Navigation Links
Novel imaging technique shows gray matter increase in brains of autistic children
Date:11/28/2007

CHICAGO 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 Childrens 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. Ashtaris 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 brains white matter, as well as the brain fibers. However, Dr. Ashtaris 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.


'/>"/>

Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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:6/26/2016)... ... ... legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a weight loss fitness plan ... fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, , ... They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise program ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users can easily ... of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 hand-drawn pictures ... . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or text in ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a matter of ... too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who set the ... Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency to set low expectations ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants ... grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils and ... essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic counselor ... National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... -- Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ ) ... Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ("HSR"), with respect ... Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired effective June 24, ... As previously announced on May 31, 2016, Jazz Pharmaceuticals ... which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a tender offer for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Consumers have ... and regulators/payers have placed more emphasis on patient ... patient support programs in the pharmaceutical industry have ... medications. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on becoming ... are providing products and services that improve health. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016   Bay Area Lyme Foundation ... Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness , Harvard ... MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and ... the five finalists of Lyme Innovation , ... than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: