The over-pruning hypothesis of autism (pages 284–305)
Michael S.C. Thomas, Rachael Davis, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Victoria C.P. Knowland and Tony Charman
Article first published online: 6 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12303
This articles proposes a new hypothesis of the cause of autism, based on a neurocomputational model. The over-pruning hypothesis proposes that ASD results from over-pruning of brain connectivity early in development, particularly impacting long-range connections. The hypothesis generates a number of novel hypotheses that can be tested against new data emerging from studies of infants at risk of developing ASD. It proposes that a single underlying pathological mechanism interacts with population-wide variation in neurocomputational parameters to produce different trajectories of ASD including early onset, late onset, and regression.