is autism a chemical imbalance in the brain

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  • Is there a chemical in the brain linked to autism?

  • HealthDay Reporter. THURSDAY, Dec. 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Scientists say they’ve discovered a specific chemical in the brain they believe is linked to autism. The Harvard University researchers found that autistic behavior is associated with a breakdown in the signaling pathway used by a major inhibitory neurotransmitter called GABA.

  • What happens to the brain of an autistic person?

  • Many autistic people have epilepsy, which results from too much excitation in the brain. Recordings of brain activity during sleep show that many people with autism have unusually frequent spikes of activity. Several mouse models of autism or related conditions also show signaling imbalances.

  • How could a signaling imbalance lead to autism traits?

  • How could a signaling imbalance lead to autism traits? Too much activity in motor brain circuits could contribute to the repetitive behaviors and motor problems in autistic people; in circuits that process sensory information, it might cause hypersensitivity to sound, touch and other stimuli.

  • What is the function of gamma-aminobutyric acid in autism?

  • They operate via gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The proper balance of these two types of signals enables brain cells to be active in some circumstances and muted in others. This underlies the brain鈥檚 ability to take in sensory information, learn, remember and direct behavior. Why do scientists suspect a signaling imbalance in autism?

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