Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Shed Light On Early Brain Growth And Autism

Date:
July 24, 2002
Source:
American Academy Of Neurology
Summary:
Children with autism exhibit abnormal brain development during the very early years of life, according to two separate studies published in the current issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Both studies used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanning technology to analyze brain volume in those with autism, and age-matched control groups.

ST. PAUL, MN -- Children with autism exhibit abnormal brain development during the very early years of life, according to two separate studies published in the current issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Related Articles


Both studies used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanning technology to analyze brain volume in those with autism, and age-matched control groups.

In the first study, which set out to explore anatomical differences in the brains of very young autistic children, the brain volume measurements of 45 autistic children, ages 3 and 4, were compared with those of 26 children with typical development and 14 children with developmental delay. "We found that the autistic children had significantly increased cerebral volumes compared to typically developing children and developmentally delayed children," according to study author Stephen R. Dager, MD, with the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, WA. The average cerebral volume -- including measures of the cerebrum, cerebellum, amygdala, and hippocamus -- was 10 percent larger in autistic children than in typically developing children. The difference was 12.5 percent between autistic and developmentally delayed children. He said the study shows that abnormal brain development processes occur very early in autistic children.

Dager said more research is now underway to better ascertain the causes of the abnormalities as well as the disease's progression. The children in the study will undergo brain reimaging at age 6 to 7 years old, which will make it possible to track changes in behavioral symptoms and corresponding brain volume.

The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute on Deafnesss and Communication Disorders, and the Cure Autism Now Foundation (CAN).Using a separate sample, researchers at the same university hypothesized that brain growth among autistic patients is rapid in the early years of life, but brain size decreases slightly around age 12, about the same time that normally developing children experienced a growth spurt in cerebral volume. The study showed that by adolescence and adulthood, brain volume levels out to normal size.

The study measured cerebral volume and head circumference of 67 autistic children and adults and 83 healthy controls, ranging in age from 8 to 46 years old. Among those with autism age 12 and under, average brain volume was 5 percent larger than in the controls. By age 12, there was no difference in volume, but head circumference was 1 to 2 percent greater in autistic individuals than controls, whether children or adults. "This increased head circumfrence among adults as well as children with autism is further suggestion of accelerated growth in brain volume among autistic children," according to study author Elizabeth H. Aylward, Ph.D.

Aylward ventured that the accelerated brain growth in children with autism may be a sign of increased numbers of neurons and premature growth of synapses. She acknowledged that the lack of participants under age 8 was a limitation of the study because they were unable to determine when the brain enlargement began.

###The study was supported by the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the University of Pittsburgh's Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism.

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 Shed Light On Early Brain Growth And Autism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020724080815.htm>.
American Academy Of Neurology. (2002, July 24). Researchers Shed Light On Early Brain Growth And Autism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020724080815.htm
American Academy Of Neurology. "Researchers Shed Light On Early Brain Growth And Autism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020724080815.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