Autism Is Not Just One Thing
ASD is characterized by developmental delays, communication problems, abnormal social skills, learning disabilities and behavioral problems—all ranging from mild to severe. While some symptoms are apparent during infancy, most children exhibit ASD symptoms between the ages of 1 and 2.
The frequency of being diagnosed with an ASD has been increasing at an alarming rate over the past 20 years. As the fastest growing developmental disability, it is estimated that 1 in every 68 births will now be affected. Additionally, boys are almost 5 times more likely than girls to have this disorder.
Having seen more than 1,000 patients with an ASD at Amen Clinics, we understand that the condition is not caused by one specific thing in the brain, but that there are actually 8-10 different factors that influence abnormal brain function.
Watch this short video in which Dr. Daniel Amen shares more about ASD, including:
- His mantra regarding treatment
- Different patterns of brain dysfunction in ASD
- Potential factors contributing to the rise in ASD
- Possible treatment interventions for ASD
Brain SPECT imaging can be incredibly helpful for those with ASD. The SPECT studies of these patients reveal that their brain patterns tend to have high activity or low activity (and both in some cases).
High Activity Patterns in ASD:
- Increased activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus (the “gear shifter”) and lateral (side) prefrontal cortex, relating to symptoms such as:
- Repetitious speech and behavior
- Getting stuck on thoughts
- Problems with transitions and change
- A “Ring of Fire” pattern—an overall increase of activity throughout the brain—which may be associated with inflammation and be related to:
- Mood instability
- Emotional “meltdowns”
Low Activity Patterns in ASD:
- A smaller, less active cerebellum, contributing to:
- Impeded or poor motor skills
- Problems with learning and thought coordination
- Decreased activity in the back portion of the brain, especially in the parietal and temporal lobes, contributing to:
- Communication difficulties
- Learning problems
- Sensory processing issues
- Problems with abstract thinking
- Overall decreased activity and “scalloping” (a bumpy looking surface), which is associated with environmental toxicity
- Sometimes, a head injury pattern is revealed
As you can see, brain activity patterns in ASD are quite varied, making it even more important to “look” at the brain with SPECT imaging. If we don’t look, how do we know exactly what we’re treating?
If you would like to learn more about how Amen Clinics can help with ASD, please contact us or call 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit today.