Cognition, Motor Control and Other Aspects of Autism: A Pragmatic Review

James W. Howell, Detlef H. Heck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Evolutionists point out that ASD’s continued presence in the human population may be because of the need for a few individuals to have extreme focus at the expense of human interaction. Regardless of the validity of this hypothesis, in a modern society autism places a considerable burden on the quality of life for patients and their caregivers. To date, the study of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has yielded no specific common cause. This has made diagnosis and treatment difficult. This chapter reviews a variety of variables that have over the past years received clinical and/or animal experimental support for their relation to autism. They range from neuropathologies affecting individual cells or the size of entire brain areas, to considerations of the role of inflammation or environmental factors and autism. Important clues may also come from comparative studies of subjects with ASD and with schizophrenia, two disorders known to be associated with neuropathologies in the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex. Clearly, ASD research now faces the considerable challenge of integrating large amounts of diverse data. Qualitatively new insights will most likely arise from integrative approaches considering interactions between prominent variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContemporary Clinical Neuroscience
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameContemporary Clinical Neuroscience
ISSN (Print)2627-535X
ISSN (Electronic)2627-5341

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement DHH is supported by grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH, NS060887, NS067201 and R01NS063009). The content of this publication is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Animal models
  • Autoimmunity
  • Brain development
  • Brain size
  • Cerebellum
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Dopamine
  • Environment
  • Evolution
  • Inflammation
  • Intelligence
  • Leaky gut
  • Memory
  • Minicolumns
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Pruning
  • Schizophrenia
  • Self
  • Sensorimotor and cognitive dysfunction
  • Sports
  • Stress


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