Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nobody knows the causes of Autism, that range of neurological development disorders that has stymied scientists since it was first identified in the 1940s. But now researchers may have some more concrete information on which to base new studies.

The New York Times reports the results of a study published in the journal Neuron that indicates the cause may be linked to an over abundance of brain synapses. In the normal course of development the brain discards some of these synapses in order to allow the areas of the brain to acquire specific functions. The new study, by neurobiologists at Columbia University Medical Center suggests that Autism causes this process to malfunction.

Scientists who study Autism have debated whether or not Autism results from too much, too little, or some combination of brain activity.  This study clearly indicates that it results from too much.

Photo: Wikimedia

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Paul Bass

    Any parent of an autistic knows they get over stimulated. This news comes as no surprise, but thank goodness they are studying this topic.

    • sigrid28

      All research is welcome, given this latest statistic: 1 in 68 children is now being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. I’ve noticed a growing appreciation in the literature for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy, which might serve to train up this abundance of synapses in the way we would have them go–the sooner the better. The availability of ABA therapists nationwide needs work, and we parents have to push to make it available now that it must be paid for under the ACA’s provisions for mental health parity. I’ve always thought there should be a field of ABA therapy for caregivers and family members, whose lesser supply of synapses, given this research, are often stretched to the limit by the role we play in the lives of our loved ones on the spectrum. I have had to use my son’s time-out chair (massager, recliner) myself (!)–more than once–after tangling with health insurers and medical providers. The good news is that the brain is a work in progress with capacities for growth and progress that we are only now beginning to understand.