Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Israeli Study Finds No Two Autistic Brains are Alike

The autism community has always  said that if you know one autistic person, you know how one autistic person functions. So now out of Israel's Weizmann Institute comes a new study that proves that thesis. More importantly, the article explains just how that knowledge can be used to help autistic persons in the future.

Difficulty communicating with their environment, engaging in repetitious behavior, and feeling frustration with their surroundings; these are only some of most notable symptoms of autism. However, new research from the Weizmann Institute in Israel may be the first step in explaining how autism really works in the brain, and why so many autistic individuals struggle to communicate with their environment.

By comparing the function of “normal” brains to autistic brains in their resting states, Avital Hahamy and Prof. Rafi Malach were able to show that autistic brains are unique, each in their own right. This may seem like quite an obvious observation, but when Hahamy conducted her study, recently published in “Nature Neuroscience,” it was largely thought that autistic brains could be categorized together when compared with a normal functioning brain. Now it is clear that each and every individual case of autism produces different habits in the brain, explaining the wide-range of social disturbances that autistic individuals experience, and justifying the rather vague name of the condition, autism spectrum disorder.

No two autistic brains are alike

Hahamy was able to come to the conclusion that each autistic brain is unique following her and her colleagues’ research into brain connectivity, and functional brain connectivity in particular. Functional connectivity is a measure of how well activity in different areas of the brain is synchronized. Hahamy sought to examine resting state functional connectivity, or the level of synchronization between activities in different parts of brain while an individual is at rest, in order to find out how an autistic brain differs from a typical brain. This is measured with an fMRI scanner that reads brain activity by analyzing changes in blood flow.

Read the rest HERE at No Camels.