EEG investigations in autistic children

  • S. Cochin
  • J. Martineau


For the past three decades, the search for the locus of brain dysfunction in autism has been the focus of great attention and effort. But the neurobiological substrate of infantile autism is still unknown, as is its a etiology. In the 20 years following Kanner’s original description(1943), research focussed on psychogenic explanations of autism, even though Kanner initially concluded that autism was probably due to a biological disorder. It was not until Rimland (1964) presented the first neurobiological explanation of autism, and a review of evidence from twins studies, that research began to focus on the biology of autism. It is now clear that autism is a condition with many varied manifestations and that change with age. In recent years, new methods for studying human brain-behaviour relationships have been developed. Extraction of anatomical and functional brain indices from the intact human head can be performed via CT, MRI, PET and SPECT images. These technical innovations constitute unique, valuable windows on brain development. Each of these brain-imaging techniques has its own research applications involving children and infants. Parallel technological advances in electroencephalography have led to the new field of quantitative EEG (qEEG) which can provide a readily available, reasonably inexpensive, and completely noninvasive probe of brain function. The goal of this chapter is to describe qEEG technology, the main research findings in autism and one of the first applications of qEEG technology in autistic children exploring the function of imitation.


Left Hemisphere Spectral Power Autistic Child Autistic Individual Autistic Subject 
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  • S. Cochin
  • J. Martineau

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