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Stereological Assessment of Purkinje Cell Densities in Autism
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction, communication, and is often accompanied by repetitive or stereotyped behaviors. The cerebellum has been previously implicated in ASD and there is mounting evidence to suggest that the cerebellum plays a critical role in the pathophysiology of this disorder. Purkinje cells have been a focus of this research because they form the only output source of the cerebellum and serve to connect many cortical and subcortical regions of the brain. There is ongoing debate surrounding the condition of these cells and the current study aimed to investigate whether there are differences in the density of Purkinje cells in cerebellar lobule VIIIb using Nissl staining and stereological technique. We anticipate that individuals with autism will exhibit a significant decrease in the number of Purkinje cells compared to typical controls.