Autism spectrum disorders: linking neuropathological findings to treatment with transcranial magnetic stimulation

Acta Paediatr. 2015 Apr;104(4):346-55. doi: 10.1111/apa.12943.


Postmortem studies in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) individuals indicate the presence of abnormalities within the peripheral neuropil space (PNS) of cortical minicolumns. The geometrical orientation of inhibitory elements within the PNS suggests using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to up-regulate their activity. Several rTMS trials in ASD have shown marked improvements in motor symptomatology, attention and perceptual binding.

Conclusion: rTMS is the first therapeutic attempt at ASD aimed at correcting some of its core pathology.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Cerebral cortex; Minicolumn; Transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / pathology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / therapy*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation*