Neurobiological abnormalities in the first few years of life in individuals later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder: a review of recent data

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

C S Allely, C Gillberg, P Wilson

BACKGROUND: Despite the widely-held understanding that the biological changes that lead to autism usually occur during prenatal life, there has been relatively little research into the functional development of the brain during early infancy in individuals later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Objective. This review explores the studies over the last three years which have investigated differences in various brain regions in individuals with ASD or who later go on to receive a diagnosis of ASD.

METHODS: We used PRISMA guidelines and selected published articles reporting any neurological abnormalities in very early childhood in individuals with or later diagnosed with ASD.

RESULTS: Various brain regions are discussed including the amygdala, cerebellum, frontal cortex, and lateralised abnormalities of the temporal cortex during language processing. This review discusses studies investigating head circumference, electrophysiological markers, and interhemispheric synchronisation. All of the recent findings from the beginning of 2009 across these different aspects of defining neurological abnormalities are discussed in light of earlier findings.

CONCLUSIONS: The studies across these different areas reveal the existence of atypicalities in the first year of life, well before ASD is reliably diagnosed. Cross-disciplinary approaches are essential to elucidate the pathophysiological sequence of events that lead to ASD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavioural Neurology
Volume2014
Pages (from-to)210780
ISSN0953-4180
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • Brain/physiopathology, Child Development Disorders, Pervasive/diagnosis, Child, Preschool, Humans, Infant, Language

ID: 217946884