From Toddlers to Adults: The Changing Landscape of the Brain in Autism

Eric Courchesne, Sara Jane Webb and Cynthia M. Schumann

in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371826
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965212 | DOI:
From Toddlers to Adults: The Changing Landscape of the Brain in Autism

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  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience


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Recent research in early brain development in autism has led to the theory that autism involves early brain overgrowth followed by arrested growth and potential degeneration. If the early brain overgrowth theory of autism is valid, then it would provide a central organizing principle for a host of research into genetic and nongenetic causes, avenues for treatment, animal models, and early identification. This chapter reviews the head circumference and MRI evidence relevant to this theory, and highlights areas of evidence that remain to be gathered to refine or refute it. It discusses new information from functional neuroimaging and postmortem studies that speak to this theory. It suggests future directions in research into the early developmental neuroanatomical bases of autism, including research that aims to define relationships between brain growth abnormality in autism spectrum disorders and clinical, treatment, and etiological factors.

Chapter.  17859 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ; Neurology ; Neuroscience

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