The Neuroscience of Autism

The Neuroscience of Autism

1st Edition - May 27, 2022

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  • Editor: Rajesh Kana
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128167366
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128163931

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The Neuroscience of Autism provides a comprehensive accounting of autism spectrum disorders by integrating scientific findings from behavioral, cognitive and neurobiological research. The book begins by defining autism, identifying characteristics and prevalence, exploring its history, and then moving on to the cognitive and social bases of behavioral symptoms, the brain bases of behavioral and cognitive symptoms, and finally, intervention practices. It examines theoretical models such as weak central coherence, enhanced perceptual functioning, and the extreme male brain hypothesis. Finally, the book addresses the increased attention on the brain connectivity model of autism, looking at the synchronization of brain activity across different brain areas, the causal influence of a brain region on another, and white matter cable connections in the brain.

Key Features

  • Delves into the increasing prevalence of autism in the United States
  • Focuses on screening tools for early identification
  • Discusses the neuroanatomical differences seen in individuals with autism
  • Examines the inferences gained from functional MRI studies of autism


Researchers, clinicians, and students studying autism and other developmental disabilities in psychology and neuroscience

Table of Contents

  • Cover image
  • Title page
  • Table of Contents
  • Copyright
  • Dedication
  • Contributors
  • Foreword
  • Introduction to the neuroscience of autism
  • Chapter 1: History of autism
  • Abstract
  • Early accounts and descriptions of autism
  • Autism in the DSM
  • Current characterization of ASD
  • Prevalence rates of autism over time
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 2: Definition, prevalence, and behavioral symptoms of autism
  • Abstract
  • Definition of autism
  • Must ASD manifest in childhood?
  • Prevalence of ASD
  • Autism is a spectrum disorder
  • Social (pragmatic) communication disorder
  • Behavioral challenges
  • Beyond the diagnostic criteria for ASD
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 3: Early identification and diagnosis of autism
  • Abstract
  • Screening for autism spectrum disorder in young children
  • Diagnostic assessment for autism
  • Conclusions and future directions
  • Appendix A
  • Appendix B
  • Appendix C
  • Appendix D
  • References
  • Chapter 4: Social, cognitive, perceptual, and other models of autism spectrum disorder
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Theory-of-mind deficit hypothesis
  • EF dysfunction hypothesis
  • Complex information processing difficulty hypothesis
  • Weak central coherence (WCC) hypothesis
  • Enhanced perceptual functioning hypothesis
  • Temporal binding deficit hypothesis
  • Social-motivation hypothesis
  • Extreme male brain hypothesis
  • Bayesian priors hypothesis: Perception as inference
  • Multisensory integration deficit hypothesis
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 5: The neuroanatomy of autism
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Assessing neuroanatomy postmortem and in vivo
  • Large-scale brain structure across development
  • Volume- and surface-based measures of neuroanatomy
  • The regional neuroanatomy of ASD
  • Neuropathology
  • Neuroanatomical heterogeneity
  • References
  • Chapter 6: Brain function and brain connectivity in autism
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Functional activation in ASD
  • Functional connectivity
  • Functional connectivity in ASD
  • Overview of disrupted connectivity hypothesis
  • Clinical implications
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 7: White matter microstructure in autism
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Introduction to diffusion-weighted MRI (DW-MRI)
  • Voxel-based analyses research in ASD
  • Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) research in ASD
  • Tractography research in ASD
  • Connectomics
  • Behavioral consequences of disrupted structural connectivity in ASD
  • Developmental trajectories of white matter in ASD
  • Brain asymmetry/lateralization in ASD
  • Gray-white matter boundary in ASD
  • White matter sex differences in ASD
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 8: Animal models of autism
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Characteristics of autism in humans
  • The causes of autism
  • Animal models of autism
  • Examining autism symptoms in rodents
  • Social interaction assays
  • Social communication assays
  • Assays of restricted, repetitive behaviors
  • Evaluating comorbidities and autism-associated symptoms
  • Methodological considerations
  • Conclusions and future directions
  • References
  • Chapter 9: Genetic etiologies of autism: Unpacking pathogenic mechanisms and characteristics
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • ASD genetics primer
  • ASD-related genetic syndromes
  • Copy number variations (CNVs)
  • De novo protein-coding likely gene-disrupting mutations
  • Common variation and polygenic risk
  • Linking ASD genetics to phenotypes
  • The future of genetic discovery
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 10: Cellular and molecular neurobiology of autism spectrum disorder
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgment of funding sources
  • Introduction
  • Genetic liability for ASD
  • Human pluripotent stem cell models of ASD
  • Deriving neurons from iPSCs to model ASD
  • Deriving astrocytes and oligodendrocytes from iPSC models
  • Deriving microglia from iPSC models
  • Using iPSCs to derive cerebral organoids
  • ASD-associated phenotypes observed in patient iPSC-derived models of neurodevelopment
  • Altered cellular metabolism: Oxidative stress in ASD models
  • Altered neuronal development: Abnormalities in neuronal production and morphology
  • Altered neuronal function: Changes in synapse production associated with ASD
  • Altered neuronal function: Disruption of the balance between neuronal excitation and inhibition
  • Altered glial production and function: An emerging role of glia in the pathogenesis of ASD
  • Limitations of modeling neurodevelopmental disorders with iPSCs
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 11: Overview of autism interventions
  • Abstract
  • Overview of autism interventions
  • Behavioral/cognitive interventions
  • Mindfulness-based approaches
  • Social skills interventions
  • Biological/pharmaceutical interventions
  • Other approaches
  • Interventions for adults with ASD
  • Implications for researchers and clinicians
  • Resources on evidence-based treatments for ASD
  • References
  • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 296
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2022
  • Published: May 27, 2022
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128167366
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128163931

About the Editor

Rajesh Kana

Rajesh Kana’s research focuses on social and cognitive affective neuroscience, neuroimaging, autism spectrum disorders, brain, and language. Dr Kana and his colleagues are the first to combine three different measures of the brain—anatomy, the connectivity between different brain regions, and levels of a neurochemical—to distinguish people with autism spectrum disorder from matched, typically-developing peers.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, Department of Psychology and Director, Center for Innovative Research in Autism, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

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