Current research points to brain abnormalities as the primary cause of Asperger syndrome (AS). Using advanced brain imaging techniques, scientists have revealed structural and functional differences in specific regions of the brains of normal versus AS children. These defects are believed to be caused by the abnormal migration of embryonic cells during fetal development, which affects brain structure and "wiring" and then goes on to affect the neural circuits that control thought and behavior.
For example, one study found a reduction of brain activity in the frontal lobe of AS children when they were asked to respond to tasks that required them to use their judgment. Another study found differences in activity when children were asked to respond to facial expressions. A third study investigating brain function in adults with AS revealed abnormal levels of specific proteins, correlating with obsessive and repetitive behaviors.
Scientists are also aware of a genetic component to AS and the other ASDs because of their tendency to run in families. Additional evidence for the link between inherited genetic mutations and AS was observed in the higher incidence of family members who have behavioral symptoms similar to AS, but in a more limited form. For example, they had slight difficulties with social interaction, language, or reading.
A specific gene for AS, however, has never been identified. Recent research indicates the likelihood of a common group of genes whose variations or deletions make an individual vulnerable to developing AS. This combination of genetic variations or deletions determine the severity and symptoms for each individual with AS.
This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.Current research points to brain abnormalities as the primary cause of Asperger syndrome (AS). Using advanced brain imaging techniques, scientists have revealed structural and functional differences in specific regions of the brains of normal... More
Using brain imaging techniques, scientists have discovered differences in specific regions of the brains of people with Asperger syndrome compared with brains of normal people. These defects may be caused by abnormal migration of embryonic cells during fetal development that affects brain structure and the nerve circuits that control thoughts and behavior. Other possible causes of improper brain formation include serotonin (a brain chemical) and/or cerebellar (a region of the brain) dysfunction.
Genetics: Based on the observation that Asperger syndrome tends to run in families, genetics may play a role in the development of the disease. Some family members show symptoms similar to Asperger syndrome but in a more limited form, such as mild difficulties with social interaction, language, or reading. To date, a specific gene for Asperger syndrome has not been identified. There are several Asperger syndrome susceptibility genes that are being studied, however, including ASPG1 on chromosome 3, ASPG2 on chromosome 17, and ASPG3 on chromosome 1. Additionally, two genes have been identified on the X chromosome that provide instructions for making neurologins (proteins important in communication within the nervous system). These X-linked genes are NLGN3 and NLGN4 and mutations in their sequence may cause Asperger syndrome. Although an individual's genetic makeup may influence the likelihood that he or she will develop the disorder, many other factors also seem to be involved.
Medical conditions: In some patients, Asperger syndrome has been linked to other medical conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), tic disorders (such as Tourette syndrome), depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Doctors believe that having these other disorders may increase an individual's risk of also having Asperger syndrome.
Teratogen exposure: Some cases of Asperger syndrome have been linked to exposure to teratogens (chemicals that cause birth defects) during the first eight weeks following conception.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.Using brain imaging techniques, scientists have discovered differences in specific regions of the brains of people with Asperger syndrome compared with brains of normal people. These defects may be caused by abnormal migration of embryonic cells... More