Video: Basic brain mechanisms underlying autism

A few months ago I was able to participate in an Autism Think Tank that took place in Toronto, Canada. Summaries of the presentations can be found on a previous blog ( I took advantage of the opportunity to briefly explain my ideas regarding the basic mechanism underlying autism. Please be aware that although I have been upholding the same view for the past dozen or so years most of the field has taken a different position and although I emphasize one basic mechanism most of the field emphasizes the existence of many. Recently, my presentation was posted in a forum hosted by Autism Canada. It is a video about half an hour long. I tried to be non-technical and tone down the terminology. I may or may not have been successful in that endeavor. However, for those interested in getting to know me better, what I think, my research, and where I am heading, you can watch the video below.  As always, I am happy to answer questions.

Manuel Casanova, MD (2014) Heterochronic germinal cell divisions and abnormalities of migration in autism from Autism Canada on Vimeo.

3 Respuestas a “Video: Basic brain mechanisms underlying autism

  1. Interesting video. I wish I could understand more of it and your research. I’m curios as to why these germinal cells would only have the potential to turn into pyramidal neurons and not astrocytes and other types of glial cells. I’m also wondering if glial cels could have a role in autism since I’ve read there’s an approximately 6:1 ratio of glia to neurons. Also you only seem to discuss the germinal cell migration problems in terms of the cerebral cortex. Would this also apply to deeper structures such as the amygdala and hippocampus which as I recall are also implicated in the etiology of autism? I guess I’d have more intelligent questions if I can ever learn more about neuroscience and your research.

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    • After the cell divisions that provide for neuroblasts destined to become pyramidal cells, they do divide to provide precursors for glia. In the video I do mention that germinal cells of both the periventricular matrix and the rhombic lip are seemingly affected. This would provide for not only abnormalities of the cerebral cortex but also other places including brainstem and cerebellum. Just to say that as long as it is grey matter they could directly affected. Abnormalities in connectivity of the white matter could follow from the abnormalities in the grey matter.

      Thank you for even listening to the video, despite my accent and the medical verbiage you did grasp the more important points. One day we will have to sit down and discuss our ideas. have a Happy Holiday Season.

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  2. Most interesting and I learned a lot about the brain pathology of autism. Well done. The triple hit hypothesis expands on Rutters ‘two hit’ hypothesis..

    In his reference book ‘Genes and Behavior:Nature-Nurture Interplay Explained’, Sir Michael Rutter correctly argues, referencing the work of Kendler, that ‘the strong, clear and direct causal relationship implied by the concepts of a ‘a gene for’ does not exist for psychiatric disorders. Although we may wish it to be true, we do not have and are not likely ever to discover ‘genes for’ psychiatric illness’. Page 13)

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