Patients with autism spectrum disorder are not sensitive to 'being imitated'

A Japanese research group led by Prof Norihiro Sadato, a professor of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS), has found that people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have decreased activity in an area in the brain critical for understanding if his/her movement was imitated by others. These results will be published in Neuroscience Research.

The research group of Norihiro Sadato, a professor of NIPS, Hirotaka Kosaka, a specially-assigned associate professor of the University of Fukui, and Toshio Munesue, a professor of Kanazawa University measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) when one's movement was imitated by others. The group studied brain activity when a subject saw his/her finger movement imitated or not imitated by others. Normal subjects have increased activity in the extrastriate body area (EBA) when they are imitated compared to when they are not being imitated. The EBA is a region in the visual cortex for visual processing that responds powerfully during the perception of human body parts. On the other hand, because this kind of activity in the EBA of subjects with ASD was not observed, it shows that the EBA of subjects with ASD is not working properly when imitated.

Persons with ASD are known to have difficulty in interpersonal communication and have trouble noticing that their movement was imitated. Behavioral intervention research to alleviate ASD is proceeding and indicates that training utilizing imitation is useful. The result of the above research not only provided clues to ASD, but also can be used in the evaluation of to alleviate the disorder.

More information: Neuroscience Research, www.sciencedirect.com/science/… ii/S0168010214001254

Provided by National Institutes of Natural Sciences

3 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Brain scans detect autism's signature

Nov 15, 2010

An autism study by Yale School of Medicine researchers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has identified a pattern of brain activity that may characterize the genetic vulnerability to developing autism spectrum ...

'Connection error' in the brains of anorexics

Jan 24, 2013

When people see pictures of bodies, a whole range of brain regions are active. This network is altered in women with anorexia nervosa. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging study, two regions that are ...

Early warning sign for babies at risk of autism

Jul 24, 2014

Some babies are at risk for autism because they have an older sibling that has the disorder. To find new ways to detect Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) earlier in life, researchers are exploring the subtleties of babies' interactions ...

Recommended for you

A link between Jacobsen syndrome and autism

Sep 15, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—A rare genetic disorder known as Jacobsen syndrome has been linked with autism, according to a recent joint investigation by researchers at San Diego State University and the University ...

Sex hormones may play a part in autism

Sep 08, 2014

Higher rates of Autism Spectrum Disorders in males than females may be related to changes in the brain's estrogen signalling, according to research published in the open access journal Molecular Autism.

Planning a better future for people with autism

Aug 27, 2014

In the world of special education, transition is the move from school to adult life. For most of us that move can be awkward, but for people with disabilities—particularly autism—it is especially complex.

User comments