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article imageAutopsy May Show Travolta’s Son Autistic Despite Denials

By Carol Forsloff     Jan 5, 2009 in Health
An autopsy is to be performed on the body of Jett Travolta, John Travolta's son, in order to establish the cause of death. It may also lead to determining whether the child had autism.
Years ago there was no way to determine the medical condition called autism from imaging because the equipment wasn't sophisticated enough. So some television talking heads maintained that there may be no way to tell in an autopsy whether Travolta's son had it. In the past ten years, however, there has been a development of a procedure called neuroanatomic imaging that will allow doctors to determine whether or not an individual has a cluster of features in the brain that is normally found with autistic individuals. Therefore there may be a way to estimate whether Jett Travolta was autistic.
The test is not definitive, and no one has announced to date whether or not the results will be released, given the controversies involved about whether or not Jett Travolta could have been helped by specific medications for autism. It's good to know, however, that in spite of the attorneys denials and some folks considering there wouldn't be a way to establish anything more than the cause of death, it turns out that the medical tests might be able to provide some information about the existence of autism.
About ten years ago, research on the brain through neuroimaging found that certain neuroanatomical abnormalities often occur with autistic individuals. A report of the studies shows that in one out of ten individuals with autism enlargement of the cerebrospinal fluid spaces exists. The most prevalent found abnormality in the brains of autistic individuals is the relative reduction of cerebellar tissue when compared with normal individuals.
An autopsy planned for Monday will give an estimate of what happened to young Travolta. The information may cause consternation about the Travoltas or simply continue the mystery. It may, however, provide information to groups that refuse medical treatment, including some evangelicals and Christian Scientists, as well as Scientologists to examine their beliefs with respect to issues like autism.
Several days after John Travolta's son died in the bathtub in the Bahamas while the family was on vacation, Travolta is
John Travolta
Actor John Travolta at the London premiere of his film "Wild Hogs."
Photo by Caroline Bonarde Ucci
said to be furious that some people have already decided that his son was autistic. Both he and an attendant tried to revive Jett when he was found still alive but were too late.
More about Autism, Travolta, Death
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