The Mysterious Cerebrospinal Fluid and Its Link to Autism


Recent research suggests that cerebrospinal fluids may hold a key to detecting signs of autism.

The study took place in early 2013 and as part of the follow-up, David Amaral started looking for children with a genetic history of autism.

cerebrospinal fluid and causes of autism

David Amaral holds a PhD and commands an important position as the Beneto Foundation Chair. He is also Director of Research at MIND Institute; University of California Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Center for Neuroscience.

As per the data available, 1 out of 68 children are at risk for autism, irrespective of their socioeconomic, ethnic, or racial backgrounds. At two years of age, almost 45 children were found to be on the autism spectrum.

Nevertheless, finding biomarkers or any other disorder is the trickiest aspect of research in early detection. Researchers at North Carolina University have been successful in identifying a brain abnormality which could prove to be a strong link to autism in infants later in life. Scientists and researchers similarly believe that the findings could provide them with clues that can narrow down the therapeutic symptoms.

Cerebrospinal fluid is produced by the brain, and serves as a neural shock absorber, protecting the brain from bumping against the skull. Recently, scientists also came across the other functions of CSF; namely that it could act as a by-product for brain metabolism. Brain cells are linked to producing toxic products when they fire up the thinking cells.

The cerebrospinal fluid assists in filtering these by-products and is known to replenish the brain four times every day. However, researchers are doing further research to narrow down the relationship between excess cerebrospinal fluids and autism.

Previous researchers included only 55 children as subjects of the study. However, 343 infants have recently been enrolled into the latest study. It is still unclear as to whether excess fluid is responsible for autism in children.

Young infants who were later found to develop autism had more subarachnoid cerebrospinal fluid at the age of six months compared to their peers who did not develop autism traits.

The infants who were found to develop the most severe forms of autism symptoms were found to have greater amounts of cerebrospinal fluids— 24% higher at the age of six months. Researchers further tied the presence of excess fluids to poor motor skills.

Dr. Mark Shen, the first author of the study, said “We know that CSF is very important for brain health, and our data suggest that in this large subset of kids, the fluid is not flowing properly.”

We can’t yet say for certain that improper CSF flow causes autism.

It must be noted that although CSF could not be proven as the only factor giving rise to autistic traits, it is a step further toward unlocking the mystery behind autism. There is still room for improvement.

Researchers record fluid measures in infants that are six months old, and enter the data into a machine-learning algorithm that is capable of predicting which infants could end up with a diagnosis of autism later in life.

“Neuro-imaging CSF could be another tool to help paediatricians diagnose autism as early as possible,” said Shen.

Cerebrospinal Fluid and Causes of Autism
Article Name
Cerebrospinal Fluid and Causes of Autism
Recent research suggests that cerebrospinal fluids may hold a key to detecting signs of autism.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo
Never miss a story on Autism or ADHD.
  We will not share your details with any 3rd party.
The #1 Autism Parenting Magazine
Someone you know has Autism?
2017 (C) All rights reserved.
Thankfully, you have AutisMag!
The #1 Autism Parenting Magazine trusted by more than 22,000 Parents and Educators across 133 countries! Get your FREE Issue Now!
2016 (C) All rights reserved.
Thanks! Are you Ready?
Thanks for your interest! Click the button below to download our latest Issue # 33 of AUTISMAG. I bet you will Love this one :-)
Get the EXACT Tools & Strategies that has helped THOUSANDS of kids like Josh overcome challenges with Autism Spectrum.
Josh is a 7 year old with Non Verbal Autism. He now goes to a regular school in Brooklyn and has 2 good friends .
Thanks! Are you Ready?
I am Ash Bernard, an Autism Coach and the Founder of AutisMag. I have just sent you an email with the course content along with a download link to your first resource.
Make sure you check your Spam folder as well.
Till then, Cheers to your success :-)
Download this 35 Page Detailed PDF Guide that contains:
2018 (C) All rights reserved.
  • Things to keep in mind while Teaching
  • 11 HIGHLY Effective Teaching Strategies
  • Free Teaching Resources
  • 121 PECS Cards