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.

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 September 19, 2014 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 September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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