This glossary is designed to explain some of the scientific terminology, abbreviations etc. used by some people when they talk about autism or research.
You may be able to find more information, including links to other parts of this website, by clicking on the title of an item.
If you can’t find the word you are looking for, or you know of a word we should include, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The fact that an intervention is listed in this glossary does not necessarily mean that we agree with its use. Nor does it necessarily mean that there is any scientifically valid or reliable evidence behind it.
Over time we hope to evaluate each of the interventions listed in this glossary, providing a ranking which tells you the level of scientific evidence which supports or does not support its use. For more information please see Treatments and Therapies for Autism Currently Under Scientific Evaluation by Research Autism
Acetylcholine is a natural chemical which acts as a neurotransmitter in the peripheral nervous system and also in the central nervous system.
In the peripheral nervous system acetylcholine plays a role in skeletal muscle movement, as well as in the regulation of smooth muscle and cardiac muscle. In the central nervous system acetylcholine is believed to be involved in learning, memory, and mood.
It is believed that some psychoactive drugs including some cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and tacrine work by increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the brain.
They do this by inhibiting (reducing the effect of ) acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme which inhibits acetylcholine.