Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Damage In Autism: Not What Scientists Once Thought

Date:
January 4, 2001
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Deepening the mystery of autism's origins, a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study has failed to link the typical autistic child's fixation on spinning objects and constant whirling around to long-suspected damage to the brain's control center for movement, balance and equilibrium.

Deepening the mystery of autism's origins, a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study has failed to link the typical autistic child's fixation on spinning objects and constant whirling around to long-suspected damage to the brain's control center for movement, balance and equilibrium.

Related Articles


Reporting in the December 2000 issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the Hopkins team said test results of parts of the cerebellum in 13 autistic children were the same as in normal children without autism.

The cerebellum has long been the focus of autism research because of the relentless responses autistic children make to sensory stimulation, according to Melissa Goldberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the Kennedy Krieger Institute. "The stimulation we see autistic kids seeking out when they're spinning or putting things in front of their eyes would seem to be linked to the part of the brain known to control such things as our ability to stabilize our bodies and what we see and touch," she says. "But in this study we found this was not the case, at least not with the children with high-functioning autism."

Cautioning that their findings may not apply to all autistic children, Goldberg and her team added that they "still don't know what part of the brain is abnormal in autism."

In their study, the Hopkins researchers examined the eye movements of 13 high-functioning autistic children ages 7 to 17, after spinning them in a chair as they sat upright, tilting their heads forward just after the chair became still. If the cerebellum is functioning normally, the reflexive eye movements, which typically occur in the direction opposite to that in which the child spins, are diminished once the head is pitched forward. Researchers found the autistic children's eye reflexes diminished appropriately.

"This tells us that those parts of the cerebellum that govern our ability to restore balance operate normally in autistic children," Goldberg says. "Knowing what parts of the brain do not appear damaged in these children, we can move on to investigate other sources of the problem."

Dr. Goldberg and her colleagues plan to use brain imaging and other cognitive neuroscience research methods to investigate further how autistic brains operate and to corroborate their findings. In one study, for example, they are tracking infants at high risk of developing autism because they have a brother or sister with autism. The goal is to tease out genetic risk, and document the earliest indications of the onset of disorder, and to develop intervention strategies. This sibling study is led by colleague and co-author Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., an expert in child development and autism in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and director of the Kennedy Krieger Center for Autism.

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects an estimated one in 500 children in the United States., according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Children with autism have trouble making social connections or responding properly to sights, sounds and touch.

The study was funded by the National Alliance for Autism Research. The eye reflex portion of the study was conducted in the laboratory of co-investigator David Zee, M.D., professor of neurology, otolaryngology and ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Brain Damage In Autism: Not What Scientists Once Thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010104071419.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2001, January 4). Brain Damage In Autism: Not What Scientists Once Thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010104071419.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Brain Damage In Autism: Not What Scientists Once Thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010104071419.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins