Understanding the Unique Brain Networks of Autistic Infants

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A recent study is attributed to successfully identifying unique brain networks that are similar to ASD related behaviors often seen in young infants who are a risk of inheriting autism symptoms.

Autism and Brain Networks

The recent findings are seen to successfully assist one in pinpointing regions of the brain involving certain characteristics of autism disorder while providing necessary clues to understand repetitive and restricted behaviors.

Claire McKinnon, co-author of the study, explains, “The study is first to successfully investigate that right patterns of the functional connectivity of the brain underlying the trigger of ASD related behaviors in young infants.”

McKinnon, lab technician from the Washington University School of Medicine, has also pursued as lead researcher for the above study.

The behaviors assessed during the course of the study are crucial and play an important role during early stage of an infant’s life. These behaviors are further seen to gain prominence at 12 months which could be an important and an early sign that s/he might end up developing ASD related symptoms.

That being said, lesser studies have managed to examine the events surrounding the brain owing to the difficulties of using brain imaging techniques, such as FMRI, with toddlers and infants.

Nevertheless, this study is seen to helpful in providing a glimpse of the events surrounding the functioning of the brain when the brain circuits and autism related conditions are seen to take shape.

Cameron Carter explains, “This study pitches the right accord to the growing evidence that highlight changes in the functional structures of the brain that can be measured in young infants using FMRI.

FMRI can also be helpful in reflecting the emerging differences in behavioral and cognitional that is associated with the ASD disorder.”

The functional connections of the brain correlate the repetitive behaviors that are often observed during the infancy stages.

Biomarkers can be helpful in predicting features autism related conditions much before clinical diagnosis in cases where infants are aged above 24 months. Owing to early prediction tools, the authors of the study are also hopeful of the results making a difference in inventions of newer autism treatment.

McKinnon explains, “There is a lack of effective interventional programs that target monotonous behaviors and the defined neural structures identified during the course of this study could be helpful in measuring the response of potential future treatments.”

The study was further divided into subcategories as identified below

  • Stereotyped Behaviors
  • Ritualistic Behaviors
  • Restricted Behaviors

Further, the abnormal functional connections that are associated with the above mentioned categories are involved in major chunk of brain networks that also include the default mode (the brain network that is active during restive mode).

The behaviors associated with these specific brain networks reinforces the categories above, whereas these specific overlapped associations indicate the other aspects that might happen to share common origins.

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Understanding the Unique Brain Networks of Autistic Infants
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Understanding the Unique Brain Networks of Autistic Infants
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An insightful article highlighting research-exploration of the complex brain structure
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AutisMag
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