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New CMU brain imaging research reveals why autistic individuals confuse pronouns
Date:8/1/2011

brain's communication network is its white matter, the 45 percent of the brain that consists of myelinated (insulated) axons that carry information between brain regions. An emerging view is that the white matter is compromised in autism, specifically in the frontal-posterior tracts. In a groundbreaking study published in 2009, Just and his colleagues showed for the first time that compromised white matter in children with reading difficulties could be repaired with extensive behavioral therapy. Their imaging study showed that the brain locations that had been abnormal prior to the remedial training improved to normal levels after the training, and the reading performance in individual children improved by an amount that corresponded to the amount of white matter change. Ongoing research at the CCBI is assessing the white matter in detail, measuring its integrity and topology, trying to pinpoint the difference in the autistic brain's networks.

"This new understanding of what causes pronoun confusion in autism helps make sense of the larger problems of autism as well as the idiosyncrasies," Just said. "Moreover, it points to new types of therapies that may help rehab the white matter in autism."


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Contact: Shilo Raube
sraube@andrew.cmu.edu
412-268-6094
Carnegie Mellon University
Source:Eurekalert

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