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Monday, April 10, 2006

Autism Spectrum Disorders Explained

The difficulties people with autism have in relating to others could be due to poor communication between brain areas, scientists suggest.
It may explain why they do not interact well, as the weak links mean they benefit less from social situations.

It had been thought that their lack of social skills was due to abnormalities in particular brain areas.

The study in Neuroimage, carried out by University of London researchers, compared brain scans of 32 people

The researchers took brain scans of 16 people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and above-average IQs, as well as those of 16 unaffected volunteers.

They were shown four images on the screen - two of houses and two of faces. They were then asked to concentrate on either the faces or houses and decide if they were identical.

Scans showed there were marked differences in the brain activity of the two groups.

In the control group, paying attention to pictures of faces caused a significant increase in brain activity.

But for people with ASD, paying attention to faces made no impact at all on the brain, explaining their lack of interest in faces.

Both groups had the same reaction to houses.

Read the rest here

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