Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 1788–1792 | Cite as

Why Autism Must be Taken Apart

  • Lynn WaterhouseEmail author
  • Christopher Gillberg
Letter to the Editor


Although accumulated evidence has demonstrated that autism is found with many varied brain dysfunctions, researchers have tried to find a single brain dysfunction that would provide neurobiological validity for autism. However, unitary models of autism brain dysfunction have not adequately addressed conflicting evidence, and efforts to find a single unifying brain dysfunction have led the field away from research to explore individual variation and micro-subgroups. Autism must be taken apart in order to find neurobiological treatment targets. Three research changes are needed. The belief that there is a single defining autism spectrum disorder brain dysfunction must be relinquished. The noise caused by the thorny brain-symptom inference problem must be reduced. Researchers must explore individual variation in brain measures within autism.


Autism ASD Brain dysfunction DSM-5 Pathophysiology RDoC 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Global Graduate Programs, Child Behavior StudyThe College of New JerseyEwingUSA
  2. 2.Kailua KonaUSA
  3. 3.Gillberg Neuropsychiatry CentreGothenburg UniversityGöteborgSweden

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