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  • 1.Autism,Aspergers, andthe BrainAdrienne Dorrah

2. Definition Autism and Aspergers are developmental disorders on alarger spectrum called Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Autism usually have significant language delays, socialand communication challenges, unusual behaviors andinterests; may have intellectual disability Aspergers may have social challenges and unusualbehaviors and interests; typically do not have languageproblems or intellectual disability - this is a link to a short video that explains the signsand symptoms related to ASDs.Source: (Center for Disease Control, 2012) 3. General Information 1 in 88 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder Typically diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 4 Becauseof the late diagnosis, brain development in autism is largely unstudied during the first 2 years of life the crucial periodSource: (Center for Disease Control, 2012) 4. Source: (Center for Disease Control, 2012) 5. Head Circumference Typically normal average at birth 25th %ile By 6-14 months, head circumference is at 84th %ile; growth slows down at end of 2nd year Brain volume of autistic 3-4 years old about 10% larger than normal (1.5 cm) Cerebrum, cerebellum, and amygdala also larger than normalSource: (Courchesne, 2004) 6. Source: (University of California, San Diego, 2003) 7. Gray Matter & White Matter In2-4 year olds, brain enlargement was foundto be due to significant increases in cerebralwhite matter (18%), cerebral gray matter (12%),cerebellar white matter (39%), but notcerebellar gray matter. Grey matter volume reaches a peak betweenages 4 & 6, then decreases constantly White matter volume increase in the firstdecade of life and stays relatively stableSources: (Courchesne 2004) (Predescu, et. al. 2010 8. Photo Credit: (Courchesne, et. al., 2007) 9. Brain dysfunction in autism is correlated with abnormal patterns of development affecting the whole brain as well as circuits involving the prefrontal cortex, the limbic system, and cerebellum. The amygdala and hippocampus increase in size through adolescence.Picture Source: (Health on Care) Source: Predescu et. al. 2010) 10. Affected Parts of the Brain The most consistent changes were in theamygdala, hippocampus, and functionallyrelated entorhinal cortex and mammillarybody. Using SPECT techniques, researchers reportedthat blood flow is significantly reduced in theleft temporal region in high-functioningautism, while a more recent study reported acorrelation between reduced temporal lobeblood flow and the severity of the disorder.Source: (Lathe, 2006) 11. Boys vs. Girls Girls with autism showed substantial reduction in cerebellar gray matter volumes as compared to normal girls as well as to boys with autism Brain development abnormalities appear to be more severe in girls than in boys with autism Every structural volume abnormality present in boys with autism was also present in girls with autismSource: (Courchesne, 2004) 12. Reference List Center for Disease Control. (29, March 2012). Data and statistics. Retrievedfrom site gave statistical information and data related to Autism. It also talks aboutdiagnosis and economic costs of autism. A basic chart with data about theprevalence of ASDs was extracted from this site. Center for Disease Control. (29, March 2012). Facts about asds. Retrieved from website gave general information about Autism Spectrum Disorders. Itdiscusses the different types of ASDs, signs and symptoms, treatments, and riskfactors, among other information. Courchesne, E. (2004). Brain development in autism: Early overgrowthfollowed by premature arrest of growth. Mental Retardation & DevelopmentalDisabilities Research Reviews, 10(2), 106-111.*This article discusses brain development and growth in autism. Circumference ofthe head, rate of growth, growth at different ages, and regional differences areall discussed. 13. References Contd Courchesne, E., K. Pierce, C. M. Schumann, E. Redcay, J. A. Buckwalter, D. P.Kennedy, and J. Morgan. "Mapping Early Brain Development in Autism."Neuron. 56.2 (2007): 399-413. Web. 13 Aug. 2012.*This article talks about findings during the first few years of life and argues thatearly brain overgrowth is a key factor in the onset of autism. The article alsoincludes graphs that map out data related to overgrowth in the brain. Health on Care. (n.d.). Autism causes, symptoms and treatment. Retrievedfrom website gave a brief overview of what autism is and the causes andsymptoms of autism. The site has a picture of the brain that shows which parts ofthe brain which are affected by autism. This photo was extracted for mypresentation. 14. References Contd Lathe, Richard. Autism, Brain and Environment. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers,2006.*This is a book about autism that discusses how autism affects the brain and theabnormalities and dysfunction associated with the disorder. The book also discusses howthe environment has an effect on the onset of autism. Predescu, E., Sipos, P., Sipos, R., Iftene, F., & Balzsi, R. (2010). BRAIN VOLUMES INAUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY -- A MRI STUDY. Journal Of Cognitive &Behavioral Psychotherapies, 10(1), 25-38.This article compared children with ASD and children with developmental delay. Itcompared total brain volume of both sets of children as well as volume of gray matterand white matter between the groups of children. University of California, San Diego. (2003). Ucsd researchers find brainovergrowth during first year of life in autism. Retrieved from website contained an article talking about brain growth in children with autismduring their first year of life. The website contained a photo comparing the size of anaverage brain with the size of a brain with autism. This photo was extracted for mypresentation.