Differences isolated for the first time between autistic and non-autistic brains
Following the development of a new method for analysis MRI scans of the brain, scientists in the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Warwick have been able to create an accurate 3D model of the brain.
Over a billion individual pieces of data were analysed covering the 47, 636 areas of the brain, called voxels. This data originated from 523 people with autism and 452 people without autism.
The researchers isolated 20 areas of difference where the connections between the voxels in the autistic brain were stronger or weaker than the non‑autistic.
The areas related to face expression processing involved in social behaviour and another in spatial functions, which the researchers propose are linked to the computations involved in theory of mind of oneself or of others and a reduced connectivity in these regions may be contributing to the symptoms of autism.
This methodology may be able to isolate similar areas in people that have other cognitive problems including obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia.