New brain imaging and computer modeling predicts autistic brain activity and behavior
Autism has long been a scientific enigma, mainly due to its diverse and seemingly unrelated symptoms. New research from Carnegie Mellon University provides an explanation for some of autism's mysteries and gives scientists clear targets for developing intervention and treatment therapies. The team used brain imaging and computer modeling to show how the brain's white matter tracts (the cabling that connects separated brain areas) are altered in autism and how these alterations can affect brain function and behavior. The deficiencies affect the tracts' bandwidth -- the speed and rate at which information can travel along the pathways. In 2004, a study first discovered and explained that the synchronization of the activation between frontal and posterior brain areas is lower in autism. Since then, the team have used more advanced imaging technologies, particularly diffusion imaging of white matter, and sophisticated computer models to uncover that the white matter is also altered in autism.