Neurobiological Correlates of Autism: A Review of Recent Research

  title={Neurobiological Correlates of Autism: A Review of Recent Research},
  author={Helen E. Penn},
  journal={Child Neuropsychology},
  pages={57 - 79}
  • H. Penn
  • Published 1 February 2006
  • Psychology, Biology
  • Child Neuropsychology
This review paper integrates recent structural and functional imaging, postmortem, animal lesion, and neurochemical research about the pathophysiology of autism. An understanding of the neurobiological correlates of autism is becoming increasingly important as more children are diagnosed with the condition and funding for well-targeted interventions increases. Converging evidence suggests that autism involves abnormalities in brain volume, neurotransmitter systems, and neuronal growth. In… 

Understanding autism and related disorders: what has imaging taught us?

Autism: An overview

The causes of autism are inconclusive, however, from available data, genes and chromosome may involve in the pathogenesis and other factors are prenatal and postnatal environment such as food allergy, exposure to metals and dysfunction in amygdala.

The Role of the Cerebellum in Schizophrenia

Function and structure of the mirror neuron system in autism

Wide-spread brain abnormalities in autism were identified and functional anomalies were situated in the right, dorsal, premotor cortex, and the mirror neuron system, which demonstrated reduced functional connectivity with the inferior parietal lobule.

The Pathogenesis of Autism

  • T. Watts
  • Psychology, Biology
    Clinical medicine. Pathology
  • 2008
Although there is not a clear pathway of mechanisms directed towards a simple pathogenesis and an established link to autism on the symptomatic level; there are however several important theories which appear to offer an explanation to how autism develops.

What Can We Learn about Autism from Studying Fragile X Syndrome?

Critical issues such as the selectivity of ASD in disorders associated with intellectual disability, differences between autistic features and ASD diagnosis, and the relationship between ASD and anxiety in FXS patients and animal models are reviewed.

Executive Functions in Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Researchers have proposed that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized, at least in part, by executive function (EF) difficulties associated with the integrity of the frontal lobe. Given the



The neurobiological basis of autism from a developmental perspective

This paper reviews recent studies that have attempted to reveal the underlying causes of autism using a variety of techniques, and discusses how these recent advances have led to a growth dysregulation hypothesis of autism.

Inverse correlation between frontal lobe and cerebellum sizes in children with autism.

Certain cognitive and behavioural deficits suggest that the frontal lobe functions abnormally in patients with autism, but little anatomical research is available to either verify or refute this. In

The neurobiology of autism: New pieces of the puzzle

Abnormalities in organization of the cortical minicolumn, representing the fundamental subunit of vertical cortical organization, may underlie the pathology of autism and result in altered thalamocortical connections, cortical disinhibition, and dysfunction of the arousal-modulating system of the brain.

Neuropsychological frameworks for understanding autism.

  • R. Joseph
  • Psychology, Biology
    International review of psychiatry
  • 1999
Three competing neuropsychological theories of autism are reviewed: the executive dysfunction hypothesis, the weak central coherence hypothesis, and the limbic system hypothesis; each is evaluated critically with regard to the primary neuropsychology deficit hypothesized and the research findings that have been offered in support of it.

The neuroanatomy of autism: a voxel-based whole brain analysis of structural scans.

Structural MRI data on 15 high-functioning individuals with autistic disorder provides converging evidence of the physiological basis of social cognition.

Convergent neuroanatomical and behavioural evidence of an amygdala hypothesis of autism

It is found that people with high-functioning autism (HFA) show neuropsychological profiles characteristic of the effects of amygdala damage, in particular selective impairment in the recognition of facial expressions of fear, perception of eye-gaze direction, and recognition memory for faces.

The mesial-temporal lobe and autism: case report and review.

  • A. HoonA. Reiss
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Developmental medicine and child neurology
  • 1992
This case report describes a young male child with left temporal oligodendroglioma, who demonstrated a constellation of autistic behaviors meeting DSM-III-R criteria for pervasive developmental disorder, adding evidence to the hypothesis that damage to mesial-temporal structures at an early developmental period may lead to the autistic syndrome.

Autism as a disorder of complex information processing

An overview of the evolution of neurobehavioral models in autism is provided and findings leading to the conceptualization of this model for autism are presented.

A neurological model for childhood autism.

The behavioral and motor disturbances in childhood autism are analyzed to propose that the syndrome results from dysfunction in a system of bilateral neural structures that includes the ring of mesolimbic cortex located in the mesial frontal and temporal lobes, the neostriatum, and the anterior and medial nuclear groups of the thalamus.

Genetic and Neurodevelopmental Influences in Autistic Disorder

  • R. NicolsonP. Szatmari
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie
  • 2003
Overwhelming evidence now supports a neurobiological basis for autism, and studies examining the role of genetic factors in the brain abnormalities underlying autism will likely lead to further findings that will enhance the understanding of autism's causes.