Many researchers have reported atypical brain connectivity in people with autism lying passively in a brain scanner. But those differences may be the result of what participants are thinking about, rather than of an underlying neural defect, according to a poster presented Sunday at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Tag: theory of mind
Researchers have charted the normal development of what’s known as the social brain from childhood to young adulthood, according to research presented Sunday at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.
Some studies have suggested that people with autism have deficits in executive function — a set of complex mental processes involved in everyday life. But these results may instead reflect their difficulties imagining what other people are thinking, according to a provocative new hypothesis.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers have for the first time identified brain regions activated by joint attention, the process in which two people direct their attention to the same object, person or topic of conversation. The findings appeared 16 April in Human Brain Mapping.
Children who have both autism and intellectual disability may understand fewer words than their speaking skills suggest, which is not the case for typically developing children or those with intellectual disability alone. The results were published 21 February in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Adults with autism have regional differences in brain volume in areas that play a role in social behavior and communication compared with controls, according to a large study published in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. The differences correlate with the severity of autism symptoms, the study also shows.
Children with autism activate more brain regions than controls do when listening to tonal inflections in speech that convey meaning. The findings were published 19 December in Child Neuropsychology.
Clinicians and autism researchers should learn the early signs of autism and take into account an individual’s developmental trajectory, says Tony Charman.