15 Jul 2015
There are so many ways to define autism, but a simple one would be : “atypical brain wiring”. For more definitions of autism read chapter one here.
From the Harvard Review of Psychiatry:
Some studies using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques, started to uncover what might be a cause for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The MRI shows different connectivity between brain parts compared to typically developed individuals. In other words: the way brain parts of individuals on the autism spectrum communicate is atypical.
Part of the research studied the structural connectivity (neuron to neuron), other part of the research used fMRI, functional MRI, to study functional connections between brain circuits.
Finding: “some amount of either reduction or loss of local or long-distance connectivity”.
What does that mean? It means reduced functional connectivity- like attention, self control- and other “executive functions”, which means poor connectivity between prefrontal cortex and other parts of the brain.
It is challenging to assign a certain circuitry to be responsible for a certain behavior, given the fact of the multitude of circuitry combinations that would produce the same behavior.
Studies on structural connectivity show more consistent results than functional connectivity.
Researchers found reduced long-range connections between different neural networks within and between the two hemispheres. On the other hand, an increased connectivity in deeper white matter was found.
Researchers are hoping to produce enough results to be able to establish the relationship between circuitry connectivity of the brain and signs of autism.
Source: Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams and Wikkins
Tags: asperger's syndrome, autism, brain connectivity, communication, early intervention, fMRI, gentetics, gentically at risk of autism and brain connectivity, health, MRI, parenting, research, social interaction, speech, symptoms of autism, tips