Lifestyle & Belief

Study: Autistic children may have too many brain cells


Suxie, 6, who suffers from autism hits himself immediately after being untied to a chair as John Davies (L) looks on at the Bright Connection centre in Sanya, on October 26, 2009 in China's southernmost island province of Hainan. The centre was set up in 2004 by US couple John and Maggie Davies from Colorado who moved to the sub-tropical island in the mid-1990's as consultants for its booming hotel industry but were moved by what they saw as the huge needs of local disabled children, eventually adopting in 1997 an abandoned local baby girl, severely disabled by cerebral palsy and autism, and now care for and provide therapy for up to 25 children with cerebral palsy, autism, or both.



A study done by the Autism Center of Excellence has found that children with autism may have more brain cells in their prefrontal cortex than those without the condition, reported USA Today.

The scientists from the University of California, San Diego conducted a post-mortem analysis of the brains of 13 boys and found that those with autism had 67 percent more brain cells than those who did not, according to CNN. Their brains were also an average of 18 percent heavier.

The findings back up previous studies that suggest autism begins in the womb, reported The Independent. The abundance of neurons, which are formed before birth, occured in the part of the brain that controls social relationships and communication skills - generally, autistic children have problems in these areas.

The research was published in the Journal of American Medical Association, reported the News.Com.Au.

According to the Autism Society, as many as one in 110 children are diagnosed with autism, and the disorder is three to four times more common in boys. It is also the fastest growing developmental disability, with a 1,148 percent growth rate.

More from GlobalPost: South Korean study reveals high autism rates