Study Supports View that Asperger Syndrome Is Distinct Form of Autism

Posted on May 9, 2018

The researchers – at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital – used electroencephalography (EEG) to track brain signaling in more than 400 children with autism. Twenty-six of these children had a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. For comparison, the researchers looked at the EEGs of 550 typically developing children.

All the children with autism – including those with Asperger syndrome – showed weaker connections in a language-associated region of the brain’s left hemisphere. However, the researchers found distinctively strong activity in other areas of the brain among the children with Asperger syndrome. This distinctive activity was not seen in either the other children with autism or the typically developing children.
Like others with autism, individuals who have Asperger syndrome tend to have difficulties with social interaction and repetitive behaviors or restricted interests. However, unlike others on the autism spectrum, those diagnosed with Asperger syndrome tend to show typical or even advanced language development.

Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Robert Ring is optimistic that the success of the research methodology suggests that biological differences may be used alongside behavioral observations to define subsets of individuals living on the autism spectrum," which opens up greater possibilities and areas that will bring research to the next level.

The findings may have implications on how best to help those with Asperger syndrome as compared to others on the autism spectrum, the researchers suggest. They also raise concerns with the recent decision to fold different subtypes of autism – including Asperger syndrome – into one unified diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Category(s):Asperger's Syndrome

Source material from Autism Speaks

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