Sunday, June 27, 2010

Towards a biological understanding of behavioural problems

Current ASD diagnostic approaches and intervention options are behavioral in nature, therefore, why is an understanding of ASD at the biological level relevant? This review, published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review, discusses some of the biological disruptions behind the behavioural symptoms of ASD. One of the core components behind the biology is the dopamine neural pathway. Dopamine is a chemical and sometimes hormone, in the nervous system that performs a number of tasks. It is often referred to as the reward hormone because of its involvement in rewarding and reinforcing behaviours. Other chemicals in the brain are discussed here also. Understanding the biology helps us to design drugs that can assist with current behavioural treatments, resulting in quicker learning and a decreased reliance on specialised services. With earlier diagnosis, earlier drug treatment can assist the body's own learning processes, before specialised training can commence. With many causes of ASD, treatments are unlikely to be terribly effective which address the cause. Effective treatments are likely to be those that address the affected biology.

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