Navigation Links
Study compares traits of autism, schizophrenia

A UT Dallas professor is studying the differences between the social impairments found in autism and schizophrenia to help develop better treatments for people with both disorders.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia are distinct disorders with unique characteristics, but they share similarities in social dysfunction. For many years, this similarity resulted in confusion in diagnosis. Many young people with ASD were thought to have a childhood version of schizophrenia, said Dr. Noah Sasson, assistant professor in the UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Sasson points out that clear differences exist between people diagnosed with schizophrenia and ASD. Symptoms of ASD can be seen from very early in life, while the onset of schizophrenia typically occurs in young adulthood. And individuals who have schizophrenia often experience hallucinations and delusional thoughts, which are far less common in individuals with ASD.

An overlapping problem for both clinical groups is a difficulty with social interaction. Both groups are known to be poor at recognizing social cues. They often have difficulty identifying emotion in other people, so their reactions may seem inappropriate. By not picking up on the subtle cues in interactions, adults with ASD or schizophrenia may alienate other people and have trouble making friends or getting along with classmates or co-workers.

Along with collaborators at Southern Methodist University, Sasson is conducting new research at the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders that compares the basis for social interaction impairments between adults with ASD and adults with schizophrenia. He is attempting to understand the mechanisms that underlie their social limitations.

"Because the two disorders are different in so many ways, it is likely that the basis for their social impairments differs as well," he said. "Understanding these differences will be key for developing effective treatments. What works well for individuals with ASD might be very different than those with schizophrenia."

In previous research, Sasson and his colleagues used eye-tracking technology and found that neither adults with ASD nor adults with schizophrenia look at social information in the same way as those without either disorder. His colleagues also found that parts of the brain that process social information are underactive in those with ASD and schizophrenia. But the researchers have also found differences. Individuals with ASD do not spontaneously orient to emotional information, while individuals with schizophrenia do. While both groups show aspects of paranoia in social situations, Sasson and his colleagues are discovering that the root cause of the paranoia is different for each disorder.

"People with schizophrenia have a much higher likelihood than the general population to attribute ill will to others, and this is likely tied to their delusions," he said. "On the other hand, people with autism are more 'socially cynical.' They seem to be exhibiting fairly realistic responses to people as a result of the challenges they've faced in life because of their condition."

By differentiating between schizophrenia and autism, and by examining how patients react in social settings, Sasson said he hopes researchers can develop new ways to counteract the negative social experiences of patients. This could result in a profound improvement in their ability to navigate life successfully.


Contact: Emily Martinez
University of Texas at Dallas

Related medicine news :

1. Despite Treatment, Employees with Depression Generate Higher Absentee Costs, According to Thomson Reuters Study
2. American Council on Exercise (ACE) Study Reveals Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time
3. TV drama can be more persuasive than news program, study finds
4. Study carried out into biological risks of eating reptiles
5. Neuroimaging study may pave way for effective Alzheimers treatments
6. Study finds racial gaps continue in heart disease awareness
7. Luth Researchs IndicatorEDG(TM) Study Finds Americans Hopes of Achieving Their Dreams Are Fading
8. First blinded study of venous insufficiency prevalence in MS shows promising results
9. Soothing infants with food focus of childhood obesity study
10. People with anxiety disorder less able to regulate response to negative emotions, study shows
11. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report: Study Finds Racial Gaps Continue in Heart Disease Awareness, Low Knowledge of Heart Attack Warning Signs Among Women
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Intellitec Solutions announced today that ... (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s official group for end users of Dynamics SL ERP ... partners, industry experts and representatives. Intellitec Solutions’ membership status demonstrates their ongoing commitment ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... CBD College is proud to announce ... (CAAHEP) awarded accreditation to its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD College is honored to ... of twelve colleges and universities in the state of California make the cut. CBD ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., ... the incorporation of Asterisk 11 LTS (Long Term Support) into its Q-Suite 5.10 ... brings Q-Suite 5.10 up-to-date with a version of Asterisk that will receive not ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Ashburn, VA (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 ... ... Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers ... range of cruise, destination wedding packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., the first ... annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by the International ... November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention Center in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  Linden Care, LLC, a retail ... outcomes for patients suffering from chronic pain, said today ... Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining Express Scripts from unilaterally ... --> --> The ... its legal options. --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015 On Tuesday, November ... bellwether trial against Wright Medical Technology, Inc. for ... Conserve metal-on-metal hip implant device, awarded $11 million ... two week trial and three days of deliberations, ... device was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Henry Schein, Inc., the ... to office-based dental, medical and animal health practitioners, will ... the Henry Schein ConnectDental® Pavilion , which brings ... of open solutions designed to help any practice or ... here for a schedule of experts appearing at ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: