Effects Of Autism On Brain Much Wider Than Presumed

by Medindia Content Team on  August 20, 2006 at 12:01 PM Mental Health News   - G J E 4
Effects Of Autism On Brain Much Wider Than Presumed
Researchers have found that Autism could affect the entire brain, not just the areas dealing with communication, social behaviour, and reasoning it had been once thought.

A new study by the Collaborative Program of Excellence in Autism (CPEA) has shown that autism affects a wide range of skills including sensory perception, movement and memory. The researchers have explained that their study seemingly suggests that various parts of the brain of a patient with autism have a hard time working in tandem to accomplish complex tasks.

Dr. Nancy Minshew and colleagues Diane Williams and Gerald Goldstein of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine had conducted the research that appears in the journal Child Neuropsychology on 56 children with autism and 56 children without the disorder. They explained that all participants were 8 to 15 years old.

Dr. Duane Alexander, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said, "This is a big change in the way most people have thought about autism." The researchers found that the autistic group had shortfall in many functions of the brain, including skills in sensory and motor function, attention span, problem solving and language. Dr. Minshew, a professor of psychiatry and neurology said, "And it affects a broad range of abilities in each of these domains."

Researchers explained having found that the autistic children had difficulties dispensing information on sensory, motor, language, memory and reasoning areas, but remained unaffected in the more basic sensory abilities such as touch, pain, position and vibration.

The scientists explained that they suspect that autism is caused by the brain's inability to incorporate complex information from various parts of the brain. They explained that for example an autistic child might have no problem finger tapping, but could probably have trouble with a more complex motor task like drawing or using a pair of scissors. The researchers have concluded that they hope that their findings would lead to better treatment for autism by repairing the faulty circuitry in the brain.

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