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Meghan McCain

Simon Workman

Eng. 1201

28 March 2020

What causes Autism and how does Autism affect the human brain?
Autism, which is also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a broad range of

challenges with repetitive behaviors, speech, nonverbal communication and social skills.

According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and prevention, every 1 in 59 U.S children are

diagnosed with Autism. A lot of people with Autism are able to function in a normal society, but

that is not the case in all situations. The brains of someone who is Autistic processes

information a lot differently than someone who is not diagnosed with Autism. So how does one

get diagnosed with Autism?, and how does Autism affect the human brain?

When it comes to Autism a lot of people are very unaware of the symptoms or the

causes of Autism. According to Autism Speaks, “Autism’s core symptoms are social

communication challenges and restricted, repetitive behaviors.” Yes, there are more symptoms

that can make someone believe someone they know has Autism, but those are the main things

that you should be looking for. Most Autism diagnoses usually start in the early years of a

child's childhood, “usually after the age of four years old.” (MNT) You see a lot of cases of

children who are Autistic but go without a diagnosis or even the child received a diagnosis but it

was the wrong type of diagnosis.

Over the years there have been many myths about what causes Autism. No, there is not

a specific cause of Autism, but there are things known that can increase the risk of a child being
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diagnosed with Autism. Advanced age in either parent, if the parents have diabetes and the use

of drugs can make a child be at risk for being diagnosed with Autism. Researches have also

indicated that Autism could most likely be genetic. It is still very unclear but Autism is known for

a strong genetic basis.

A recent study that has been done that includes close to about two million people,

suggests that Autism is eighty percent more reliant on inherited genes. A lot of times genetic

factors are often ignored when it comes to the cause of someone being diagnosed with Autism.

Instead environmental factors receive more attention. Yes, there are environmental factors that

you can pay attention to as they can affect the quality and quantity of gene expression without

having to change the DNA sequence. Environmental factors are adequate to yield Autism, but

they can be complex in the existence of Autism.

Ever since a study was conducted in 1997, that involved two twins both being Autistic.

When there is one identical twin diagnosed with Autism, there is always a high percentage rate

that the other twin could also be diagnosed with Autism. A lot of scientists and researchers now

believe that genetics play a big role when it comes to one being diagnosed with Autism. There

has also been a lot of talk about an Autism gene. There really is not a “Autism Gene”, but

researchers have tallied up a decent amount of genes that could have something to do with


Parental age is one of the most identified risk factors for diagnosing a child with Autism.

Based on a study in Iran in 2010, the risk of Autism increased by a high percentage for every ten

year advancement in a father's age. A father aged thirty four years old and a father aged thirty

nine years old had a greater risk than a father aged twenty five through twenty nine years old.
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The older a mother is when she gives birth the risk of her child getting diagnosed with Autism is

higher. The research done about parents who are much older and having children does not

indicate that, that is the reason their child will be diagnosed with Autism. It is just one of many

risks that could potentially lead to a child being diagnosed with Autism.

There are things that a pregnant woman can do to help reduce the risk of her child

being diagnosed with Autism. In 2014 there was a study that was done to see if mothers who

are iron deficient actually increase the risk of their child being Autistic. Iron is crucial to fetal

brain development, yet half of all pregnant women don't get enough of it. During this study,

researchers looked at a very high number of women during three different stages. Three

months prior to becoming pregnant, during the pregnancy, and after delivery. The mothers of

the children with Autism were less likely to take iron before, during and after their pregnancy,

then the mothers whose children were not diagnosed with Autism.

Autism is also known to be linked to a child being born with a low birth weight. A study

recently conducted where researchers looked at records of about five hundred and sixty five

children. The researchers looked at each child, if they were born early, small, or both and had

been diagnosed with Autism. The research had found that low-birth weight girls were found to

have greater risk in Autism than low-birth boys. According to Schendel, a researcher partaking

in the study, stated “We don’t know if it's the low-birth weight causing brain damage, or

whether the brain damage has occured and low-birth weight is the consequence.” New

research shows that sex hormones, some medicines, and metals such as lead and certain

chemicals can also be suspected in having a role in Autism. All of these have been proven to

worsen health conditions and even affect the brain in a negative way. No, none of these have
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been proven to be the cause of Autism, but there is a link between all of them and Autism.

There has been studies done that shows chemical exposure during development in the womb

can have much more serious health problems. Exposure to tobacco, air pollutants, pesticides

and many chemicals all increase the risk of a child in the womb being diagnosed with Autism.

A lot of people tend to think Autism is an illness. People like to think that it's a disease,

but really it’s just a human brain working differently than someone else's. Someone who is

Autistic has a brain that just works in a different way vs someone who doesn’t have Autism. A

lot of people seem to think you can also just get rid of Autism whenever you want, but that is

not the case. You can’t just decide one day that you’re tired of being Autistic. If you’re

diagnosed with Autism, most likely you’re going to be Autistc your whole life. There have been

some cases where people have outgrown Autism. A lot of children can eventually outgrow their

diagnosis but can also be found diagnosed with something else. If a child outgrows their Autism

diagnosis they can be diagnosed with something else like a learning disability, attention deficit

hyperactivity, also known as ADHD. It is not uncommon to outgrow an Autism diagnosis. In

most cases children who are getting diagnosed with Autism shouldn’t be. Usually when a child

is getting diagnosed with Autism, they’re super young. It’s probably really hard to predict how a

child is going to act in the years ahead. I believe that is why a lot of children get misdiagnosed

when it comes to Autism. A lot of times you hear how a child was once diagnosed with Autism

as a child but once they’ve reached a certain age, they are either getting diagnosed with

something else like ADHD for example and losing their Autism diagnosis.

