5. Disrupted Development
1 - Maturation and the auditory system
The inferior colliculi are damaged by any factor that results in catastrophic
total interference with aerobic metabolism. Deficiency of thiamine (vitamin
B1), and many toxic substances have been found to produce a Wernicke's
encephalopathy pattern of damage.
2 - Wernicke's encephalopathy
3 - Vulnerability of the auditory system
Neurons in the inferior colliculus are myelinated and functional earlier than
any other sensory area of the brain. Transient neurotransmitters produced
in the inferior colliculi appear to guide maturation of cortical areas that form
the language centers of the brain.
Reports of children exposed to alcohol during gestation who later show
signs of autistic behavior suggest looking for how the brain might be
affected. Wernicke's encephalopathy, first described in 1881, involves many
of the same brainstem nuclei damaged by asphyxia at birth.