Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Autism Linked With Stress Hormone Levels

Date:
April 7, 2009
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
Some of the symptoms of the autistic condition Asperger Syndrome, such as a need for routine and resistance to change, could be linked to levels of the stress hormone cortisol, suggests new research.

Some of the symptoms of the autistic condition Asperger Syndrome, such as a need for routine and resistance to change, could be linked to levels of the stress hormone cortisol, suggests new research led by the University of Bath.

Normally, people have a surge of this hormone shortly after waking, with levels gradually decreasing throughout the day. It is thought this surge makes the brain alert, preparing the body for the day and helping the person to be aware of changes happening around them.

However, a study led by Dr Mark Brosnan and Dr Julie Turner-Cobb from the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath, and Dr David Jessop from the University of Bristol, has found that children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) do not experience this surge.

The researchers believe these findings may help to explain why individuals with this condition have difficulties with minor changes to their routine or changes in their environment.

Dr Brosnan explained: “Cortisol is one of a family of stress hormones that acts like a ‘red alert’ that is triggered by stressful situations allowing a person to react quickly to changes around them.

“In most people, there is a two-fold increase in levels of this hormone within 30 minutes of waking up, with levels gradually declining during the day as part of the internal body clock.

“Our study found that the children with AS didn’t have this peak although levels of the hormone still decreased during the day as normal.

“Although these are early days, we think this difference in stress hormone levels could be really significant in explaining why children with AS are less able to react and cope with unexpected change.”

Dr Julie Turner-Cobb, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Bath and co-author on the study, said: “These findings are important as they give us a clearer understanding about how some of the symptoms we see in AS are linked to how an individual adapts to change at a chemical level."

Dr David Jessop analysed samples from the children for levels of hormone at the Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology at the University of Bristol.

He added: “This study suggests that children with AS may not adjust normally to the challenge of a new environment on waking.

“This may affect the way they subsequently engage with the world around them.”

The researchers hope that by understanding the symptoms of AS as a stress response rather than a behavioural problem it could help carers and teachers develop strategies for avoiding situations that might cause distress in children with the condition.

The next step in the research will be to look at whether children with other types of autism also lack a peak of cortisol after waking.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brosnan et al. Absence of a normal Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) in adolescent males with Asperger Syndrome (AS). Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.02.011

Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Autism Linked With Stress Hormone Levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401204241.htm>.
University of Bath. (2009, April 7). Autism Linked With Stress Hormone Levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401204241.htm
University of Bath. "Autism Linked With Stress Hormone Levels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401204241.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins