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New Research May Explain Child Autism

By Dr. Mallika Marshall
February 23, 2006

A new study may help shed some new light on what happens in the brain to make a child autistic.

Five-year-old Andrew is autistic but considered high functioning. In therapy he can recognize and name objects.

He also displays emotions like frustration and happiness. But Andrew's parents say he struggles to recognize those same emotions in other people.

Many autistic children seem to have trouble either recognizing or understanding other people's emotions. But why?

UCLA Doctor Mirella Dapretto decided to search for an answer. Her team scanned the brains of both normal and autistic children.

While inside, the kids were shown pictures of different emotions. When analyzing the part of the brain that deals with understanding emotion Dr. Dapretto found a stark difference.

In normal kids it lit up but in autistic children nothing happened.

The finding is important because researchers have struggled to understand the autistic brain.

"We still have to answer the question of what may cause a disfunction within this particular system." said Dr. Dapretto.

For parents of autistic children it gives them hope that scientists may be one step closer to solving the problem.

Original source: http://cbs4boston.com

 

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