Hyperconnectivity and the Autistic Brain

Autistic individuals tend to use different are...

Autistic individuals tend to use different areas of the brain (yellow) for a movement task compared to a control group (blue). Powell K. Opening a window to the autistic brain. PLoS Biol . 2004 ;2(8) :E267. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020267. PMID 15314667. PMC 509312. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the online issue of JAMA Psychiatry on June 26th The findings come from MRI brain scans of 20 children with autism spectrum disorders and 20 children without autism. Researchers found that those with an autism spectrum disorder showed “hyperconnectivity” along five major brain networks.

Menon’s team found that the more hyperconnectivity kids with autism had in the salience network, the more severe their “restrictive” and repetitive behaviors. They are thinking that these findings may be a hint as to what is going on in the brains of children with Autism.

Another possibility, he added, is that hyperconnectivity is involved in the exceptional skills seen in some kids with an autism diagnosis — like being a whiz with numbers. For now, though, that’s an “open question,” Menon said. They are also thinking this could be a starting point of sorts.

The children that were studied were between the ages of 7 and 12 years old. They also were high-funtioning with normal IQ’s and language. The only challenges these children had was socialization.

Last week, the same Stanford team found that children with an autism spectrum disorder showed weaker connections between certain other brain areas — namely, areas that process the human voice and those involved in feelings of “reward.”

They speculated that these children may get less pleasure from the sound of the human voice, and that might help explain some of their communication difficulties.

“I think there will turn out to be an interplay between hyperconnectivity and hypoconnectivity” in the brains of children with an autism spectrum disorder, Menon said.

I remember Sarah had always told me that if she could just take her head off she would be fine. She did not seem to connect the idea that she could not live without her head.

I hope that recent studies such as these will be such a starting point as to which there will be a strong spring board! I remember that I would get so tired of dr.’s wanting to do test after test on Sarah, and she would get tired of it too.

Sarah kept thinking maybe this test or that test would help her. Or maybe this pill or that pill would help her. She is always having her blood drawn and has had countless MRI’s and CAT Scans. She never gives up. The most important thing she does is pray. She has never given up on herself or God.

3-D MRI of a section of the head.

3-D MRI of a section of the head. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





One thought on “Hyperconnectivity and the Autistic Brain

  1. Pingback: Hyperconnectivity and the Autistic Brain | Sarah's Voice

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