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
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.
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