ADHD and Autism a lot of the time share the same symptoms, but what really sets the

two apart from one another. If a child is diagnosed with both or one they most likely have
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problems focusing. That is why a lot of people think they are almost the same, but Autism is

more of developmental disorders that can affect language skills, social interactions and

behavior in a child. ADHD just impacts how the brain develops and grows. A frequently asked

question is can you have both ADHD and Autism, and the answer is yes. You can be diagnosed

with both Autism and ADHD.

There are a lot of factors that play a big role when it comes to someone being diagnosed

with Autism. There is no main cause of Autism, just a lot of factors that can cause it. Scientists

have been doing research for years and still have no exact answer when it comes to what is the

cause of Autism. After reading a lot of research about what causes Autism I still am unsure, just

like most researches are. I personally believe it could be genetic, just because I have two

nephews who are brothers, that are both diagnosed with Autism. I also do believe other factors

play a big role too. Overall you can’t change genetics, but you can try and increase your odds of

having a healthy baby. Eating well balanced meals, having regular checkups with your doctor,

and having good parental care, are just a few things you can do to help reduce your chance of

your child being diagnosed with Autism.

A human brain processes information that it receives through our five senses, which

then sends messages back to the body. The human brain weighs about 1.5 kilograms and is the

size of two fists clenched together. The human brain has four lobes that all focus on certain

things. Two of the lobes that draw a lot of attention to Autism are the frontal lobe and parietal

lobe. The cerebellum is also one of the key brain regions affected by Autism. The cerebellum is

indispensable for movement. It may not only be involved in motor learning but also in higher

cognitive functions such as language and attention, both are affected by Autism. The function
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of the frontal lobe of the human brain focuses on things like behavior, emotions, speach,

intelligence and concentration. The parietal lobe of the human brain focuses on things like

interpertetiting language, words, and sense of touch. When one is diagnosed with Autism, they

tend to struggle with things like being verbal, behavior, concentration and sensory issues. So,

how does the parietal lobe, the frontal lobe and cerebellum differ from someone who is

diagnosed with Autism from someone who isn’t?

Language development is a critical neurobiological process to communicate with one

another. Delayed language is one of the first warning signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

When there is a language delay there is a frontal lobe and parietal lobe problem. Which leads to

an abnormal brain connectivity. There was a study conducted that suggests that Autistic

children had an increased gray matter in brain regions of the parietal lobes that control our

sense of touch, and interprets signals from our motor, sensory and memory.

The frontal lobe is very important when it comes to a human brain. The frontal lobe not

only controls important cognitive skills but also plays a big role in emotional expression,

memory and language. If there is damage in the frontal lobe there can be change in personality,

interpreting one's environment and facial expressions. When it comes to Autism, it's almost like

it can be viewed as a brain injury. Once the frontal lobe is injured you start to see differences

throughout the human. It’s almost when you’re diagnosed with Autism your frontal lobe is

“injured.” The parietal lobe also has very important roles when it comes to the human brain.

Parietal lobe is very important when it comes to language. If both of these lobes are “injured”

then they won’t function properly. When it comes to someone being Autistic you can almost

look at it as their lobes have been “injured.”

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According to Autism Speaks, there has been a new study that has suggested that

children who are diagnosed with Autism have a surplus of synapses. The excess is due to the

normal pruning process slowing down that occurs during brain development. Researchers

found that the medication rapamycin can both restore normal synaptic pruning and reduce

autism-like behaviors. The new study also says that someday there might be a medication that

can be used to treat Autism. During normal brain development, there is a burst of synapse

which occurs in infancy. Usually this is pronounced to be found in the cortex. The cortex is

responsible for the thought process.

Overall there are a lot of things that play into the diagnosis of Autism. There are many

symptoms that can be used to diagnose someone with Autism. There are also many causes that

are still being researched to determine the actual cause of Autism. A lot of good information is

put on the internet that you can read to help you decide what you think the real cause of

Autism is. I find it very interesting that researchers are still unsure about what the actual cause

is. I know right now that there is no cure for Autism, but reading about how there are studies

being done that predict that in the near future could be a cure, gives me hope that maybe there

will be a cure someday.

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Works Cited

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“Brain Study Finds Evidence That Autism Involves Too Many Synapses.” Autism Speaks,

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15 Oct. 2019, www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/adhd-or-autism#1.

Doheny, Kathleen. “Autism Linked to Low Birth Weight.” WebMD, WebMD, 2 June 2008,

Clinic, Mayfield. “Brain Anatomy, Anatomy of the Human Brain.” Brain Anatomy,
Anatomy of the Human Brain, www.mayfieldclinic.com/pe-anatbrain.htm.

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Karimi, Padideh, et al. “Environmental Factors Influencing the Risk of Autism.” Journal of
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“Learn the Signs of Autism.” Autism Speaks, www.autismspeaks.org/signs-autism.

McRae, Mike. “People With Autism Have More Symmetrical Brains. Here's What That
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Leonard, Jayne. “Autism in Adults: Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnosis.” Medical News Today,
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Mazzucco, Anna E. “What Causes Autism and Why Are More and More Kids Being Diagnosed
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NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/autism/what-is-autism/.

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WebMD, WebMD, 17 July 2019, www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20190717/autism-

Reporter, E.J. Mundell HealthDay. “Autism Largely Caused by Genetics, Not Environment.”
WebMD, WebMD, 17 July 2019, www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20190717/autism-

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“What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers
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