THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Low levels of a stress hormone may be responsible for the obsession with routine and dislike for new experiences common in children with a certain type of autism.
U.K. researchers found that children with Asperger syndrome (AS) do not experience the normal twofold increase of cortisol upon waking up. Levels of the hormone in their bodies do continue to decrease throughout the day, though, just as they do in those without the syndrome.
The body produces cortisol, among other hormones, in stressful situations. Cortisol increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels, among other duties, to signal the body's need to adapt to changes occurring around it. It's thought that the increase shortly after waking helps jump-start the brain for the day ahead, the researchers said.