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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2002 Mar;71(3):449-55.

The amygdala and related structures in the pathophysiology of autism.

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Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine, 541 Clinical Drive, Room 298, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5111, USA.


Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is defined behaviorally by severe deficiencies in reciprocal social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and restricted interests. The amygdala is involved in the regulation of social behaviors and may be an important site of pathology for the social dysfunction seen in autism. This review focuses on lesion, postmortem, and neuroimaging studies that investigate the amygdala and related structures in this disorder. Other brain regions potentially involved in the neuropathology of autism are also briefly discussed. Although supportive evidence exists for amygdala dysfunction in autism, the currently available data are inconsistent and additional research is needed.

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