Fever Offers Autistic Children a Temporary Reprieve

January 05, 2008 12:02 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A recent study has found that high temperatures can improve an autistic child’s ability to interact, apparently by re-establishing nerve cell communication in the brain.

30-Second Summary

Researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute looked at 30 subjects aged 2 to 18 years old who were experiencing fevers of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Over 80 percent showed some enhancement of behavior and interactive skills and 30 percent showed dramatic improvements.

The cause of autism is still a mystery. Nor is there any definitive medical treatment for this condition, which affects as many as 1.5 million Americans.

However, some scientists, including Michael Murias of the University of Washington, who presented a paper on the subject at a 2006 Society for Neuroscience meeting, believe autism is the result of the lack coordination between all areas of the brain.

Other speculative causes are gene variants, vaccinations containing the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, and an excess of television watching.

The symptoms of autism affect different people with varying levels of intensity. Autism therefore encompasses a spectrum of disorders, stretching from those with mild communication difficulties at one end to autistics who need care assistance for their entire lives at the other.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, autistic children tend to experience difficulty with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors or interests.

Headline Links: Fevers open a window to communication

Reference Material: What is autism?

Related Links: Possible causes

Thimerosal vaccination
Autism and difficulties conceiving

Related Links: CDC, Cure Autism Now, and


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