New Research Suggests Additional Brain Cells among Autistic Children

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Various developmental disorders are now affecting many children across the globe. Emotional burden are experienced by those parents who have children that have some developmental defects or delays, and because of this, demands on treatment modalities which can cure such disorders are increasing. As a response, medical health professionals and researchers are doing their extensive efforts in order to conduct further studies and discover new treatment for these disorders. Recently, researchers discovered that there is more brain cells found among the brain of autistic child as to those who are not, according to a study.

Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that Autism can be observed among children during the first three years of their life. Children with autism have difficulty with non-verbal communication, wide range of social interactions and various activities which include element of play and socialization.

According to the statistics of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that between 1 in 80 and 1 in 240 with an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an ASD. ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, yet are on average 4 to 5 times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.  However, we need more information on some less studied populations and regions around the world.

If 4 million children are born in the United States every year, approximately 36,500 children will eventually be diagnosed with an ASD.  Assuming the prevalence rate has been constant over the past two decades, we can estimate that about 730,000 individuals between the ages of 0 to 21 have an ASD.

The new research which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association involves the analysis and examination of postmortem brain tissue of about 12 boys who belong to the age group between 2 to 16 years old when they died. These twelve postmortem brain tissues came from 6 boys who had autism, and another 6 boys who had not suffered from the said disorder.

The researchers found out that the brain tissues of those boys who ad autism had on average an additional 67 per cent more brain cells or neurons as to those boys who do not had the disorder. In addition, the researchers take a deeper look into details, and they discovered the specific location in the brain where the additional brain cells were found. There were about 79 per cent more neurons noted in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and about 29 per cent additional neurons were found in the mesial prefrontal cortex part of the brain among those children who had autism.

The prefrontal cortex of the brain has vital functions in planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, decision making and moderating correct social behavior. The structure of the brain is very important in terms of the development and functioning of an individual, any excess or any deficit could mean a disorder, according to study author Eric Courchesne, a professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Autism Center of Excellence.

Moreover, the findings of the research will open the idea of conducting further studies to develop a more effective treatment modality for autism.





  1. What do you mean by saying, “it is estimated that between 1 in 80 and 1 in 240 with an average of 1 in 110 children.” Statistically, the statement is either incorrect or incomplete.

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