A small study that examined brains from children who died found abnormal patterns of cell growth in autistic children. The research bolsters evidence that something before birth might cause autism, at least in some cases.
Clusters of disorganised brain cells were discovered in tissue samples from brain regions important for regulating social functioning, emotions and communication – which can all be troublesome for children with autism.
The abnormalities were found in 10 of 11 children with autism, but in only one of 11 children without the disease. The children’s brains were donated to science after death; causes of death included drowning, accidents, asthma and heart problems.
The authors said the clusters, detected with sophisticated lab tests, are likely defects that occurred during the second or third trimesters of pregnancy.
“Because this points to the biological onset in prenatal life, it calls sharply into question other popular notions about autism,” including the scientifically debunked theory that childhood vaccines might be involved, said lead author Eric Courchesne, an autism researcher at the University of California, San Diego.
This simply confirms Simon Baron Cohen’s theories, doesn’t it? A hormonal influence during brain development in utero?