Navigation Links
'Faulty' brain connections may be responsible for social impairments in autism
Date:6/12/2008

New evidence shows that the brains of adults with autism are "wired" differently from people without the disorder, and this abnormal pattern of connectivity may be responsible for the social impairments that are characteristic of autism.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, a team of researchers affiliated with the University of Washington's Autism Center also found that the most severely socially impaired subjects in the study exhibited the most abnormal pattern of connectivity among a network of brain regions involved in face processing.

"This study shows that these brain regions are failing to work together efficiently," said Natalia Kleinhans, a research assistant professor of radiology and lead author of the paper published in the journal Brain. "Our work seems to indicate that the brain pathways of people with autism are not completely disconnected, but they are not as strong as in people without autism."

The study is the first to look at brain connectivity and social impairment, and focused on how the brain processes information about faces. Deficits in face processing are one of the earliest characteristics to emerge in people with autism.

The research team led by Elizabeth Aylward, a UW professor of radiology, examined connectivity in the limbic system, or the network of brain regions that are involved with processing social and emotional information. Participants in the study included 19 high-functioning adults with autism who had IQs of at least 85. They ranged in age from 18 to 44 and were compared with an age- and intelligence-matched sample of 21 typically developed adults. The group with autism spectrum disorder included eight individuals diagnosed with autism, nine with Asperger's syndrome and two diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. The level of social impairment for each autistic participant was drawn from records of clinical observations and diagnoses that confirmed that each had autism.

Each participant had his or her brain scanned while looking at pictures of faces or houses. Participants were shown four series of 12 pictures of faces and a similar number of series showing houses. Each individual picture was seen for three seconds. Occasionally the same face or house picture was repeated, and participants were told to press a button when this occurred.

There was no significant difference on the two groups' performance, because the task was so basic, said Todd Richards, a professor of radiology and co-author of the paper. "Differences might have shown up if they had been asked to do something more complicated."

However, the two groups exhibited different patterns of brain activity. The researchers focused on the fusiform face area of the brain, a region that is involved in face identification. Compared to the participants with autism, the typically developing adults showed significantly more connectivity between the fusiform face area and two other brain regions, the left amygdala and the posterior cingulate. In addition, autistic participants who had the largest social impairment showed the lowest level of connectivity between the right fusiform face area and the left amygdala and increased connectivity between the right fusiform face area and the right inferior frontal gyrus.

"This study shows that the brains of people with autism are not working as cohesively as those of people without autism when they are looking at faces and processing information about them," said Kleinhans.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joel Schwarz
joels@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Pedophilia may be the result of faulty brain wiring
2. St. Jude finds mechanism for faulty protein disposal
3. St. Jude Finds Mechanism for Faulty Protein Disposal
4. Draining away brains toxic protein to stop Alzheimers
5. Vision restoration therapy shown to improve brain activity in brain injured patients
6. Clinical depression linked to abnormal emotional brain circuits
7. Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing
8. Brain cells work differently than previously thought
9. Vaccine Stops Alzheimers Brain Tangles
10. Research may unlock mystery of autisms origin in the brain
11. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/26/2017)... ... February 26, 2017 , ... Occupational pesticide exposure ... a specific LRRK2 mutation, according to a study released today at the 1st ... of a link between pesticides and incidence of sporadic PD through occupational exposure. ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , ... February 24, 2017 , ... ... on tooth replacement options at his office, Antoine Dental Center. Currently, patients can ... $18,499. Some restrictions may apply, but patients can learn more about these offers ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... An in-depth computational analysis ... University of Pittsburgh points to eight genes that may explain why susceptibility to one ... the results of a study published today in the journal npj Schizophrenia. , ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 24, 2017 , ... In the ... to be a top priority because it’s not if you will be attacked, but ... especially when it comes to digital health care. , Improvements in auditing and monitoring ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... The narrative in “ Signal 8: An Australian Paramedic’s ... of his paramedic experiences. Schanssema describes the tragedies he saw, as well as his ... them. , Schanssema, initially unsure of the career path he wanted to take, found ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... report to their offering. ... The Global Wireless Health Market is poised to ... to reach approximately $330.5 billion by 2025. This industry ... segments on global as well as regional levels presented in the ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Empty Capsules Market is poised to grow ... approximately $2.9 billion by 2025. This industry report analyzes ... as well as regional levels presented in the research scope. The study ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... Feb 24, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... - 2016" report to their offering. ... The latest research Dry eye Drugs Price Analysis and ... Dry eye market. The research answers the following questions: ... and their clinical attributes? How are they positioned in the Global Dry ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: