Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is behavioral and social communication impairment. It is a broad-based neurodevelopment or brain-based disorder that is the result of genetic events that occur prior to birth with widespread effects on cognitive and socio-emotional development (Geschwind, 2009).

Scientist’s aren’t certain about what causes autism, but it’s generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function, genetics/heredity, or environmental factors. Studies have found several irregularities in many regions of the brain, and abnormal levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) autism can result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development caused by defeats in genes that control brain growth and regulate how brain cells communicate with each other. There are several studies in process to determine the genetic/heredity factors associated with autism. In some cases, the parents and/or relatives can have certain medical conditions including Fragile X syndrome, Rett syndrome tuberous sclerosis, some emotional disorders, and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU) that can result in an autistic baby. Research also indicates other factors besides genetics contributing to the increase in autism. Head researcher Hjordis Osk Atladottir from the University of Aarhus, Denmark emphasize that during pregnancy women with influenza were at twice the risk of their unborn baby developing autism. The study of persistent fevers that lasted at least a week tripled the risk for an autistic baby (Hjordis Osk Atladottir). Furthermore, women who used antibiotics during their pregnancy were at...

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...ric Association DSM-IV (1984.) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of

Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV (1984.) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.). American Psychiatric Association.

Baron-Cohen, S. (1985). Mindblindness: An essay on autism and theory of mind. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Baron-Cohen, S., Ring, H.A., Bullmore, E. T., Wheelwright, S., Ashwin, & Williams, S. C. R. (2000). The amygdala theory of AUTISM. Neuroscience. Behavior Review, 24, 434-438.

Geschwind, D. H., & Levitt, P. (2007). Autism spectrum disorders: developmental disconnection syndromes. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 17, 103-111.

Minshew, N.J., & Williams, D.L. (2007). The new neurobiology of autism: Profile of a complex information processing disorder. Journal of the international Neuropsychological Society, 3, 303-316.

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