Thursday, July 24, 2008

Carnegie Mellon University Researchers Study Autism

Research at Carnegie Mellon University suggests the reason people with autism face social struggles is a breakdown in the communication networks in the brain. That breakdown leads to their inability to process social situations as quickly and efficiently as those without autism. A group of researchers conducted a study on a control group and a group of patients with autism. The groups were presented with pictures of geometric shapes that were moving around. The participants had to decide what the shapes were doing. For example, a red triangle was pushing a blue triangle out of a box, when presented with a list of options, "persuasion" was the right answer. While participants were taking the test the researchers were conducting scans of brain activity. The researchers found that a connective network that leads to a part of the brain that process social information was broken down and ineffective in people with autism. These findings a part of a larger research effort into the causes and effects of autism.

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