The source of empathy in the brain of a human being may also have a part to play in autism. A system of neurons is known to exist in the human brain which specialize in the 'walking in another's shoes' function. The 'mirror neurons' are at work, when a person makes a move while watching another person.
Malfunctioning mirror neurons may have a role in autistic children's social isolation, according to the Nature Neuroscience Journal. The least amount of activity was witnessed in the case of certain mirror neurons with the children who suffered the most severe symptoms. In the case of non-autistic children, it was just the opposite according to the study.
Autistic people have difficulty when it comes to relating to others due to problems with mirror neurons. The penchant for imitation, like a baby returning a smile is reportedly due to the activity of the mirror neuron. Remarkable progress has been made with regard to research connected with mirror neurons over the past 10 years. Putting it more simply, the mirror neurons are motor neurons which controls movements, which become active when a person observes somebody else make a physical move. It responds to the intention behind the action rather than the action itself. Brain scans help in tracking their activity in human beings.
It is still unclear whether understanding the mirror neurons will serve to help autistic children. The action of the mirror neurons can be fixed in the case of early diagnosis of autism. There are also chances that the other parts of the brain may be in a position to make up for the inactivity of the mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are being bolstered in the current therapies being given to autistic children.
The research on mirror neurons may also throw light upon the subject as to how languages emerged among human beings. Mirror neurons are also capable of imitating violence. In the case of a heart attack in a human being, about 1.9 million neurons die in a single minute, and delayed treatment can inflict severe damage upon the brain.