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The Neurochemical Basis of Autism

Edited by Gene J. Blatt
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York Inc., New York, NY, United States
Published: 14th Dec 2009
Dimensions: w 156mm h 234mm d 19mm
Weight: 615g
ISBN-10: 1441912711
ISBN-13: 9781441912718
Barcode No: 9781441912718
Withtherecentlyperceivedincreaseinincidenceofautismandtherealizationthat "autism"mayactuallybe"autisms"withsubsetsofaffectedindividuals,researchers have been pursuing the possibility that there may be multiple etiologies for the disorder.Althoughmostautismstudieshavefocusedongeneticsandadvancedn- roimaging,thereisapaucityofresearchaimedatdeterminingtheneurochemical basisofautism.Identifyingcoreneuralsubstratesorkeybiomarkersisessentialto understandingthemechanisticbasisthatmayinpartunderlie"autisms."Alterations inmolecules,proteins,receptors,andsynapticelementsaresomeofthecontrib- ingsubstratesthatcouldresultinaltereddevelopmentalprocesses,changedsynaptic function,andaberrationsinconnectivity.Itisnowapparentthatmultiplebrainareas are affected in autism, and neuropathological defects have been described within corticalandsubcorticalnetworks.Althoughrecentprogresshasbeenmadeinid- tifyingsomeofthegenesthatmayunderliethedisorder,muchattentionhasalso beengiventoepigeneticand/orenvironmentalfactorsthatmaycontributetosubsets ofautisticindividuals. The contributors to this book were hand selected because of their expertise in their respective ?elds. Individually each chapter presents a unique perspective into the clinical, developmental, neurochemical, and/or physical chemical basis of autism. The contributing authors summarize current research ?ndings in their respective areas and also present novel ideas and propose hypotheses and p- sible mechanisms that may be operative during development and the potential consequencesofhavingdefectsinspeci?cmolecules,receptors,orgenes. Thesubtitle"FromMoleculestoMinicolumns"wasinsertedbecauseofmuch recent attention given to alterations in the basic organization of mini- or mic- columns of neurons in cerebral cortical areas in autism. These especially include prefrontalcorticalareasthatundergoanovergrowthduringearlypostnataldevel- mentinmanyindividualswithautism.Tothisend,theworldrenownedDr.Alan Peters,theneuroanatomistthatoriginallydescribedmini-ormicro-columnaror- nizationinthecerebralcortex,wasrecruitedtowriteachapterinthisbookgiving hisexpertperspectiveontheissueinautism. The book begins with highly respected clinician, Dr. Margaret L. Bauman, DirectoroftheLADDERSclinicintheBostonarea,withaclinicalandmedicalp- spectiveofautismdiscussingetiologies,clinicalpresentation,earlyidenti?cation, vii viii Preface advancementsinmedicalcare,andassociateddisorders. Inthechapter"TheMale Prevalence in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Hypotheses on its Neurobiological Basis",ItalianresearchersDrs.FlavioKellerandLilianaRutapresentneuroch- ical hypotheses as the basis for the predominance of male prevalence in autism discussing the possible roles of estrogen, testosterone, oxytocin, and vasopressin in the organization of brain circuits and hemispheric specialization. Psychiatrist Dr. Ricardo Vella relates neuropathologies in autism, in the limbic and cereb- lar regions, to speci?c behaviors and presents a developmental perspective and hypotheses regarding emotional and attachment behaviors in autistic individuals.

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From the reviews: "In this much needed book aimed at researchers, scientists and clinicians, Blatt (anatomy and neurobiology, Boston U) assembles 15 chapters that focus on the neurochemical basis of autism a little studied topic. ... Lay abstracts and summaries at the end are aimed at parents, siblings and caregivers." (SciTech Book News, June, 2010)