Occult Mechanisms of Brain Dysfunction

  • John W. Olney
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 8)


It is clear from Dr. Millichap’s presentation that important advances in the diagnosis and treatment of seizure disorders and minimal brain dysfunction syndromes have been realized in recent years. Unfortunately, significant progress toward the companion goal of prevention remains seriously hampered by our poor understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of these conditions. Genetic factors undoubtedly play at least a predispositional role in many cases, but the potential contribution of an adverse environment deserves constant emphasis, particularly in that corrective measures are more easily brought to bear upon the environment than upon the gene. Dr. Nair, in discussing the toxic effects of drugs upon the developing CNS, touched upon an important theme worth reiterating here; that, in contrast to the gross malformations which characteristically result from exposure to toxic agents in early stages of development, exceedingly subtle forms of brain damage capable of defying current methods of detection may occur from exposure in later developmental stages. Dr. Millichap indicated, and I think many would agree, that the more carefully one examines children with minimal brain dysfunction, the more convinced one becomes that some sort of subtle brain damage underlies these conditions.


Brain Damage Arcuate Nucleus Brain Dysfunction Acidic Amino Acid Sulphur Amino Acid 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Olney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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