Biological Explanations of Autism

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  • Biological explanations of autism.
    • Genetics
      • Folstein and Rutter
        • Method used is the same as Ritvo.  Uses MZ twins to try and find a genetic link and creates a concordance rate between the two. (also studied DZ twins)
      • Evaluation sample size used in the studies was too small. Generalises the results. DZ are no more identical than any other siblings, could be an environmental reason behind the concordance.
    • Nurological correlates
      • This looks for a relationship between structural abnormalities in the brain and autism.
      • Zilbovicius found using a PET scan that 75% of autistic children had a functional abnormality in the temportal cortex - however PET scans can only be done so many times due to radiation
      • Piven in 1995 found autistic children had enlarged brains compared to non autistic children and other mentally deficient groups.
      • In 2004 Allen looked at activity in the cerebllum between 8 autistic and non autistic participants using matched pairs. He used MRI scans to observe the structure of the brain. Participants were given a simple motor task to perform. Autistic children showed increased motor activity
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