Introduction To Anatomy And Physiology. Essay

2799 words - 11 pages

Introduction.Among the hundreds of thousands of disorders that affect Americans, I find that autism is amid the most intriguing. This enigmatic disorder affects between 300,000-400,000 individuals in the U.S. (Autism the Facts, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen,1999, p.11), and even larger amounts of the population worldwide. Despite the growing numbers of cases of autism, the current knowledge of the disorder remains quite limited. Health care providers, disease specialists, and neurologists have yet to determine the cause or causes of autism, and though research continues, the chances that the prevention or cures of this disorder will be unearthed within this decade remains slim.My ulterior motive in composing this research paper is to gain a further understanding of this disorder through thorough research on the subject, specifically the potential causes, treatment, and the majority of individuals affected. It is with genuine interest and ardor that I begin the quest to obtain this higher knowledge of this infamous mystery disorder.What is Autism?Autism is a disorder commonly referred to as "mind blindness", and although the exact definition of autism remains questionable, it can best be described as a brain abnormality which usually involves irregularities in either the frontal lobe, or the limbic system of the brain. The frontal lobe is responsible for planning and control, while the limbic system regulates emotion (Autism the Facts, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen,1999, p.35 ). Irregularities in these regions of the brain account for many of the characteristics and qualities consistent with individuals affected with autism.Autism is believed to occur before or even during birth, but in most cases, is not diagnosed during infancy, but during the first few years of life when it becomes most evident. A child may be born healthy and develop at a normal rate until the toddler stage when normal development often ceases and the child's progress regresses. He or she may walk, talk and even be toilet-trained at an age appropriate level, but often when autism takes over, the child will lose the ability to communicate verbally, and may regress back to diapers. Autism is a disorder that is in effect at birth, even though it may not become evident at that time. It is impossible to "catch" autism, or to pass it on in any way.Like other disorders, autism can occur in various levels of severity. Some autistic children acquire the ability to speak, and may grow up to lead partially normal, functional lives, while others are non-verbal, and remain distant in their own impenetrable worlds. In many cases, autism is accompanied by mental retardation, neurological problems, epilepsy, or syndromes such as Fragile X syndrome. This is not necessarily true of all autistic individuals. Many of them look completely normal and are capable of leading semi-normal lives.What causes Autism?When autism was first diagnosed during the 1940's, it was believed that the disorder was the result of...

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