Brain adaptation and alternative developmental trajectories

Mark H Johnson, Emily J H Jones, Teodora Gliga

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Resilience and adaptation in the face of early genetic or environmental risk has become a major interest in child psychiatry over recent years. However, we still remain far from an understanding of how developing human brains as a whole adapt to the diffuse and widespread atypical synaptic function that may be characteristic of some common developmental disorders. The first part of this paper discusses four types of whole-brain adaptation in the face of early risk: redundancy, reorganization, niche construction, and adjustment of developmental rate. The second part of the paper applies these adaptation processes specifically to autism. We speculate that key features of autism may be the end result of processes of early brain adaptation, rather than the direct consequences of ongoing neural pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-442
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adaptation, Physiological/physiology
  • Autistic Disorder/physiopathology
  • Brain/physiopathology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity/physiology

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