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Most people with autism complain of poor sleep. Unfortunately, previous research had a hard time understanding exactly what kinds of poor sleep were most prevalent in autism. With the support of over 5,000 families with autism from the SPARK study, we were able to identify eight distinct patterns that describe most kinds of poor sleep experienced in autism. We were able to identify genetic factors underlying these sleep patterns, and also which sleep aids show the most evidence of working for each pattern.
Dr. Jake Michaelson is a Roy J. Carver associate professor in psychiatry and neuroscience and the division director of computational and molecular psychiatry at the University of Iowa. His lab uses advanced computational approaches to study the effect of genetic variations on the development of the brain, with specific applications in autism and language impairment. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in biological engineering at Utah State University before earning his PhD in computational biology at the Technische Universitat Dresden in Germany in 2010. After his time in Germany, he joined the lab of psychiatric geneticist Jonathan Sebat at UC San Diego, where he completed his postdoctoral training and published several of the earliest papers dealing with whole genome sequencing in autism. In 2013 he joined the faculty at the University of Iowa, and his current research is supported by NIMH, NIDCD, the Simons Foundation, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.