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Low 'Empathy' Response in Brain Might Point to Autism Gene
Date:7/13/2011

active, although more so than their healthy relatives. The researchers concluded that these brain activity differences could be associated with the same genes that give the siblings their genetic risk for autism.

The findings could help explain why the chances of siblings of those with autism might develop the disorder are at least 20 times higher than the general population, the study authors said.

"This is the first time that a brain response to different human facial emotions has been shown to have similarities in people with autism and their unaffected brothers and sisters. Innovative research like this improves our fundamental understanding of how autism is passed through generations affecting some and not others," Chris Kennard, chairman of the Medical Research Council funding board for the research, said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides more information on autism.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: University of Cambridge, news release, July 12, 2011


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