DOCTORS have defined autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a neurobiological developmental condition that can impact communication, sensory processing, and social interactions.
Although recent research has advanced the understanding of autism, there is much more to learn about the factors that influence this neurotype.
As of March 26, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that among 8-year-old children, one in 54Trusted Source are autistic.
This number has increased from the one in 59 prevalence reported in previous estimates.
With autism rates on the increase, the scientific community has become all the more interested in uncovering the factors linked with autism.
Some scientists speculate that gene variantsTrusted Source cause autism, while others believe environmental factorsTrusted Source, such as exposure to toxinsTrusted Source, contribute to this neurotype.
Still others theorize imbalances in the intestinal microbiomeTrusted Source may be at play.
The latest autism research includes investigations into factors associated with this neurotype, as well as genetic variants, gut biome imbalances, and neurological factors that may contribute to it.
In this Special Feature, Medical News Today examines the latest scientific discoveries and what researchers have learned about autism.
A multiyear study funded by the CDC is underway to learn more about factors potentially linked to autism.
The Study to Explore Early DevelopmentTrusted Source is a collaboration between six study sites in the United States.
These sites are part of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology network and focus on children aged 2–5 years.
One of the goals of the study is discovering what health conditions occur in autistic and neurotypical children and what factors are associated with the likelihood of developing ASD.
Another objective of the study is to differentiate the physical and behavioral characteristics of autistic children, children with other developmental conditions, and those without these conditions.
This ongoing research has already produced several published studies.