Autism and the Brain: part one

(Cross posted at Say Anything: Reader Blogs.)

Just in case you didn't know April is autism awareness month. Sooner or later the same stories about claims that mercury causes autism that we get every year will surface. Lets not go down that road shall we? When it comes to understanding autism I like to start with the brain and work my way outwards to the whole person. So lets start at the top and work our way down shall we? (See part two and part three.)

Cerebrum functions and structures
Determines Intelligence
Personality
Interpretation of Sensory Impulses
Motor Function
Planning and Organization
Touch Sensation
The cerebrum is located in the anterior portion of the forebrain. It is divided into two hemispheres that are connected by the corpus callosum.

Frontal lobes
Motor Functions, Higher Order Functions, Planning, Reasoning, Judgement, Impulse Control, Memory
The frontal lobes are the anterior portion of the cerebral cortex.
Broca's Area
Controls Facial Neurons and Speech Production, Understanding Language
Broca's area is located in the left frontal lobe, around the opercular and triangular sections of the inferior frontal gyrus. Near the primary motor cortex.

Occipital lobes
Cognition
Information Processing
Pain and Touch Sensation
Spatial Orientation
Speech
Visual Perception
The parietal lobes are anterior to the occipital lobes and posterior to the central sulcus (fissure) and frontal lobes.


Parietal lobes
Controls Vision
Color Recognition
The occipital lobes are the most caudal portion of the cerebral cortex.

Temporal lobes
Emotional Responses, Hearing, Memory, Speech
The temporal lobes are anterior to the occipital lobes and lateral to the Fissure of Sylvius.
Wernicke's Area
Language Comprehension
Wernicke's area is located in the left temporal lobe posterior to the primary auditory complex.


Sources and Resources
(Inclusion in this list does not indicate endorsement.)


Brain
A Guide to Brain Anatomy, Function and Symptoms
Guide to Brain Anatomy, Function and Symptoms: The Cerebellum And The Brain Stem
Anatomy of the Brain
Brain Function: Language
Brain Functions and Map
Broca/Wernicke image
Broca's Area, Wernicke's Area, And Other Language Processing Areas In The Brain (1)
Broca's Area, Wernicke's Area, And Other Language Processing Areas In The Brain (2)
Functional Divisions of the Cerebral Cortex
Glossary of Brain Regions
Glossary of Neurology Terms
Hypothalamus
Limbic System
What is the Cerebellum?

Autism
Autism and the Cerebellum: A Neurophysiological Basis for Intervention
Autism Fact Sheet (NINDS)
Autism Fact Sheet (Child Development Institute)
Autism For Kids
Autism Spectrum Disorders (Pervasive Developmental Disorders) (NIMH)
Autistic Brain Has Difficulty Coordinating
"A growing number of scientists believe autism may be caused by a lack of coordination in the brain.
'Some people think that autism is a disruption of social function,' says Marcel Just of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. 'But I think it's much more widespread. It's a disruption of many kinds of behaviors that require good cortical coordination.'"
Clue to autism revealed
"Researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute have found that the areas of the brain responsible for emotion and memory are abnormally large in boys with autism."
Current Research on Autism (Child Development Institute)

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