27-Apr-15 2:00 PM  CST

New Study May Help Health Professionals and Parents Understand More About Autism

            

Autism. It is a disease that has not only puzzled health professionals and researchers like, but has also frustrated parents trying to understand the symptoms that have held their children hostage. Autism continues to be a mystery to many, but a recent study is proving that the unlocking of Autism may be linked to the areas of the brain responsible for language and communication.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, Medical School have uncovered part of the mystery many think may be a key link to understanding Autism. Using natural sleep functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) researchers at UCSD Medical School studied 60 infants and toddlers diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as well as 43 infants and toddlers who had not been diagnosed with ASD. Researchers recorded the subjects’ brain activities as they listened to children’s stories. Researchers measured passive speech comprehension under MRI using three stimuli, complex forward speech, simple forward speech, and backward speech.

The finding of the research showed that the brains of child later diagnosed with Autism had normal brain volume at birth, but as they grew older, 2 to 4 years of age, brain volume increased significantly. 90% of the children studied that had later been diagnosed with Autism showed a significantly increased brain volume. Additionally, researchers found that children diagnosed with Autism had larger amounts of white and grey matter in the cerebrum.

The cerebrum is not only the largest part of the brain, but also the area where functions such as perception, imagination, thought, judgment, and decision are found. The latest finding concerning Autism is not only encouraging, but also leds researchers to believe the secrets about Autism lie primarily within the communication functions within the brain. While the research is a move forward to understanding Autism, researchers point out the journey to fully understanding Autism has only just begun.

 

 

Resources:

 

MedicalNewsToday, (2015), “Autism Discovery, - brain imaging reveals language development differences”, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/292109.php, retrieved, 11.April, 2015

 

UCSC Medical School, (2015), “Brain Imaging Research: Structural Imaging”, http://www.autism-center.ucsd.edu/what-causes-autism/Pages/brain-research.aspx, retrieved, 11. April 2015


For additional information on this article, please contact:
 
Kelley Simmons
 
Source: Sandy Andrews, CPhT, BLS  

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