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Autism Breakthrough! Researchers May Have Identified the Neurological Mechanism that Causes Autism

While most researchers agree that autism is triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, no one has been able to pinpoint the triggered neurological mechanism that ultimately results in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, new research may explain this longstanding mystery.

In the study, researchers found that the brains of people with ASD had a significantly higher number of brain synapses — the information-transferring connections between brain cells — than brains of people without ASD.

As children at a very young age begin to experience the world around them, their brains produce a remarkable number of synapses to help them process their environment. The brain normally prunes any extra synapses that may lead to over-stimulation for the child, around the same age that many children with ASD begin to show symptoms of autism.

Although this study only examined a small sample, it is a promising discovery in understanding the cause of things like meltdowns and sensory overload in some ASD cases. While the research is still young, it could lead us to a greater understanding of autism, and the people whom it affects.

Learn more about this brand-new research in this video!

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.