One scientific theory predicts that autistic brains exhibit more excitability, possibly due to increased neuron excitation and/or decreased neuron inhibition. Scientists recently discovered the mathematical formula underlying two types of inhibitory brain circuits, allowing them to test the contribution of these circuits to excitability of autistic brains. Read more about potential brain differences in autism with our “Brain Biology” section.
Welcome to the Brain Biology Section of Autism Reading Room
Our brains are designed to take in information about the world—both the physical world and the social one. Our brains piece together sensory input detected by our five senses: vision, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. We then interpret this information to make critical judgments: for instance, is someone’s facial expression friendly or threatening? The answer will instruct our bodies how to act in a process known as motor output. This sensorimotor pathway determines the ways in which we interact with the world.
The Brain Biology sections describe key features of the brain and ways in which they are influenced by experience. In addition to explaining basic elements of the nervous system, we relate how brain function relates to brain structure and how both can be shaped by the surrounding environment. Importantly, we unravel how these brain features and relationships may vary in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
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