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

From Toddlers to Adults: The Changing Landscape of the Brain in Autism
Chapter:
From Toddlers to Adults: The Changing Landscape of the Brain in Autism
Author(s):

Eric Courchesne

, Sara Jane Webb

, and Cynthia M. Schumann

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195371826.003.0040
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date: 20 November 2017

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.

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