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Autism and Brain Development

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Researchers at the University of North Carolina may have located an area of the brain that is overdeveloped in children with autism, reports CNN.

Using brain imaging, the researchers scanned 50 toddlers with autism and 33 without, and found that the amygdala, which controls the ability to read facial expressions and emotions, was 13 percent larger in children with the developmental condition.

"We believe that children with autism have normal-sized brains at birth but at some point, in the latter part of the first year of life, it [the amygdala] begins to grow in kids with autism," said the study’s lead author, Dr. Joseph Piven.

Chief of neurology at Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Barry Kosofsky, noted that while other studies have observed enlarged brains in children with autism, "this study finds that by age 2, the amygdala is already bigger and stops growing. . . It now poses the question: Are children born with autism or does it develop in the first two years of life?"

Experts are hopeful the finding will allow for early detection and intervention.

"By tracking the behaviors and brain volume growth from birth in high-risk babies, we can pinpoint when the brain first begins to grow larger than normal and provide therapy or medications to limit the growth or symptoms a lot earlier than we are doing now," said Piven.

4 Comments

If this is true, that the brain has developed early and then stops growing, doesn't that mean that these children should, in fact, outgrow this "condition" in time as the rest of the brain...catches-up?

There is probably a lot more to the research than just this. It would be great if they can help children faster than many other medical conditions that have never found cures or sustainable treatments.

I would love to see if it is our manditory inoculations from birth to 3 that are causing the brain to swell.

Couldn't this finding indicate that the amygdalae is growing abnormally large in an attempt to improve its ability to read those facial expressions and emotions?

It would be interesting to determine if innoculations were causing or exaccerbating autism. While the article refers to brain growth, it did not refer to swelling. These two things are very different.

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Recent Comments

  • S.Aigner: It would be interesting to determine if innoculations were causing read more
  • Stephen Holloway: Couldn't this finding indicate that the amygdalae is growing abnormally read more
  • rita: I would love to see if it is our manditory read more
  • AutismAdv: If this is true, that the brain has developed early read more

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