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January 2008

No New Neurobiology Yet for Autism

Arch Neurol. 2008;65(1):155. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2007.25

Minshew and Williams1 argue for a “new neurobiology of autism” that identifies it as “a large-scale neural systems disorder with alterations in cortical systems connectivity.” The basis for this conclusion are studies that compare matched groups of autistic and nonautistic subjects.

Their hypothesis is interesting, but they omit discussion of counter examples relevant to their hypothesis. If autism links to abnormalities in “cortical systems connectivity,” then this requires that nonautistic individuals do not show such abnormalities. However, these are widely found.