What is autism and how to identify


Что такое аутизм и как его выявить

Autism occurs due to genetic disorders of brain development. Causes of disorders associated with genes influencing the maturation of synaptic connections. Autism is included in the list of autism spectrum disorders, which are characterized by a specific violation of social behavior, communication and verbal skills and a narrowing of interests and kinds of activities. RACES are often accompanied by other disorders, including epilepsy, depression, anxiety condition and hyperactive disorder with attention deficit. Intellectual levels range from mental retardation to high cognitive abilities. More often, however, there is a decrease of intelligence — almost all autistic children IQ below 100, half below 50.

“Levels of mental activity in people with ASD vary in extremely wide range from severe impairment to superior non-verbal cognitive skills. It is estimated that about 50% of people with ASD also suffer from mental retardation”,

— the experts who.

In addition, for autistic children is a lack of learning ability. May appear angry outbursts, seizures and episodes of hyperactivity.

The symptoms of autism become apparent in 2-3 years, lower the age of diagnosis is problematic. However, even in the first 12 months of life can be observed such deviations as later than the appearance of babbling, unusual gestures, weak reaction to attempts to communicate. 2-3 years of life autistic children less and less babbling, in their speech, the less consonants, lower vocabulary, they are less likely to combine words, their gestures rarely accompanied by words. They are less likely to make requests and share their experiences.

Autistic children pay less attention to social stimuli, less smiling and looking at the other people, rarely respond to their own name. At the age of 3-5 years they are less likely to demonstrate the ability to understand a social situation, do not tend to spontaneously approach others, to respond to the manifestation of their emotions or to imitate someone else’s behavior, engage in non-verbal communication, act in turn with other people.

Older children with autism spectrum disorders worse job on the facial recognition and emotion.

Over the years, the proportion of children whose autism is diagnosed is growing.

So, if in 2007 in the US, autism was diagnosed in 1.2% of children in 2011-2012 and 2%. However, it is impossible to say whether it testifies to the frequent cases of disorder or a more refined diagnosis.

Interestingly, men with high intelligence children are born with autism more often. As shown by a study conducted in 2012 in the Netherlands, men with an IQ of 111 and above children with autism were born on third more often than those whose IQ was about 100.

In addition, the more frequent manifestation of autism in boys may be due to the higher activity of genes related to microglia — cells that play an important role in the formation of the brain and maintenance of contacts between synapses. Psychiatrists, however, attributed the difference in the number of children of different sexes among people with autism (in boys it is observed 2-5 times more often) inadequate diagnosis of girls, although, in General, agree that some of the numerical differences between the sexes do exist.

An interesting correlation found by Korean scientists. They found that women with a waist circumference of 80 cm or more, the risk of having an autistic child by 65% higher than the more slender.

“It is assumed that autism causes both genetic factors and environmental factors. The latter include maternal obesity before pregnancy,” the researchers noted.

Also in children with ASD more than two times more potentially harmful mutations than in close relatives, and 1.5 times more mutations that reduce production of the protein. Risks associated with the development of these mutations are most pronounced in children with low IQ and inactive compared to siblings ‘ social behavior.

Another risk factor is shortage of vitamin D in women during pregnancy.

Australian researchers analyzed approximately 4200 blood samples of pregnant women and after childbirth, and blood samples of their children. Further they observed the development of children. Children of women with vitamin D deficiencies to six years with autism more often than children of women who do not experience scarcity.

Currently, diagnosis of autism is based on behavior analysis of the child’s pediatrician and specialists on autism spectrum disorders. To eliminate possible errors, scientists are looking for methods of laboratory diagnostics of disorders — for example, genetic analysis. In addition, a recently developed analysis of blood and urine for autism.

British researchers found a link between autism spectrum disorders and protein damage in plasma due to oxidation and glycation processes in which reactive oxygen species or reducing carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, etc.) spontaneously modify proteins.

New way to diagnose autism developed Russian scientists. They investigated the sensitivity to change of the tilt angle in children with ASD. The effect of the slope of the lines is a much better ability to distinguish deviations from the base lines (vertical and horizontal), deviation of the lines from diagonal directions. This effect is attributed to the ability of people to adjust the operation of the brain under more shown surrounded by stimuli.

“It turned out that in children and adolescents with ASD compared to the control group reduced the effect of the slope of the lines. And this reduction is associated with a worse distinction between the slope of the line with respect to the vertical, while the difference of diagonal lines in children with ASD is the same as typically developing children,” said lead author of the study Olga Sysoeva.

And in Italy, experts have developed a method of diagnosis of autism, based on the expansion of the pupil of the patient while he is watching the black and white dots moving in a confined space. The movement of the points organized so that they can be perceived as individual dots of different colors moving in the opposite direction, and as the marks placed on the transparent rotating cylinder, when the black and white point perceived by the brain as front and back side of the same point. If the subject considers the black and white points as independent objects, the pupil reacts as if he has adapted to different shades of color. As shown by tests, this perception is more typical of autistic people, people without autism perceive the dots as part of a whole.

Also potentially possible diagnosis for the rate of growth of the cerebral cortex. The work of specialists from the USA and Canada showed that children with autism in certain areas of the cerebral cortex occurs too rapid growth. The study authors calculated 78 such areas, 40 of which have made a particularly large contribution to the overall picture. Based on the data scientists developed a predictive model that is based on the results of the MRI of a newborn child made it possible to calculate the probability of the development of his autism with an accuracy of 81%.

Cure from autism is impossible.

Existing therapies intended to improve quality of life for autism to make it more Autonomous and independent, to reduce the stress in the family. Program intensive, long-term special education and behavioral therapy in the early stages of life help the child to master the skills of self-care, communication, work skills, and often improve functioning and decrease symptom severity and maladaptive behaviors.

Being and the search for new ways to help autistic people. For example, in 2016, the specialists of the Radiological society of North America found that music lessons contribute to the formation of new connections in the brain of children. It is possible that this will help to ease the symptoms of autism.

The chances to achieve independence, to successfully lead a social life depend on the initial severity of the disorder. If the autistic can develop to six years language skills, has IQ higher than 50 and are able to learn a profession, his chances are higher than people with severe autism. According to various sources, to achieve a high level of independence possible only 4-12% of autistic children.

Autistic people are able to drive.

Moreover, research shows that they drive even more carefully than normal people — for example, among adolescents receive fines or get into accidents, only 12% of drivers with autism, while for others the figure is 31% (fines) and 22% (of the accident).

In addition, autistic people are often susceptible to other disorders — Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, anxiety disorders. So, in children with autism the risk of developing an anxiety disorder is 2.2 times higher than in healthy controls.

Another danger for people with autism, which opened recently, is the lack of vaccination. Among children with autism receive all the necessary vaccinations 81,6%, while among children without autism — 94.1 per cent, found scientists from the United States. So, autistic children are more prone to severe infections. The problem researchers blame antivaccination movement.

“In individuals with ASD experience the same health problems as the population as a whole. In addition, they can have specific needs in health services related to ASD and other related conditions. They may be more vulnerable to the occurrence of chronic noncommunicable conditions because of such behavioral risk factors as physical inactivity and improper eating habits, and are at greater risk of violence, injury and abuse — the experts who. — Autism spectrum disorders and other mental disorders among children bring significant economic hardships to families with often limited health care resources in developing countries. The stigma and discrimination associated with these illnesses also remain substantial obstacles to diagnosis and treatment. The absence of autism spectrum disorders and other mental disorders among children in the lists of leading causes of death led to their long-term neglect as public figures, policy-makers in developing countries and donors”.


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