A review of recent reports on autism: 1000 studies published in 2007

Epilepsy Behav. 2008 Oct;13(3):425-37. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2008.06.015. Epub 2008 Jul 31.


From 1000 studies published in 2007 on all aspects of autism, those that reached clear conclusions or included quantitative data were selected for this review. Possible etiologies include elemental metals, especially the inconsistent evidence regarding mercury from the vaccine preservative thimerosal, not used after 2001, and chromosomes and genes with the conclusion that autism has a complex genetic architecture. Also, various parental conditions are considered, as are many different abnormalities in the central nervous system, especially underconnectivity within the cortex. Furthermore, deficiencies in mirror neurons have been proposed, leading to the "theory of mind" explanation that autistic children tend to disregard others. In addition, various global deficiencies, like an increase in inhibitory synaptic transmission, are proposed. Characteristics of these children include selective (inward) attention; underresponsiveness; stereotyped repetitive motor behavior; increased head size, weight, and height; various cognitive and communicative disorders; and also epilepsy. Therapy has emphasized risperidone, but some atypical antipsychotic medications have been helpful, as have robotic aids, massage, hyperbaric oxygen, and music. Nearly every conceivable problem that a child could have can be observed in these unfortunate children.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder* / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder* / etiology
  • Autistic Disorder* / genetics
  • Autistic Disorder* / therapy
  • Biomedical Research / methods
  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Publications / history
  • Publications / statistics & numerical data*