The autistic brain: birth through adulthood

@article{Courchesne2004TheAB,
  title={The autistic brain: birth through adulthood},
  author={Eric Courchesne and Elizabeth Redcay and Daniel P. Kennedy},
  journal={Current Opinion in Neurology},
  year={2004},
  volume={17},
  pages={489-496}
}
Purpose of reviewWe discuss evidence of brain maldevelopment in the first years of life in autism and new neuroanatomical and functional evidence from later ages of development. Recent findingsHead circumference, an accurate indicator of brain size in children, was reported to jump from normal or below normal size in the first postnatal months in autistic infants to the 84th percentile by about 1 year of age; this abnormally accelerated growth was concluded by 2 years of age. Infants with… 
Brain development in autism: early overgrowth followed by premature arrest of growth.
  • E. Courchesne
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Mental retardation and developmental disabilities research reviews
  • 2004
TLDR
To discover the causes, neural substrates, early-warning signs and effective treatments of autism, future research should focus on elucidating the neurobiological defects that underlie brain growth abnormalities in autism that appear during these critical first years of life.
Autism at the beginning: Microstructural and growth abnormalities underlying the cognitive and behavioral phenotype of autism
TLDR
It is hypothesized that microstructural maldevelopment results in local and short distance overconnectivity in frontal cortex that is largely ineffective and in a failure of long-distance cortical–cortical coupling, and thus a reduction in frontal–posterior reciprocal connectivity.
Brain growth rate abnormalities visualized in adolescents with autism
TLDR
These findings reveal aberrant growth rates in brain regions implicated in social impairment, communication deficits and repetitive behaviors in autism, suggesting that growth rate abnormalities persist into adolescence.
No evidence of early head circumference enlargements in children later diagnosed with autism in Israel
TLDR
Comparisons of HC, height, and weight measurements between 66 toddlers who were later diagnosed with autism and 66 matched controls revealed that HC sizes and growth rates were not significantly larger in toddlers with autism even when stratifying the autism group based on verbal capabilities at the time of diagnosis.
Neuronal nucleus and cytoplasm volume deficit in children with autism and volume increase in adolescents and adults
TLDR
The most severe deficit of both neuronal nucleus and cytoplasm volume in 4-to 8-year-old autistic children appears to be a reflection of early developmental alterations that may have a major contribution to the autistic phenotype.
No evidence of early head circumference enlargements in children later diagnosed with autism in Israel
TLDR
Comparisons of HC, height, and weight measurements between 66 toddlers who were later diagnosed with autism and 66 matched controls revealed that HC sizes and growth rates were not significantly larger in toddlers with autism even when stratifying the autism group based on verbal capabilities at the time of diagnosis.
Brain morphometry of preschool age children affected by autism spectrum disorder: Correlation with clinical findings
TLDR
The results confirm that newer brain MRI techniques using semiautomatic brain segmentation can provide information useful for defining the differences between ASD patients and controls, particularly if they form part of an integrated approach between MRI and cognitive‐behavioral and genetic data.
Mapping Early Brain Development in Autism
TLDR
It is speculated that excess neuron numbers may be one possible cause of early brain overgrowth and produce defects in neural patterning and wiring, with exuberant local and short-distance cortical interactions impeding the function of large-scale, long-distance interactions between brain regions.
Brain overgrowth in autism during a critical time in development: implications for frontal pyramidal neuron and interneuron development and connectivity
TLDR
It is hypothesize that brain growth abnormalities are greatest in frontal lobes, particularly affecting large neurons such as pyramidal cells, and speculate how this abnormality might affect neurofunctional circuitry in autism.
The neuropathology of autism: where do we stand?
TLDR
Four key areas that warrant further evaluation of the neuropathology of autism are highlighted, including the cerebral cortex, cortical white matter, amygdala, brainstem and cerebellum.
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