Published September 7, 2010 in Bloomberg Business Week

Eye-tracking study reveals that a toddler’s infatuation with geometric patterns instead of social interactions such as dancing, jumping and smiling could be an early sign of autism.

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Immune System Troubles Could Spark Behavior Woes

Published May 27, 2010 in Bloomberg Businessweek

In the first scientific illustration of exactly how some psychiatric illnesses might be linked to an immune system gone awry, researchers report they cured mice of an obsessive-compulsive condition known as “hair-pulling disorder” by tweaking the rodents’ immune systems.

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Nutritional Risks of Picky Eaters May Be Higher in Autsim

Published April 16, 2010 in Reuters

Many kids are picky eaters but new research suggests the trait is even more common in autistic children who tend to refuse more foods and are more likely to restrict their diets to a smaller variety of foods than other children.

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Gene Mutation is Linked to Autism-Like Symptoms in Mice, Reseachers Find

Published February 24, 2010 in Science Daily

When a gene implicated in human autism is disabled in mice, the rodents show learning problems and obsessive, repetitive behaviors, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The researchers also report that a drug affecting a specific type of nerve function reduced the obsessive behavior in the animals, suggesting a potential way to treat repetitive behaviors in humans

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Lack of Efficacy of Citalopram in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders and High Levels of Repetitive Behavior

Published June 1, 2009 in Archives of General Psychiatry, King, Hollander, Sikich, McCracken, Scahill, Bregman, Donnelly, Anagnostou, Dukes, Sullivan, Hirtz, Wagner, Louise Ritz; for the STAART Psychopharmacology Network

Citalopram (Celexa), a medication commonly prescribed to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), was no more effective than a placebo at reducing repetitive behaviors, according to a multi-site clinical trial guided by lead author Bryan King, MD, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Seattle Children's Hospital and professor and vice chair of psychiatry at […]

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