Brain Science of Aspergers and Autism: Introduction

A friend recently asked me what happens in the brain of someone with Aspergers or Autism. There are many studies that have been undertaken by neuroscientists to discover the causes and brain functions that characterise Aspergers.

It has been discovered that it affects not just one area of the brain, but there are various areas that contribute to the features and cognitive functions of Aspergers and Autism. Over the next few posts I shall be going into the different areas of the brain that are affected, and later how these areas interact and cause the Autistic brain to be wired differently. I will also go into the brain science of “learned safety” and how rituals and routines can help the child.

Studies by Hakon Hakonarson, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the United States, suggest that there are various genes involved, and the jury is still out on which genes cause Autism and Aspergers Syndrome.

Amaral DG, Schumann CM, Nordahl CW. Neuroanatomy of autism. Trends Neurosci. 2008;31(3):137–45. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2007.12.005. PMID 18258309.

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