Autism

Scientists show rise and fall of brain volume

(Medical Xpress)—We can witness our bodies mature, then gradually grow wrinkled and weaker with age, but it is only recently that scientists have been able to track a similar progression in the nerve bundles ...

Sep 19, 2014
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Emotions in the brain

This year has been a busy one for biologist David Anderson, Caltech's Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology. In 2014 alone, Anderson's lab has reported finding neurons in the male fly brain that promote fighting and, in the mouse brain, identified a "se ...

Sep 17, 2014
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Experts discuss communications gap on vaccines

The number of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children is on the rise, and with it the incidence of preventable diseases such as measles. The health community could reverse the trend by doing a better ...

Sep 17, 2014
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New study looks at improving vaccine awareness

The best medical therapies won't do much good if the public abstains from using them. Resistance to life-saving interventions may have a variety of root causes, particularly if the biotechnology involved is new and poorly ...

Sep 15, 2014
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Tipping the balance of behavior

(Medical Xpress)—Humans with autism often show a reduced frequency of social interactions and an increased tendency to engage in repetitive solitary behaviors. Autism has also been linked to dysfunction ...

Sep 11, 2014
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Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. It is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs), the other two being Asperger syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (commonly abbreviated as PDD-NOS), which is diagnosed when the full set of criteria for autism or Asperger syndrome are not met.

Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is unclear whether ASD is explained more by rare mutations, or by rare combinations of common genetic variants. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Controversies surround other proposed environmental causes, such as heavy metals, pesticides or childhood vaccines; the vaccine hypotheses are biologically implausible and lack convincing scientific evidence. The prevalence of autism is about 1–2 per 1,000 people worldwide; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports approximately 9 per 1,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with ASD. The number of people diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice; the question of whether actual prevalence has increased is unresolved.

Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. The signs usually develop gradually, but some autistic children first develop more normally and then regress. Early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help autistic children gain self-care, social, and communication skills. Although there is no known cure, there have been reported cases of children who recovered. Not many children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, though some become successful. An autistic culture has developed, with some individuals seeking a cure and others believing autism should be accepted as a difference and not treated as a disorder.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

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