Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Autism in children affects not only social abilities, but also a broad range of sensory and motor skills

Date:
June 25, 2013
Source:
San Diego State University
Summary:
Scientists are shedding a new light on the effects of autism on the brain. Researchers have identified that connectivity between the thalamus, a deep brain structure crucial for sensory and motor functions, and the cerebral cortex, the brain's outer layer, is impaired in children with autism spectrum disorders.

A group of investigators from San Diego State University's Brain Development Imaging Laboratory are shedding a new light on the effects of autism on the brain.

The team has identified that connectivity between the thalamus, a deep brain structure crucial for sensory and motor functions, and the cerebral cortex, the brain's outer layer, is impaired in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Led by Aarti Nair, a student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, the study is the first of its kind, combining functional and anatomical magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine connections between the cerebral cortex and the thalamus.

Nair and Dr. Ralph-Axel Mόller, an SDSU professor of psychology who was senior investigator of the study, examined more than 50 children, both with autism and without.

Brain communication

The thalamus is a crucial brain structure for many functions, such as vision, hearing, movement control and attention. In the children with autism, the pathways connecting the cerebral cortex and thalamus were found to be affected, indicating that these two parts of the brain do not communicate well with each other.

"This impaired connectivity suggests that autism is not simply a disorder of social and communicative abilities, but also affects a broad range of sensory and motor systems," Mόller said.

Disturbances in the development of both the structure and function of the thalamus may play a role in the emergence of social and communicative impairments, which are among the most prominent and distressing symptoms of autism.

While the findings reported in this study are novel, they are consistent with growing evidence on sensory and motor abnormalities in autism. They suggest that the diagnostic criteria for autism, which emphasize social and communicative impairment, may fail to consider the broad spectrum of problems children with autism experience.

The study was supported with funding from the National Institutes of Health and additional funding from Autism Speaks Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship. It was published in the June issue of the journal, Brain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by San Diego State University. The original article was written by Natalia Van Stralen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Nair, J. M. Treiber, D. K. Shukla, P. Shih, R.-A. Muller. Impaired thalamocortical connectivity in autism spectrum disorder: a study of functional and anatomical connectivity. Brain, 2013; 136 (6): 1942 DOI: 10.1093/brain/awt079

Cite This Page:

San Diego State University. "Autism in children affects not only social abilities, but also a broad range of sensory and motor skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625141216.htm>.
San Diego State University. (2013, June 25). Autism in children affects not only social abilities, but also a broad range of sensory and motor skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625141216.htm
San Diego State University. "Autism in children affects not only social abilities, but also a broad range of sensory and motor skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625141216.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) — New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. 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:
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