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Dendritic Spine Morphology in Autism Spectrum Disorders
AdvisorHutsler, Jeffrey J. J.
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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has become an extremely prevalent neurological disorder in society that is characterized by a number of social and behavioral deficits. The particular cause of ASD is unknown however continuous research is being conducted to expand the current knowledge on the disorder. The present research focuses on dendritic spine morphology and how this affects the function of spines, the locations of excitatory synapses throughout a neurological system. Abnormal morphologies and lengths of spines were observed in ASD cases when compared to neurotypical cases implicating alterations in morphology as the basis for altered neurological function. Brain tissue from both neurotypical cases and ASD cases were examined in the present study and spine data was collected from 45 cells per cases. The results of this study did show significant differences between the two types of cases and implicated a high proportion of immature and underdeveloped spines in ASD neural networks. These results have a great impact for the understanding of altered development associated with ASD and are in accordance with previous ASD studies gaining even further significance.