Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Observe Abnormalities In Brains Of Autism Patients

Date:
February 13, 2002
Source:
American Academy Of Neurology
Summary:
Withdrawing from social interaction and communication is a hallmark of autism. Now, researchers have identified structural differences in the brains of autism patients that might explain the behavor.

ST. PAUL, MN – Withdrawing from social interaction and communication is a hallmark of autism. Now, researchers have identified structural differences in the brains of autism patients that might explain the behavor.

Related Articles


Using computerized imaging, researchers have observed minicolumnar abnormalities in the frontal and temporal lobes of autistic patients. The study by scientists at the Medical College of Georgia, the University of South Carolina, and the Downtown VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, is reported in the current issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Autism is a severe and pervasive developmental disturbance of childhood. The disorder is characterized by disturbances in social interactions and communication, as well as stereotyped patterns of interests, activities and behaviors.

A minicolumn is a basic organizational unit of brain cells and connective wiring allowing an individual to take in information, process it, and respond. Thus, any changes in size, shape or location of the minicolumn will have an effect on the processing capacity of the brain. For the study, scientists examined the brain tissue of nine autistic patients and nine controls using five measures: columnar width, peripheral neuropil space, mean interneuronal distance, compactness, and gray level index.

According to study author Manuel F. Casanova, MD, a neurologist and neuropathologist at the Downtown VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, the examinations revealed that the cell minicolumns of autistic patients are significantly smaller, but there are many more of them.

Evolution of the brain has kept minicolumn size essentially constant while increasing total cortical surface area, which in larger brains has resulted in more columns per brain and thus more processing units and increased complexity, Casanova said.

This would be consistent with an existing theory that autistic individuals suffer a chronic state of overarousal, and portray abnormal behaviors to diminish the arousal. The lack of lateral inhibitors, contained in the cortex, would affect an individual's ability to discriminate between competing sensory information, said Casanova. Researchers do not yet know whether the difference in the number and size of the minicolumns is attributable to a gene mutation or some other factor.

###

The study was funded by grants from the Theodore and Vada Stanley Foundation and the VA Merit Review Board. Families donated the brain tissue used n the study.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of 18,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its web site at http://www.aan.com.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy Of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy Of Neurology. "Researchers Observe Abnormalities In Brains Of Autism Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020213075519.htm>.
American Academy Of Neurology. (2002, February 13). Researchers Observe Abnormalities In Brains Of Autism Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020213075519.htm
American Academy Of Neurology. "Researchers Observe Abnormalities In Brains Of Autism Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020213075519.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Researchers at University of Texas at Austin found a link between binge-watching TV shows and feelings of loneliness and depression. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

BuzzFeed (Jan. 28, 2015) "No, I&apos;m not mad. Why, are you mad?" Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins