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Macroscopic Correlates of Minilumnar Abnormalities in Autism (funded through NAAR) 

In the cortex, cells are arranged in parallel, layered bundles, termed collectively as the cell minicolumn. It is a self-contained system linking the central nervous system to incoming, outgoing, and interneuronal signals. Preliminary study indicates that the neocortical organization of brains of individuals with autism differs from that of controls. Previous study of 3 neocortical sites in 9 brains of individuals with autism and 9 controls has shown significant differences in spacing that separates minicolumns, and differences in their internal structure: less space in outside edges of minicolumn and increased mean cell spacing within minicolumn. Through this project, Dr. Casanova attempted to find morphological correlates to these columnar findings in postmortem MRIs of 26 patients with autism available through University of California at Davis and the Autism Tissue Program.