Can Brain Injury Cause Autism?

Can Brain Injury Cause Autism?


After years and years of research, the exact causes of autism still remain a mystery. Many people have wondered, "Can brain injury cause autism?" They're wondering if damage done in the womb or during birth could cause the disorder. Although this question is not easy to answer, most experts now believe that brain injury is not a cause of autism.

What Is Autism

Can Brain Injury Cause Autism?Most people know about autism from the popular movie "Rain Man." It is a developmental disorder with symptoms that include social isolation, speech disturbances and repetitive behavior. Autistic children are generally behind their peers in their development. They may not make eye contact and may react in unusual ways to things that happen. Like the character in "Rain Man," many have narrow, obsessive interests.

What Causes Autism?

Researchers still don't know the exact cause. Some believe that it is a bio-chemical problem while others think it could be genetic. There is some evidence to suggest that environmental factors may play a role. Can brain injury cause autism? Most experts will tell you that it likely doesn't, but there are many who have considered it.

Brain Injury And Autism

The question "Can brain injury cause autism," first gained major ground in the late 1950's. As new information about the disorder came to light, many theorized that traumatic brain injury could be a cause. Prior to this time, children with developmental disorders like autism were considered "slow" or "stupid." In the early 20th century many were diagnosed as schizophrenic. When researchers began studying the brain more closely, the idea of brain injury as a cause came to the forefront.

Cause And Effect

The reason why the theory is mostly discounted today is that there is little evidence to show any cause and effect. While children who suffered from brain injuries got better over time, it has always been difficult to see improvement with autistic children. Many now believe that brain injury can cause symptoms similar to autism, depending on which area of the brain it affects.

Modern Theories About Autism

Most researchers today believe that there are both genetic and environmental factors in the development of autism. They say that an autistic's brain is "wired" differently and processes information in a different way. The most prevalent theory today is that antibodies or deficiencies can produce autism in the child of a pregnant woman.

In the end, the usual answer to the question "Can brain injury cause autism" is no. There has still been no demonstration of cause and effect, and many other theories seem more likely to experts in the field. Whether it plays a part or not doesn't matter in the treatment of autism.


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