Navigation Links
Novel Imaging Technique Shows Gray Matter Increase in Brains of Autistic Children
Date:11/28/2007

CHICAGO, Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Using a novel imaging technique to study autistic children, researchers have found increased gray matter in the brain areas that govern social processing and learning by observation. Results of the study conducted at the Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Bethpage, N.Y., were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Our findings suggest that the inability of autistic children to relate to people and life situations in an ordinary way may be the result of an abnormally functioning mirror neuron system," said lead author Manzar Ashtari, Ph.D., from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Mirror neurons are brain cells that are active both when an individual is performing an action and experiencing an emotion or sensation, and when that individual witnesses the same actions, emotions and sensations in others. First observed in the macaque monkey, researchers have found evidence of a similar system in humans that facilitates such functions as learning by seeing as well as doing, along with empathizing and understanding the intentions of others. Dr. Ashtari's study found the autistic children had increased gray matter in brain regions of the parietal lobes implicated in the mirror neuron system.

The study included 13 male patients diagnosed with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome and an IQ greater than 70 and 12 healthy control adolescents. Average age of the participants was about 11 years. Each of the patients underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a technique that tracks the movement of water molecules in the brain.

DTI is traditionally used to study the brain's white matter, as well as the brain fibers. However, Dr. Ashtari's team applied it to the assessment of gray matter by employing apparent diffusion coefficient based morphometry (ABM), a new method that highlights brain regions with potential gray matter volume changes. By adding ABM to DTI, the researchers can detect subtle regional or localized changes in the gray matter.

In addition to the gray matter abnormalities linked to the mirror neuron system, the results of this study revealed that the amount of gray matter in the left parietal area correlated with higher IQs in the control group, but not in the autistic children.

"In the normal brain, larger amounts of gray matter are associated with higher IQs," Dr. Ashtari said. "But in the autistic brain, increased gray matter does not correspond to IQ, because this gray matter is not functioning properly."

The autistic children also evidenced a significant decrease of gray matter in the right amygdala region that correlated with severity of social impairment. Children with lower gray matter volumes in this area of the brain had lower scores on reciprocity and social interaction measures.

"Impairments in these areas are the hallmark of autism spectrum disorders, and this finding may lead to greater understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of the core features of autism," said study co-author Joel Bregman, M.D., medical director of the Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States and typically appears during the first three years of life. Children with autism are hindered in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 1.5 million Americans have autism.

Co-authors are S. Nichols, Ph.D., C. McIlree, M.S., L. Spritzer, B.S., A. Adesman, M.D., and B. Ardekani, Ph.D.

AT A GLANCE

-- Children with autism have increased gray matter in key brain regions

linked to the mirror neuron system.

-- Mirror neurons are brain cells associated with learning by seeing,

empathizing and experiencing an emotion or sensation.

-- The amount of gray matter in the left parietal area of the brain

correlated with IQ in the control children but not in autistic

children.

-- Decreased gray matter in the amygdala region of the brain correlated

with severity of social impairment.

This study was supported by The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System and the National Center for Research Resources/National Institutes of Health.

Note: Copies of RSNA 2007 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press07 beginning Monday, Nov. 26.

RSNA is an association of more than 41,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to excellence in patient care through education and research. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)

Editor's note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the printed abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as researchers continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To ensure you are using the most up-to-date information, please call the RSNA Newsroom at 1-312-949-3233.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Radiological Society of North America
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Novel 3-D cell culture model shows selective tumour uptake of nanoparticles
2. Novel Cooling Therapy May Have Aided Injured Football Player
3. Novel virus detection identifies new viruses in study of respiratory infections and asthma attacks
4. Researchers uncover novel mechanism that balances the sizes of functional areas in the brain
5. ECLIPSE data on effects of Otsukas investigational novel treatment, Tolvaptan
6. SNM seeks novel approaches to molecular imaging to showcase at annual meeting
7. GrantAdler Shipping Novel Implantable Vascular Access Port
8. SNM seeks novel approaches to molecular imaging to showcase at annual meeting
9. Novel strategy under study for aggressive leukemia
10. ISTO Technologies Receives 510(k) Clearance for a Novel Bone Graft Substitute and Bone Graft Extender
11. 454 Sequencing(TM): Science Paper Describes a Novel, Highly Efficient Method of Sequencing Ancient DNA; Sequences the Mitochondria of 10 Individual Mammoths to Prove It
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking ... American College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical ... effective treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a ... Magna Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at ... returned to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... plastic surgery procedures that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to ... known procedures, but also many of these less common operations such as calf and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to ... came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Rhinebeck, NY (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of ... of companies that call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 ... wage. This will restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. and SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , ... California -based mobile pulmonary function testing company, is now able ... PFT devices developed by ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. ... testing done in hospital-based labs.  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® ... , can get any needed testing done in the comfort ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a ... invasive and more durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today ... The Series-A funding is led by Innova Memphis, ... and other private investors.  Arkis, new financing will ... and the market release of its in-licensed Endexo® ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... startling report released today, National Safety Council research shows ... plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription Nation ... the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, assigned a "Making ... , New Mexico , Tennessee ... states, three – Michigan , Missouri ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: