It's not known whether people with autism have more or less connections in parts of their brains that normally work in together. Now a new study states the lack of common ground in this area reflects the fact that people with autism have connections that are uniquely their own.
According to the scientists, the research could help lead to better diagnosis of autism and improve treatments.
'It opens up the possibility that there are many altered brain profiles all of which fall under the umbrella of 'autism','' said Dr Marlene Behrmann at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
The scientists studied data taken from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
“Resting-state brain studies are important because that is when patterns emerge spontaneously, allowing us to see how various brain areas naturally connect and synchronise their activity,” said Avital Hahamy, a Ph.D. student in Dr Weizmann's Neurobiology Department.
The control participants' brains had similar connectivity patterns across different individuals. However, those with autism tended to display much more unique patterns.
Mr Hahamy said, “From a young age, the average, typical person's brain networks get moulded by intensive interaction with people and the mutual environmental factors.”
It is possible that in ASD, as interactions with the environment are disrupted, each one develops a more uniquely individualistic brain organisation pattern.