In the News

Brain Grows Faster in Children With Autism

by | May 14th, 2011

The brains of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are larger than those without autism, a difference that appears related to increased rates of brain growth before the age of 2 years, a new imaging study shows.

Investigators found that early brain overgrowth seen in children with ASD is associated with an increase in cortical surface area or folding on the surface of the brain but not with cortical thickness.

The study also showed that this generalized cerebral cortical enlargement in children with ASD is observed at 2 years of age and continues to be enlarged at 4 to 5 years of age.

“We still don’t know when the brain overgrowth begins or what accounts for it, she said.

“This study suggests that brain overgrowth begins before 2 years of age and raises the possibility that the onset of brain overgrowth coincides with the onset of autism symptoms, between 6 and 12 months of age. If we can understand what is causing brain overgrowth in young children with autism, this could shed light on the basic biology of autism and provide clues to potential treatments.”

“The findings will help scientists understand the neurobiology and the causal factors related to autism,” lead study author Heather Cody Hazlett, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The study is published in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Fran Lowry

J. Kyle Mathews, MD

Plano OBGYN Associates

Plano Urogynecology Associates.

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Dr. J. Kyle Mathews is an expert in the field of Urogynecology, minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery, and reconstructive gynecologic surgery. Dr. Mathews is board certified and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the American College of Surgeons. With over two decades of experience, Dr. Mathews is one of the most experienced surgeons in north Texas.

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