Could Girls with Autism Hold the Key to Possible Future Cure?

Girls with Autism May unlock future cure options
Girls with Autism May unlock future cure options

Autism has been known to affect children all over the world, with an increasing number added each year to the spectrum. Known mostly as a developmental condition that affects since early childhood, it has, for some reason mostly affect the male child.

Number of young girls found within the spectrum are remarkably low compared to the presence of young boys.

This, however, does not mean that the girl child is largely immune to autism. It is possible, that symptoms of autism may manifest differently in case of girls. According to researchers there needs to be a further careful study and observation as to how autism exactly strikes young girls.

Autism in Girls Vs Autism in Boys
Autism in Girls Vs Autism in Boys. Download Visual

Autism varies by as many as four times in boys than girls, however, researchers are able to find some surprises on the way of their studies – as it has been noted that many girls have varied developed social skills which successfully masks their autistic symptoms.

Girls are more likely to show interest in a fellow child, be interactive or take part in pretend play even if the developmental disorder remains present in their genetics. It is therefore, possible that in many cases a female child may be misdiagnosed.

Added to this, it has been studied that young girls manifest much less autistic symptoms even though the condition be present genetically. This is not the case with boys even though both the sexes might have similar genetic mutations.

As per Doctor Pelphrey, of George Washington university, the brain imaging techniques such as MRI for a number of affected people show vastly different scenarios.

The developmental disorder greatly affects sections of brain that involve social behaviour in boys, like reduced sections in the cerebellum, smaller neutrons in the Hippocampus and Amygdala, or increased Ventricles.

Girls, on the other hand, who sometimes have shown clear indications of autistic traits, have been found to have normal sized brains with subtle symptoms compared to the boys.

Joseph Buxbaum, one of the more notable researchers who is examining and evaluating the various symptoms that may  answer as why girls remain noticeably unaffected.

According to him, it takes as many as twice the genetic mutation compared to the boys, for an autistic female child to manifest the symptoms. This is what he calls the ‘Protective Factor’ that safeguards a female child from autism.

An answer to this query might lead the researchers to that elusive    method that might prevent the symptoms and in turn the condition itself.

Though this might seem a long way, scientist, however, are largely optimistic.

It is known that autism tend to affect the siblings, with chances of affecting identical twins are 68-90% and just siblings is 3%.

Nonetheless, in many cases, female siblings have known to successfully evade the autism traits while male sibling fall prey to it.

Professor Buxbaum has been part of a research called the Autism Sisters Project that plans to study a large number of families where the male child has been diagnosed with autism while the female sibling has not.

The project, which began last summer, aims to build a huge database which scientists can use as a common ground to look for various cues as researches advance further.

Efforts, on a large scale basis, are being carried out to collect sample of saliva to be used in analysis of DNA. These efforts are expected to help in deciphering the mystery as to why boys are more prone to autism than girls.

The gender scenario and its effects are gaining ground and off late it is becoming a trending discussion in research of various factors causing autism. This could lead to finding alternative ways to detect and diagnose autism as well as treat the condition. It might help in discovering the various genetic factors that help girls in masking their situations successfully.

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