Details of Brain Networks in Autism

Posted on May 22, 2018

A study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) confirmed that differences in the spatial layout of brain networks were more pronounced among people with autism than those without -- in other words, the brains of two people with autism are different from each another, and this difference is larger than those measured in brains of two people without autism. In addition, the largest variation in network location was found in the brain's attention networks.

Scientists previously suspected that there was "dis-connectivity," or weaker long-range connections, between brain areas in those with autism. After personalized brain mapping was applied, this study showed that the evidence for dis-connectivity dropped. This suggests that brain networks related to attention in autism may not only be disconnected, but also displaced. This new approach, which has been made publicly available, can now be used in studies of brain function in autism to account for network displacement.

Recently, there have been high profile clinical trials for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, but these novel treatments have not shown any therapeutic effect. This could be attributed to the variability in autism. This study therefore underscores the importance of accounting for individual differences to develop innovative and personalized treatment approaches.

Since autism is a complex, lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that affects more than one in 100 people, understanding these brain networks has potential to show how autism develops over time, and to identify new approaches to treatment in future.

Category(s):Autism spectrum disorders

Source material from Science Daily

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