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February 22/29, 2012

Neuron Number in Children With Autism

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Janssen Research and Development, Beerse, Belgium (Dr Anghelescu); and Department of Psychiatry, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany (Dr Dettling) (michael.dettling@charite.de).

JAMA. 2012;307(8):783-784. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.191

To the Editor: Dr Courchesne and colleagues performed a postmortem study that found an increased number of neuronal cells in children with autism compared with controls.1 Some points are worth further discussion.

It would be important to know whether and how the diagnosis was established during the lifetime of the children under investigation. The diagnosis of autism was made by interviewing the parents retrospectively before performing the autopsy, but how did these children come to the attention of the brain and tissue banks at all?