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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

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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