Synaesthesia, a disease characterized by the mixing of senses, is more prominent in those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Scientists from Cambridge University conducted a study with results showing that synaesthesia occurs in 7.2 percent of typical people. This number jumps to 18.9% in those with autism.
Both disorders affect the brain in similar ways- over-connectivity to neurons, which means that the person is more likely over-focus on tiny details and become hyper-sensitive.
“People with autism report high levels of sensory hyper-sensitivity,” says Donielle Johnson, a Cambridge graduate student who helped with the study. “This new study goes one step further in identifying synaesthesia as a sensory issue that has been overlooked in this population. This has major implications for educators and clinicians designing autism-friendly learning environments.”
The study focused on the commonalities of the two conditions. Both are thought to be genetic and do not develop at the same rate in every individual. By focusing on what genes and traits two disorders share, treatments can be improved and specified.
“This new research gives us an exciting new lead, encouraging us to search for genes which are shared between these two conditions,” Professor Simon Fisher, a member of the research team said, “which might play a role in how the brain forms or loses neural connections.”
With the appropriate support, which this study aims to gather information on, autism can be more directly and accurately treated, allowing the individual to reach the height of their potential.
For more information on this study and current autism research, follow the link here: http://www.molecularautism.com/