Brain Tissue Adds to Evidence That Autism Begins Before Birth
By Karen Kaplan
March 27, 2014, 3:29 p.m.
Brain tissue samples from children with autism look markedly different than the brain tissue of other kids, researchers say.
The physiological differences could explain many of the well-known symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, and they suggest that the developmental problems that lead to autism begin before birth.
A group of scientists from around the country obtained frozen cubes of brain tissue from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center. The cubes, measuring one or two cubic centimeters, were taken from children ages 2 to 15 who had died.
The samples were from three brain regions in the cortex: the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the posterior superior temporal cortex and the occipital cortex. These parts of the brain play a role in social cognition, inhibition and abstract reasoning.