Autistic Children Have Extra Brain Synapses

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Scientists and doctors are continuously studying autism in order to improve the quality of autism and Asperger’s treatment. Columbia University Medical Center recently reported that children and teens with autism have a surplus of synapses in their brains, and the excess is due to a slowing of a normal brain “pruning” process during development. Synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the extra synapses likely have a profound effect on how the brain functions.

A drug that restores normal synaptic pruning can improve autistic-like behaviors in mice, the researchers found. This finding could lead to a new therapeutic strategy for autism in the future, which is very exciting. Further research is needed, however, because the drug has side effects that may preclude its use in people with autism. But the fact that changes in behavior were seen suggests that autism may still be treatable one day after a child is diagnosed. At this time, autism has no cure.