Understanding the Asperger’s Syndrome, a Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Posted: Apr 27, 2018
What is Asperger’s Syndrome (AS)?Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is a pervasive developmental disorder where people have same IQ levels as normal people but lack the ability to socialize and communicate better. Asperger’s Syndrome though comes under the broad spectrum of autism and is called as high functioning autism, it is different in various aspects from high-function ASD.
It is a lifetime disorder which affects the ability of how people perceive the world and communicate with others. This disability affects men more than women. It is seen in 1 in every 200 people. People with this syndrome share some common symptoms with autism but they don’t face difficulty in language, cognitive skills and other learning skills as the autism people do. Usually, people with Asperger’s Syndrome face difficulty in social communication, social imagination and interactions.
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A Brief History About Asperger’s Syndrome (AS)Asperger’s Syndrome or Asperger’s disorder was first described by Viennese paediatrician,Hans Asperger and hence named after his name. He observed and described a set of behavioral changes in boys such as impaired social skills, unable to communicate well with others and had poor coordination even if they had normal intelligence and language development.
The Asperger’s Syndrome coalition of the United States said that many kids were diagnosed after the age of 3 mostly between the ages of 5-9 because onset of AS might be later than as seen in autism.
Many professionals categorized Asperger’s Syndrome as milder form of autism and called it as "High-functioning autism" but Uta Frith described Asperger’s Syndrome as "having a dash of autism." Uta Frith is a professor at the Institute of cognitive Neuroscience of University CollegeLondon and editor of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Asperger’sSyndrome was added to ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of mental Disorder (DSM-IV)’ which belong to the American Psychiatric Association in 1994 as a separate disorder from autism.
In 2013, Asperger’s Syndrome, other pervasive disorders and autism disorder comes under umbrella of ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder.’
Is Asperger’s Syndrome a brain disease?Asperger's syndrome (an autistic disorder) is characterized by stereotyped and obsessional behaviours, and pervasive abnormalities in socio?emotional and communicative behaviour. There is a debate whether AS and related disorders comes under brain diseases or some other factors are responsible for the characteristic symptoms of Asperger's syndrome.
Few studies were done on brain anatomy of Asperger’s syndrome, and no anatomical abnormality has been reported from brain imaging studies of autism spectrum disorder. Brain anatomy and sensorimotor gating in healthy people were compared with Asperger’s syndrome and controls.
Significant age?related differences were found in volume of cerebral hemispheres and caudate nuclei (controls, but not people with Asperger’s syndrome, had age?related reductions in volume). People with Asperger’s syndrome had less of the grey matter in fronto?striatal and cerebellar regions than controls, and widespread differences in white matter. People with Asperger’s syndrome most likely have generalized alterations in brain development. There is evidence that people with an autistic spectrum disorder may have abnormalities in brain anatomy, including regions that are responsible for sensorimotor gating.
Therefore, based on the evidences it was found that Asperger’s syndrome is associated with abnormalities in fronto?striatal pathways resulting in defective sensorimotor gating, and therefore characteristic difficulties thoughts, speech and actions.
Mohd Salman, Mbbs, is a medical science professional and is associated with DiseaseFix as a researcher. Find the most relevant and updated information about the disease in DiseaseFix.