Research on brain cells finds what may cause sensory issues in individuals with autsm

A recent study that has focused on the way signals are sent to brain cells, have found that the way this information is delivered is abnormally strong in individuals with autism.

It was found that in these individuals the  long-range ‘feed-forward’ connections, that carry signals from peripheral nerves to the brain, sent abnormally strong signals, while the short-range ‘feedback’ connections that send signals in the opposite direction were unusually weak.

Lead researcher in neurology at Harvard Medical School Tal Kenet, told: “Essentially, this gives us a finer-grain understanding of what might be going wrong in autism.”

Fifteen people with autism were studied as well as twenty controls. All participants were boys aged between 8 and 18 years.

Ralph-Axel Müller, who is a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, and who was not involved in the study said that what has been found fits well with what is already known regarding sensory issues and sensory challenges in autism.

90 percent of individuals with autism experience some kind of sensory difficulty.


1. Khan S. et al. Brain Epub ahead of print (2015) PubMed

2. Tommerdahl M. et al. Behav. Brain Funct. 4, 19 (2008) PubMed

Source: Nicholette Zeliadt on the SFARI website: Brain connections give clues to sensory problems in autism