Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists find age-related changes in how autism affects the brain

Date:
March 13, 2013
Source:
Lifespan
Summary:
Autism spectrum disorders affect the brain activity of children and adults differently, according to new research.

Newly released findings from Bradley Hospital published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry have found that autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect the brain activity of children and adults differently.

In the study, titled "Developmental Meta-Analysis of the Functional Neural Correlates of Autism Spectrum Disorders," Daniel Dickstein, M.D., FAAP, director of the Pediatric Mood, Imaging and Neurodevelopment Program at Bradley Hospital, found that autism-related changes in brain activity continue into adulthood.

"Our study was innovative because we used a new technique to directly compare the brain activity in children with autism versus adults with autism," said Dickstein. "We found that brain activity changes associated with autism do not just happen in childhood, and then stop. Instead, our study suggests that they continue to develop, as we found brain activity differences in children with autism compared to adults with autism. This is the first study to show that."

This new technique, a meta-analysis, which is a study that compiles pre-existing studies, provided researchers with a powerful way to look at potential differences between children and adults with autism.

Dickstein conducted the research through Bradley Hospital's PediMIND Program. Started in 2007, this program seeks to identify biological and behavioral markers -- scans and tests -- that will ultimately improve how children and adolescents are diagnosed and treated for psychiatric conditions. Using special computer games and brain scans, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Dickstein hopes to one day make the diagnosis and treatment of autism and other disorders more specific and more effective.

Among autism's most disabling symptoms is a disruption in social skills, so it is noteworthy that this study found significantly less brain activity in autistic children than autistic adults during social tasks, such as looking at faces. This was true in brain regions including the right hippocampus and superior temporal gyrus -- two brain regions associated with memory and other functions.

Dickstein noted, "Brain changes in the hippocampus in children with autism have been found in studies using other types of brain scan, suggesting that this might be an important target for brain-based treatments, including both therapy and medication that might improve how this brain area works."

Rowland Barrett, Ph.D., chief psychologist at Bradley Hospital and chief-of-service for The Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities was also part of the team leading the study.

"Autism spectrum disorders, including autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), are among the most common and impairing psychiatric conditions affecting children and adolescents today," said Barrett. "If we can identify the shift in the parts of the brain that autism affects as we age, then we can better target treatments for patients with ASD."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel P. Dickstein, Matthew F. Pescosolido, Brooke L. Reidy, Thania Galvan, Kerri L. Kim, Karen E. Seymour, Angela R. Laird, Adriana Di Martino, Rowland P. Barrett. Developmental Meta-Analysis of the Functional Neural Correlates of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2013; 52 (3): 279 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2012.12.012

Cite This Page:

Lifespan. "Scientists find age-related changes in how autism affects the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313123540.htm>.
Lifespan. (2013, March 13). Scientists find age-related changes in how autism affects the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313123540.htm
Lifespan. "Scientists find age-related changes in how autism affects the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313123540.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
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