First published 6/8/11 on The Doctor Weighs In
By Dov Michaeli
In a post on 6/6/11 (What’s going on in the autistic brain?) I described the surprising discovery that gene expression in the frontal lobe of autistic brain was indistinguishable from that of the temporal lobe; in the normal brain they differ markedly. This difference develops in the embryo during development of the brain. So the lack of difference signifies some failure of neurological development in utero. Autism Spectrum Disorder most likely has multiple causes, genetic as well as environmental. It is remarkable therefore, that all those diverse causes end up with the same neurobiological deficiency. One possible explanation could be that whatever the etiology (cause) of the disease, something very basic goes awry as a result – as basic as the supply of energy to the developing brain. After all, everything in the body requires a fuel supply, including the processes responsible for differentiation from a neuronal stem cell to specialized frontal cortex or temporal cortex neurons.