Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Autism Problems Explained In New Research

Date:
October 26, 2005
Source:
Howard Florey Institute
Summary:
New research from Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute helps to explain why children with autism spectrum disorders (autism) have problem-solving difficulties. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology (fMRI) the Florey scientists have shown that children with autism have less activation in the deep parts of the brain responsible for executive function (attention, reasoning and problem solving).

New research from Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute helps to explain why children with autism spectrum disorders (autism) have problem-solving difficulties.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology (fMRI) the Florey scientists have shown that children with autism have less activation in the deep parts of the brain responsible for executive function (attention, reasoning and problem solving).

Research leader Dr Ross Cunnington said autism was known to have a biological cause, but this neuroimaging research clearly showed the dysfunction in the brain that accounted for why children with autism have problems with their executive function.

“Discovering why children with autism have impaired executive function may help develop better therapies to improve their ability to pay attention and solve problems,” Dr Cunnington said.

“Specifically, we found that activity in the caudate nucleus, a critical part of circuits that link the prefrontal cortex of the brain, is reduced in boys with autism.”

“These findings have important implications, since prefrontal brain circuits play a critical role in maintaining and focusing attention, planning and setting goals, and keeping goals in memory during problem-solving and decision-making.”

“Our neuroimaging findings showing dysfunction in these prefrontal brain circuits now explain why children with autism have problems with learning and problem-solving,” he said.

Dr Cunnington along with PhD student, Tim Silk, have also been studying children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and have found similarities in the impairment of specific executive function in children with ADHD and autism.

The autism study was conducted with boys aged 11 to 18 years who had autism or Asperger’s disorder, as well teenage boys without the condition.

Autism affects one in 100 Australians and is lifelong condition that affects the way a person communicates and relates to other people. People affected by autism typically display major impairments in social interaction, communication and behaviour (restricted interests and repetitive behaviours).

The majority of people with autism also have an intellectual disability. Those with Asperger’s disorder are typically of average or above average intelligence and may have relatively good communication skills but specific learning difficulties.

The Florey scientists collaborated with scientists from Monash University, the Brain Research Institute and Texas Tech University in the USA. The results of this research are soon to be published in American Journal of Psychiatry.

The Howard Florey Institute is Australia’s leading brain research centre. Its scientists undertake clinical and applied research that can be developed into treatments to combat brain disorders, and new medical practices. Their discoveries will improve the lives of those directly, and indirectly, affected by brain and mind disorders in Australia, and around the world. The Florey’s research areas cover a variety of brain and mind disorders including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, motor neuron disease, addiction, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, autism and dementia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Howard Florey Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Howard Florey Institute. "Autism Problems Explained In New Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051025074915.htm>.
Howard Florey Institute. (2005, October 26). Autism Problems Explained In New Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051025074915.htm
Howard Florey Institute. "Autism Problems Explained In New Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051025074915.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:
from the past week

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