August 8, 2021


by: admin


Tags: ABA, Alternative, Community, Newsletter, perceptions, performance, Spectrum, SUV39H2, Work


Categories: autism

Group E-newsletter: SUV39H2, work efficiency perceptions, ABA different | Spectrum

Illustration by Laurène Boglio

Hello and welcome to this week’s community newsletter! I am your host, Chelsey B. Coombs, the engagement editor of Spectrum.

Our first threads are from Shabeesh Balan, a researcher at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science in Wako, Saitama, Japan, and Toshihiro Endo, founder and scientist of Phenovance Research and Technology LLC in Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan. Balan and Endo, along with 26 co-authors, published a paper that they say “provides direct evidence of the role of SUV39H2 in ASD”.

Role of histone methyltransferase deficits in the pathogenesis of autism # SUV39H2 #lofvariant #behavior #molecular psychiatry @RIKEN_CBS

– shabeeshbalan (@shabeeshbalan) July 16, 2021

I am excited to be part of this new study by @shabeeshbalan et al because I supported it through #IntelliCage experiments. Here we have used the “SP-FLEX” protocol, a self-directed version of the original behavior sequence learning / switching task in IntelliCage (Endo et al., 2011 with @Voikar).

– Toshi Endo (Phenovance LLC, Japan) (@toshiendo_prt) July 23, 2021

The researchers focused on Kleefstra syndrome, which is characterized by autism-like behavior and intellectual disability. Previous research has shown that this rare condition is due to the loss of a gene that codes for a protein that demethylates histone, around which DNA is wrapped in a specific location called H3K9. The new work uncovered a rare variant of the SUV39H1 gene that affects methylation at this site.

Several experiments on SUV39H1 knockout mice led to a subsequent decrease in H3K9 methylation as well as to behavioral inflexibility and hyperactivity during task change tests. Post-mortem brain samples from autistic people also showed decreased expression of SUV39H1 and the related gene SUV39H2.

I am excited to be part of this new study by @shabeeshbalan et al because I supported it through #IntelliCage experiments. Here we used the “SP-FLEX” protocol, a self-directed version of the original behavior sequence learning / switching task in IntelliCage (Endo et al., 2011 with @Voikar).

– Toshi Endo (Phenovance LLC, Japan) (@toshiendo_prt) July 23, 2021

Next up is a study by another large team of researchers, led by Adam Guastella, Professor of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney in Australia. The paper examined how social anxiety and executive function in autistic people were related to how well they rate their job performance.

New Study: Fear and Perceived Leadership Skills Predict Workplace Confidence in Autistic Adults. Our future studies will show that mental health support for autistic adults is critical to success in the workplace. with outstanding results reported by them and employers

– Adam Guastella (@Adam_Guastella) July 17, 2021

Autistic adults responded to questions about their social anxiety, mental health, executive function, and social and professional function. Some also took executive function tests by measuring their working memory and ability to complete tasks.

Participants who reported having more social anxiety and difficulty performing executive function also reported feeling less confident about their social skills and job performance, the team found. But the assessment of a person’s executive function was not related to their perceived social or professional function.

“This study underscores the importance of considering perceived executive function and social anxiety when considering how to best support positive outcomes like maintaining and maintaining relationships and work in autistic populations,” the authors write .

Ian Hickie, professor of psychiatry at the University of Sydney in Australia and investigator on the study, tweeted, “Anxiety reduction should be a therapeutic focus and services must be available for that.”

The perception of social and work functions is related to social anxiety and executive functions in autistic adults

– Ian Hickie (@ian_hickie) July 18, 2021

Rebecca Sutherland, Assistant Professor of Speech Pathology at the University of Canberra in Australia, tweeted, “What a brain trust on the author list!”

That looks like an interesting study with great potential for practical use – and what a brain trust on the list of authors!

– Dr. Rebecca Sutherland (@becsutherlandSP) July 19, 2021

Another recent study found a different type of reaction on Twitter: “Yikes!” Zack Williams, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, tweeted.

A new article shows that most BCBAs, RBTs and other BACB certification bodies, despite the extensive evidence base, do not have sufficient knowledge or training in NDBIs. Ouch!

– Zack Williams (@QuantPsychiatry) July 29, 2021

The study interviewed behavioral analysts about their knowledge and attitudes towards naturalistic developmental behavior interventions (NDBIs) in autism.

NDBIs combine the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and developmental psychology to teach autistic children new skills based on naturally occurring situations. Although randomized controlled trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of NDBIs, the researchers write, training resources for behavioral analysts are not widely available and there are “relatively few high quality studies”. [that] testify [traditional behavioral therapies’] Effectiveness.”

In the survey, 11 percent of Board Certified Behavioral Analysts (BCBAs) and 25 percent of Registered Behavioral Therapists (RBTs) said they did not know any of the above NDBIs; 32 percent of the BCBAs and 46 percent of the RBTs stated that they had not received any training in NDBIs; and only 57 percent of BCBAs and 64 percent of RBTs said NDBIs are an important tool.

“The ABA sector is often criticized for being limited and fissured in scope; By incorporating current evidence-based practices into the scope, the field has the opportunity to demonstrate greater flexibility, responsiveness, and advancement, ”the authors write.

That’s it for this week’s Spectrum Community Newsletter! If you have any suggestions for interesting social contributions in the field of autism research, feel free to email me at We meet next week!

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