Frontal and temporal lobe dysfunction in autism and other related disorders: ADHD and OCD


Autistic children are an heterogeneous group. Increased frontal perfusion may be related to "hyperfrontality" disorder, and cerebellar hypoperfusion to motility impairment. Temporal lobe hypoperfusion and other areas of dysfunction remains in spite of multiple various therapies used by these children. We are looking at anatomical markings, defining autism / PDD dysfunction, correlating to models proposed by behavioral neurologists.

Past focus for autistic children has been on trainability, cooperation, behavior, NOT on improving the cognitive processing. A shift to the idea of "rehabilitation" is already in motion, a full review of techniques and goals is urgently needed.

Based on NeuroSPECT findings, implications are that medications or efforts to "calm" the brain and child down, may further shut down the areas in which we want to improve blood flow and function and down regulated blood flow.

Clinical experience to date has noted with medical intervention to help normalize their dysregulated immune systems many of these children up to 5 or 6 years of age will often "turn-on" and pick-up where they stopped, generally about 18 - 24 months old. On the other hand, as children approximately 6 - 10 or 11 years improvement is a slower process, often requiring more "help" to "learn" the basics, grow-up developmentally, and then move ahead successfully.

For most children, it will probably take the advent and usage of new drugs that are immune modulators, to truly shut off their dysregulated immune system. Although these drugs are already in existence and are now undergoing new usage testing in adults, they still await testing for children. Hopefully, they will have the ability to adjust the dysregulated function and put the immune system back on track. The clinical implications and concepts related to past hypotheses of brain develop and maturity, are intriguing to say the least.

It was and still is believed by noted neurologists that nothing can be done medically to treat these children. Fortunately, as these children are changing with therapy, respected neurologists and other pediatric researchers, are beginning to feel it is time to "take a second look."

The good news is that children afflicted with autism whose immune systems have been helped are showing they are bright thinking individuals who are not what the world expected. Children with the "label" of Autism / PDD usually are not retarded. They may have normal or above normal intelligence. They are not throw away kids that cannot be helped. They are children who are suffering from temporal hypoperfusion / hypofunction, likely auto-immune mediated dysfunction, that can possibly recover.

While identifying and looking at different neurotransmitters, neuroscientists have also found different problems with too much or too little of one or the other. In people with too much norepinephrine everything is pumped up; every stimulation demands a response. The other side of the coin is that a shortage of norepinephrine seems to rob people of the ability to know what’s important. Working memory (the part that stores information while the mind considers if it is worth keeping and where to file it) fails without enough dopamine. Altered central dopaminergic function in the midbrain has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Tourette’s Syndrome. Finally, shortage of serotonin in the frontal lobes and in the brain’s limbic system seems to relate to impulsivity; obsessive-compulsive symptoms may be caused by a serotonergic defect involving the basal ganglia.