brainmap

Neurochemical Profile Analysis

Our Neurochemical Profile Analysis project is a fancy way of saying that we are researching the effect chemicals have on the brain. Right now, our team is trying to answer the question, “Why does autism occur 4 times more in boys than in girls?”

While we do not know what causes autism, we do know that autism occurs 4 times more often in males than in females, and this suggests that females have some sort of a protective factor against the presentation of autism. We believe that understanding why girls and boys react differently chemically in the brain will help us understand how to minimize or eliminate certain troublesome symptoms of autism through therapeutic intervention.

So, how do we do this?

In the brain, sex hormones determine your gender. Males have testosterone; females have estrogen. We look at the effects each of these gender-specific hormones have on typical brains and brains with autism. By mapping the results with a consortium of top autism researchers who are investigating similar parts of the brain, we are able to localize the most susceptible parts of the brain to autism.

Ultimately, we hope to recommend specific parts of the brain that can receive medicine or therapy and alleviate some of the most challenging symptoms of autism for those who experience it everyday.

Interested in the graduate-level science description?

Email our research staff directly at research@theautismresearchfoundation.org and we would be happy to set up a conversation!