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Scientists discover a surplus of neural connections in brains of autistic children

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 68 children born in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism. While the severity and presence of some of the symptoms associated with the disorder vary, all autistic children experience some level of deficiency with regard to social interactions and communication skills. A large percentage also exhibit repetitive or ritualistic behaviors.

The origins of the disorder remain largely a mystery. While scientists believe a number of factors, including genetics and environmental influences, play a role in the development of autism, to date they have not been able to pinpoint the how or why the disorder develops. Research into this area, therefore, remains vital to helping cultivate possible effective treatments and beneficial therapies.

Findings gleaned from one promising study were recently published in the medical journal Neuron. For the study, researchers from Columbia University Medical Center examined brain tissue samples of children with and without autism. By examining and comparing the samples, researchers noted some interesting differences.

When examining tissue from "a region of the brain involved in social and communication processes," researchers discovered that children with autism appear to have more neuron connections in this region of the brain.

Those within the medical field hope that this and other similar tests that aim to examine and study differences within the brains of autistic individuals, may one day help in the development of more beneficial treatments and therapies.

Parents who have an autistic child may apply to receive Social Security disability benefits to help offset many of the costly treatments and therapies. An attorney who handles SSD matters can assist in SSD application or claims appeal process.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Autistic brains show hyper-connectivity as new drug target seen," Angela Zimm, Aug. 22, 2014

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