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brain area
nerve cells
brain cells
prefrontal cortex
sudden explosion
brain development
autistic child
emotional development
language skills
environmental factors
interesting facts
Autism Linked To A Higher Number Of Brain Cells In Key Brain Area
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Autism Linked to A Higher Number Of Brain Cells In Key Brain Area

Science has long looked for the key to explaining autism, including why there was a sudden explosion of the condition in recent decades. Various groups have blamed environmental factors, immunizations and even diet on the increase for the condition which affects thousands in varying levels with the majority being boys. Most children are not diagnosed with the condition until they are in their later toddler years and sometimes much later, leading the original theory to conclude that it was soething that was triggered during in the years following birth rather than something that happens during gestation. But, a new study may have stumbled on some interesting facts about the gestational brain development of those with autism.

In a very small study, scientists looked at the brains of thirteen boys finding that the boys who had been diagnosed with autism had brains that had nearly seventy percent more brain cells in certain areas of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that is responsible or socialization, emotional development, communication and language skills. These are the areas that are typically most difficult for the autistic child who may or may not develop language skills. Some may have the capability but refuse to speak much of the time. Others simply never learn to speak at all.

The increased number of nerve cells in these areas may prevent the brain from sending neural signals correctly, interfering with progress and development. It also appears that the increased number of brain cells develops during gestation not after birth as previously believed.

Of these brains, the autistic brains were heavier than the others, roughly twenty percent higher. That fact surprised the scientists conducting the study who assumed that the number of increased brain cells would push the overall weight of the brain to as much as thirty percent higher. Now they have even more questions than what they started with

The study was limited in scope and size because of a lack of brains to be studied. Unfortunately, the brains must come from deceased children.

In the brain, all of the parts are in place before birth with the exception of two that continue to develop after the baby has been born. Those two are the hippocampus which is responsible for short and long term memory as well as spatial navigation and the olfactory bulb which is responsible or the development of odor recognition and memory. The study is a major blow to the theory that imunizations and other sources of trace heavy metals trigger autism in children by killing off brain cells since it is an overabundance of brain cells that is at issue.


Street Talk

Great article! You offer clear insights into this health issue. I admit that I had little knowledge of the causes of autism. After reading your article I have a better perspective on this difficult decease.

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  about 1 decade ago
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