TEEN BOARDING SCHOOLS
Study reveals differences in brain activity of kids with and without autism
By Staff Writer
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine have identified a pattern of brain activity that could reveal the presence of genetic vulnerabilities in the development of autism.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is usually characterized by impaired social interaction and communication. The condition often disrupts the brain's ability to interpret the movements of other people, and is considered to be a strongly genetic and highly prevalent disorder.
Yale scientists scanned the brains of 62 children between the ages of four and 17 who had been diagnosed with ASD. The unaffected siblings of these kids were also involved in the study.
The research team found that certain brain regions in those affected by ASD appeared to have reduced activity, while the unaffected participants had enhanced activity. This enhancement could represent a developmental process by which these children overcame their genetic predisposition for the condition.
"This study may contribute to a better understanding of the brain basis of ASD, and to the genetic and molecular origin of the disorder," the researchers concluded.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, as many as one in 110 children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with ASD.