Reptilian behavioural patterns in childhood autism
Med Hypotheses 1984; 13: 399-405
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Childhood autism may be caused by damage to three phylogenetically distinct regions of the brain, or their major pathways and connections. Injury to the neocortex results in loss of language and cognitive function, while injury to the limbic cortex results in autistic withdrawal and abolition of play behaviour. Injury to the more primitive striatal complex, mammalian counterpart of the brain of reptiles, results in a bizarre and truncated form of stereotyped and ritualistic behaviour. The causes of brain injury in childhood autism could be those common in the perinatal period including cerebral anoxia, haemorrhage, phenylketonuria, neurolipidoses , meningitis, toxoplasmosis, and congenital rubella. All these conditions have previously been shown to be associated with childhood autism.