Boys genetically more susceptible to autism than girls, Yale study confirms

Boys are “genetically more likely” to develop autism than girls, a major study has confirmed.

The research, published by Yale University, is among the first to explain why autism is more prevalent in males.

According to the paper, it is “well established” that autism occurs “much more frequently in boys than in girls”, but scientists have been unable to explain why.

Until now, that is.

Following a number of studies, the Yale researchers believe that autism may develop in “different regions” of the brain in girls, while girls with autism also have a larger number of genetic mutations than boys.

In males with autism, for example, the posterior superior temporal sulcus region was considered the “neural signature”, while the striatum, which controls cognition, reward, and coordinated movements, was considered the neural signature among girls with autism.

All things considered, it means that girls require a larger “genetic hit” to develop the disorder.

Commenting on the findings, lead author Dr Abha Gupta said: “We know so little about how autism unfolds in the brain.

“It’s important to be able to land on spots where the dysfunction might arise because that gives us more traction into where in the brain to look. We need to be accurate about this.”

She added: “The hope, the vision, is that somehow we can manage these protective effects to understand better what makes some people more resilient to developing autism and leverage that somehow into potential targets for treatment.”

According to the latest statistics, autism affects around one in every 100 people, meaning there are around 700,000 individuals on the autism spectrum in the UK.

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