Intuition and autism: a possible role for Von Economo neurons

@article{Allman2005IntuitionAA,
  title={Intuition and autism: a possible role for Von Economo neurons},
  author={John Allman and Karli K. Watson and Nicole A. Tetreault and Atiya Y. Hakeem},
  journal={Trends in Cognitive Sciences},
  year={2005},
  volume={9},
  pages={367-373}
}

Figures from this paper

Von Economo neurons: A review of the anatomy and functions

Some researchers have shown that selective destruction of VENs in the early stages of frontotemporal dementia implies that they are involved in empathy, social awareness, and self-control which are consistent with evidence from functional imaging.

No reduction of spindle neuron number in frontoinsular cortex in autism

Selective reduction of Von Economo neuron number in agenesis of the corpus callosum

It is concluded that in agenesis of the corpus callosum the reduction in the number of VENs is not the direct result of the failure of this structure to develop, but may instead be another consequence of the genetic disruption that caused the agENesis.

Evolutionary appearance of von Economo’s neurons in the mammalian cerebral cortex

Venvon Economo’s neurons (VENs) are large, spindle-shaped projection neurons in layer V of the frontoinsular (FI) cortex, and the anterior cingulate cortex that are selectively affected in a behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia, thus associating VENs with the social brain.

The von Economo neurons in the frontoinsular and anterior cingulate cortex

Selective destruction of VENs in early stages of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) implies that they are involved in empathy, social awareness, and self‐control, consistent with evidence from functional imaging.

Functional anatomy of cortical areas characterized by Von Economo neurons

The results show that cortical areas containing VENs form a network of frontoparietal functional connectivity that is primarily involved in functions of saliency detection and self-regulation.
...

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