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Peripheral nervous system may play role in autism : New study report

15 October 2020

Autism is considered a disorder of the brain. But a new study suggests that the peripheral nervous system, the nerves that control our sense of touch, pain and other sensations, may play a role as well. The exploratory study is published in the October 14, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.


On the skin biopsy test, 53% of the people with autism had reduced nerve fiber density, while all of the people in the control group had levels in the normal range. People who had reduced nerve fiber density also were more likely to report feeling pain from the heat stimulus at a higher temperature than the control group.


The study also found that the response to touch in people with autism differed according to whether or not they had nerve fiber damage. People who had normal nerves were more likely to say they disliked being touched and were uncomfortable with some textures, while people with nerve fiber damage were more likely to say they preferred going barefoot and could be unaware that they had gotten scratched or bruised.


Autism is considered a disorder of the brain. But a new study suggests that the peripheral nervous system, the nerves that control our sense of touch, pain and other sensations, may play a role as well.

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