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All post and stories are the sole property of Velvet Over Steel aka Coreen Trost. I write and create post in order to help others, so share as you want. I just ask that you link back or give VOS credit. Some of the stories are going into a book in progress. Thank You ALL.. for your support and help!!
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." ~ John Quincy Adams

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Too Many Connections in Brain May Explain Autism Learning Disability... By: Deborah Huso

Researchers from the University of California have discovered that autistic children carrying a common autism risk gene show greater brain connections in the frontal lobe when compared with non-autistic children who do not carry the risk gene.

The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, also showed that this increased brain connectivity in the frontal lobe was associated with fewer connections to other parts of the brain, leading researchers to believe that this latest risk gene may be responsible for "rewiring" of the brain.

The gene variant known as CNTNAP2 was also present in some of the non-autistic children in the study, and those children showed greater activity in the frontal lobe with weaker connections from there to other parts of the brain as well. But those kids did not have autism, meaning that this single gene variant is likely not responsible for the disease itself.

"We have known for some time that in most cases a single gene is not causative for autism," one of the study authors, Dr. Susan Bookheimer, professor of cognitive neurosciences at the University of California, told AOL Health. "These risk genes are fairly common." She says autism is caused by a variety of factors, including other gene variants, gene-to-gene interactions, as well as environmental factors.

"The major finding here is in finding a direct link between a gene and the functioning brain in autism," adds Bookheimer. "Another way to think of it is that genes such as this may bias the brain towards a certain mode of information processing--local processing at the cost of long-range interaction and connectivity that we see in autism."

Dr. Isabelle Rapin, professor of neurology and pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, did not participate in this latest research but is intrigued by the findings. "Autism has multiple causes," she told AOL Health, "and any papers that show another gene related to autism are helpful." She is quick to add, however, that parents of autistic children shouldn't get too excited about this latest study. "It's premature to say it will be useful in diagnosis or treatment."

Dr. Tom Frazier, director of research at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism, agrees, noting that the study would have to be repeated using far more subjects, but he told AOL Health he'll be interested to see if this brain abnormality is specific to autism. "Anytime you find a gene variant associated with a condition, you want to know if it's a modifier or a cause," he added. "In this case, I think they've identified a modifier."

Study author Bookheimer is hopeful her team's research will lead to more promising outcomes in the future. "The primary goal here is not diagnosis but rather understanding mechanisms that cause autism," she says. "It is possible in the future we will be able to identify a collection of genes which together lead to severe enough connectivity deficits to cause autism."     This article from is by: Deborah Huso

More on Autism:
Autism Causes, Cures, Controversy
Autism Exams and Tests


  1. hmmm...intriguing stuff...understanding the cause is a great step...

  2. Autisim is a very mysterious thing that people blame on vaccinations, even gluten. My husband works with Asperger's Autism from time to time, that is even more astounding and confounding.

  3. Very interesting, as I may have told you my son works with Autistic adults and is starting to take his degree in this field. You mentioned frontal lobe, I have right temporal lobe epilepsy, which was diagnosed some 25 years though I have not had any problems for the past four years so am hoping the problem may have gone but have to see a consultant to verify this,

    Have a good week-end.

  4. I had heard of this study, and it does have some significance to looking at the variations with autistic children.It is sad we can't pin a definitive toward causes. Near me are a large population of Amish who don't use vaccines many others do, showing a lower incidence in their population.The gene idea could be used within that thought since they remain in such a small gene pool.

  5. Good article. I work with adults/children with autism and every tiny piece of information helps broaden the picture of WHY...

  6. Interesting article! Hubby has right frontal lobe epilepsy, adult onset. Two of our grandsons - one our daughter's, the other our son's child - are autistic. The older one is 10 and 'has his feet dangling in the pool of autism' as said, and received early intervention. The youngest is 2+, lost all his speech right about the time of his vaccination, but with diet therapy, GFCF, is making remarkable strides in communication. So far only God knows what's really the cause. I'm glad we're making progress in research. So grateful for the way our children are there for their children, as spokespeople and hands on in modeling, teaching, training, etc. etc.

    God bless!

  7. Very interesting. I used to have a little boy in my class who had been diagnosed high functioning autistic. He had several therapists that came to the center. I asked his mom if I could talk with them in an effort to better accommodate his needs throughout the days and weeks.

    She was a brilliant woman who was a strong advocate of early intervention. Now, he is in public school, doing well in a regular classroom. I saw them a couple years ago while out shopping and he remembered me and gave me a hug.

    These children are very special and I'm glad research is making some headway in understanding some of its inner workings.

  8. You did some reading up and have some very informative information on this topic. Thank you for sharing for all who suffer and know of others. Blessings.

  9. Do love all this research of the brain. It will help all...I believe..

  10. Very interesting!

    You know, that actually makes sense! I've heard of people with autism not being able to deal with too much stimuli (strong smells, noisy crowds, etc.) and the reason they can't is probably because of the greater brain connections.

  11. Now if we could just get those neurotransmitters to connect! :)

    interesting stuff!

  12. Interesting! So glad research keeps giving clues.

  13. I never used to hear much at all about Autism... Now--it seems to be more and more common. I have heard of so many people now who have children with Autism...

    This is a very very interesting post. I hope research will provide more and more answers for parents who have children with autism...

    Thanks for sharing.

  14. very informative! i hope the medical fraternity meets success in finding ways and means of arresting autism...

  15. Now that was something I didn't know.

  16. Great article, thanks for the info!


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