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

August 5, 2014

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.

Explore further: 'Connection error' in the brains of anorexics

More information: Neuroscience Research, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168010214001254

Related Stories

'Connection error' in the brains of anorexics

January 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 important for the ...

Early warning sign for babies at risk of autism

July 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 ...

Early treatment sparks striking brain changes in autism

November 6, 2012

When given early treatment, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) made significant improvements in behavior, communication, and most strikingly, brain function, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a new ...

Recommended for you

Autism biomarker seen as boon for new treatments

January 11, 2017

Researchers at the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment have identified a signature brain-wave pattern for children with autism spectrum disorder related to a genetic condition known as Dup15q syndrome. The research ...

Lab confirms vitamin D link to autism traits

December 14, 2016

Researchers at The University of Queensland's Queensland Brain Institute have found a link between vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy and increased autism traits.

Neuromotor problems at the core of autism, study says

December 12, 2016

Rutgers neuroscientists have established that problems controlling bodily movements are at the core of autism spectrum disorders and that the use of psychotropic medications to treat autism in children often makes such neuromotor ...

Mutations in life's 'essential genes' tied to autism

December 12, 2016

Genes known to be essential to life—the ones humans need to survive and thrive in the womb—also play a critical role in the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), suggests a new study from Penn Medicine geneticists ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.