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New Brain Treatment for Autism: Understanding Autistic Brain Structure

[Free Webinar] Are you interested in a way to help mitigate the symptoms of autism? Do you want to find an effective way to target the root cause? Dr. Radawi of Tri-Cities Functional Medicine offers customized MeRT treatments that can help!

Click Here to Watch Our Free Webinar on MeRT Treatments!

If you or a loved one has autism, you may be interested in learning about how you can improve your disorder. The key to improving symptoms of autism and even reversing the condition is to understand the key differences between the brain of someone with autism and someone without it. People with autism have similar brain patterns and structure abnormalities, which allows for better treatments to be curated by medical professionals.

Magnetic e Resonance Therapy (MeRT) aims to treat the root cause of autism by targeting and treating irregularities in the brain. Put simply, it maps brain activity and provides a road-map to start reworking neuropathways. Here is an overview of autism, as well as a look at the studies that suggest the role brain structure has on the development of autism, and how MeRT therapy can help.

What is Autism?

Autism (also known as autism spectrum disorder or ASD) describes a neurodevelopmental disorder that includes specific symptoms. Although the symptoms appear differently in every person, and can vary depending on the type of autism they have, they typically include difficulties with social interactions, repetitive behaviors, expressing strong emotions, difficulty with change, immune system issues, sensory issues, gastrointestinal issues, and more. It’s a developmental disorder that is usually diagnosed in children, although some people may not know they are living with it until adulthood. As autism can affect brain development, early intervention is critical.

What are the Symptoms of Autism?

Autism occurs on a spectrum. Since autism can present differently in different people, it can be difficult to recognize. Some may have mild symptoms that may not be recognized for years, while it may be more severe in others.

There are two main categories of core symptoms that indicate autism. First, someone with autism may have challenges with social communication. This can include having trouble understanding or using language, gestures, or eye contact in ways usually appropriate. They may also struggle with recognizing or expressing emotions.

The other main category includes restricted or repetitive behaviors, including body movements such as rocking or spinning. A person with autism may also have ritualistic behaviors like toughing objects in a set order. Showing deep interest in a few key topics can also be a sign.

Some of other main signs and symptoms can include:

  • Feeling uncomfortable in social situations
  • Resistance to change
  • Inability to speak or delayed speech
  • Specific food preferences or aversions
  • Sensory processing differences
  • Immune system abnormalities
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Labile mood, increased tantrums, or emotional outbursts

These symptoms can be very mild and barely noticeable, or they can be acute and severely impact a person’s quality of life. They can also present very early in childhood. If this sounds familiar, you should consider seeing your medical professional.

How Does Brain Structure Affect Autism?

How Does Brain Structure Affect Autism Infographic

There has been an uptick in research being done surrounding autism in recent years. There have been lots of theories surrounding the causes, but it wasn’t until more recently that researchers have found answers. Autism can result from a genetic disposition to autism, environmental influences, and the structure of your brain. Although genetics have long been thought to be the root cause, this only plays a portion in the development of autism. Environmental risk factors can also increase the chances of someone developing autism, including prenatal exposure to air pollution, certain pesticides and herbicides, and other toxins.

On top of that, research indicates that autism can result from a disorder in the brain’s cortex, which controls problem-solving, reasoning, memory, sensation, and voluntary movement. Research revealed that the autistic brain could have different anatomy that results in a change in structure, growth, and function compared to neurotypical brains.

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Brain structure in people with autism typically differs in two key areas: the corpus callosum and the amygdala. The corpus callosum is responsible for the communication between both sides of the brain. This part of the brain is typically smaller in people with autism.

The amygdala is commonly used to form the neural system’s core for processing fear and threatening stimuli. This is where fear-related behaviors typically come from. People with autism may have changes in behavior that are more drastic than neurotypical people because of the amygdala is typically larger.


An autistic brain may also be different to a neurotypical brain due to functional differences. It’s clear that people with autism think, act, and experience the world differently. A 2007 Wake Forest study found that people with autism could have problems with brain cell connections in the left hemisphere of the brain that’s responsible for reading, writing, and calculations.


Some children with autism experience faster brain growth than average by 12 months, leading to language and cognitive skill problems. There are also age-specific changes in gene expression, molecular, synaptic, cellular, and circuit abnormalities for people with autism. This can affect the brain’s functionality and change how the person expresses themselves.

How Can MeRT Help Treat Autism?

MeRT Therapy is a brain treatment for autism that is essentially a specific and customized type of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It includes brain mapping to reveal any dysfunctions and provide treatment. This is done in four parts, including:

  1. Recording brain waves and heart data
  2. Using the data from the recordings to design a customized treatment plan
  3. Treating brain conditions using a magnetic coil to stimulate targeted neurons based on your treatment plan
  4. Monitoring progress with additional brain maps and adjusting the treatment plan if needed

These phases of MeRT allow medical professionals to understand what parts of the brain are not functioning as they’re supposed to and create a plan to target them. It’s an effective way to reach the root cause of the issue and alleviate the symptoms of autism.

MeRT is a relatively new treatment method for neurological disorders such as autism. However, this is well-suited for helping children because it’s noninvasive and effective. People with autism have different brain activity that could negatively affect how they experience the world, so treatments can help by healing the brain. Customized treatments allow children and adults with autism to get the most out of each appointment.

Dr. Radawi of Tri-Cities Functional Medicine utilizes this breakthrough treatment method to help improve people’s lives. MeRT fits right into his Functional Medicine approach as it targets the root cause of someone’s condition rather than putting a band-aid over the symptoms.

Patients with autism can do MeRT treatments to optimize their neurological and whole-body health. It works to rewire the brain and encourage neurotypical functions to mitigate symptoms of autism and help them live their best possible lives.

Want to learn more about how MeRT could help you or a loved one with autism? Take the first step:

Watch our free webinar to learn about our approach to the health concerns you are facing.

Schedule a free discovery call to discuss your health concerns and goals to see if our practice is a good fit for you.

After your discovery call – if we are a good fit, you’ll schedule a consultation with our doctor to dive deeper and formulate an individualized treatment plan for you.

Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout East Tennessee and into Virginia and North Carolina. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, and Abingdon, VA