New research suggests that sensitivity to touch, a common symptom of autism, might be caused by delays in brain development in the womb. The study looked at brain development in mice with Fragile X, a condition closely linked to autism. Researchers found that parts of the brain linked to touch developed late in Fragile X mice. Knowing these key development "windows" might help doctors find new treatments.
It is a promising development, but autism experts warn that this is only part of the puzzle. Fragile X is not the only cause of autism. "This is not the whole story," the head of Britain's National Autistic Society tells the BBC. This type of animal research "can tell us a lot about genetics and the brain," but is "only a small part of the picture," she said.