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Brain Res Bull. 2005 Oct 30;67(4):327-34.

Autism and Asperger's disorder: are they movement disorders involving the cerebellum and/or basal ganglia?

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Clayton, Vic., Australia.


Autism and Asperger's disorder (AD) are childhood developmental disorders of unknown aetiology. Autism and AD share several behavioural features, and it is not clear whether they are distinct disorders or variants of the same disorder. Recent studies indicate that disordered movement may be another feature of autism and AD, and that this may reflect dysfunction within the frontostriatal and/or cerebellar motor circuits. While disordered movement in autism and AD has been examined in a variety of ways, it is relatively under-researched compared to the cognitive, affective, and behavioural disturbances seen in these disorders. This review examines the role of the frontostriatal and cerebellar motor systems in the behavioural features of autism and AD, with gait as a proxy, and discusses difficulties with their diagnosis and their possible pathogenesis.

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