Autism and the Brain: part three

(Cross posted at Say Anything: Reader Blogs.)

Here's part three. (See part one and part two.) This section includes a lot of the small squishy bits that aren't easy to get to but seem to have a large part in running the show. As in, these are the bits that will let you walk, talk, and chew gum all at the same time without hurting yourself.

Other Brain Structures and Functions

Limbic system functions and structures
Controls Emotions, Emotional Responses, Hormonal Secretions,Mood, Motivation, Pain and Pleasure Sensations

Amygdala
Arousal
Controls Autonomic Responses Associated with Fear
Emotional Responses
Hormonal Secretions
The amygdala is an almond shaped mass of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobes, medial to the hypothalamus and adjacent to the hippocampus.

Cingulate Gyrus
Coordinates Sensory Input With Emotions
Emotional Responses to Pain
Regulates Aggressive Behavior
A gyrus is a fold or "bump" in the brain. The cingulate gyrus is superior to the corpus callosum, located between the cingulate sulcus and the sulcus (groove or indentation) of the corpus callosum.

Fornix
Connects the Hippocampus to the Hypothalamus
The fornix is an arching, fibrous band of nerve fibers that extend from the hippocampus to the mamillary body of the hypothalamus and forms an arch over the thalamus.

Hippocampus
Consolidation of New Memories
Emotions
Navigation
Spatial Orientation
The hippocampus is a horseshoe shaped sheet of neurons located within the temporal lobes and adjacent to the amygdala.

Hypothalamus
Controls Autonomic Functions
Emotions
Endocrine Functions
Homeostasis
Motor Functions
Regulates Food and Water Intake
Regulates Sleep Wake Cycle.
The hypothalamus is located below the thalamus and posterior to the optic chiasma.

Olfactory Cortex
Conscious Awareness of Odors
Identification of Odors
Receives Sensory Information From the Olfactory Bulb
The olfactory cortex is located within the medial temporal lobes.

Thalamus
Motor Control
Receives Auditory, Somatosensory and Visual Sensory Signals
Relays Sensory Signals to the Cerebral Cortex
The thalamus is a large, dual lobed mass of grey matter cells located at the top of the brainstem, superior to the hypothalamus.


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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