Is Autism All in the Brain?


There’s new research that indicates autism is not limited to impairments during brain development. Rather, scientists found that other parts of the nervous system could play a role in how people diagnosed with autism react to certain situations.

The Study at a Glance

In carrying out their study, researchers at Harvard Medical School experimented on mice. Specifically, the scientists were looking at several genetic changes commonly found in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

While the mice the scientists bred had perfectly normal brains, they had genetic nerve defects in their limbs and toes. This resulted in ASD-like behavior from the mice, including heightened anxiety and limited interaction when faced by mice they had never seen before – classic ASD traits.

The mice also showed an increased sensitivity to touch.

While the researchers admit that they’re not quite sure exactly why increased sensitivity to touch would lead to anxiety and withdrawal, they’re inclined to chalk it up to the mice experiencing sensory overload.

One of the researchers said, “We think mice experiencing the anxiety and withdrawal have a major defect in the ‘volume’ of their sensory neurons. Basically, the volume is turned up so loud, the animals feel touch at an exaggerated level.”

The next phase of the research will be to look for ways to bring the volume down.

The Bottom Line on Autism – Thus Far

We applaud the scientists for continuing their research into autism. We want to make it as clear as possible that while 1 in every 88 children are diagnosed with autism each year, there is still no clear case for what actually causes the condition.

While genetics are believed to play a significant contributing role in the development of autism, there’s also an array of studies showing that toxins from our environment are also supporting characters.

Contributing to the confusion is the frequency of autism misdiagnosis. A report from the Center for Health Statistics found that 13% of children diagnosed with autism actually lose that diagnosis later on. Those researchers speculated that some children wrongly diagnosed with autism may be struggling instead with other issues, such as delays in development.

The Fitzgerald Law Firm is Passionate About Autism and Can Help You

While scientists may indeed be unsure about specific causes of autism, there’s a host of information showing direct links between the condition and medical malpractice and exposure to dangerous toxins like lead paint.

The Fitzgerald Law Firm has proven to be highly successful at securing favorable judgements and compensation on behalf of children diagnosed with autism. If you feel your child has developed autistic-like symptoms from exposure to toxins or malpractice, contact us today at 800-323-9900 for a free consultation.