Thursday, December 2, 2010

MRI Scans and Asperger's - New Research

The online journal Autism Research published a new study today on how MRI scans of brain circuitry might help us understand how the brains of people with HFA differ from the brains of people without spectrum disorders.

Researchers were able to measure six physical differences of microscopic fibers in the brains of 30 males with confirmed high-functioning autism and 30 males without autism. How these findings might relate to adults with Asperger's is unknown. The scans helped researchers identify adults in the study with HFA with over 90% accuracy. While the study was small, the progress is promising, as researchers are increasingly in search of definitive evidence of brain differences related to autism. Identifying such differences may serve to clarify diagnosis, which is a largely subjective process at present.

While the study authors find the results promising, MRI scanning for diagnostic purposes is a long way from becoming a widely used tool.

Using the MRI, the study authors measured how the water in the brain flows along the axons or nerve fibers in the parts of the brain that control language, social and emotional functioning. The scans revealed that the wiring of the brains of those with autism was disorganized compared with the brains of a typical person without autism.

Such results are important for adults with Asperger's to consider, and important for their partners to consider. The communication difficulties which can cause immense frustration for the partner of an adults with AS are understood today, with increasing clarity, to result from neurological brain differences.

Currently there is no biologic test for autism; clinicians working with adults must gather information about current and past functioning to piece together a clinical picture. This process can be tricky, as adults have often adapted to social rules and settings, making what might be more easily identifiable "Aspie" behaviors difficult to see. Often family members are the true observers of these behaviors, but are left without a framework with which to understand them.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find it really hard to keep this aspie thing in mind when my husband is being difficult. i wish he could hold up a card that says ASPIE and remind me. hey, good idea!!! CHERYL

Anonymous said...

Wish there was a blood test. Hope there well be soon. Lots of guesswork involved here.

Angela Ayers said...

research vaccinations that were given!!! There is always a trigger effect with behavioral diagnosis. ALot of environmental possibilities, foods, and medications. There is ALWAYS a root. Dig it out!

Travis Hanson said...

Here we are in 2018 and Temple shows off her brain scans every chance she gets. Its strange that even though we can image a brain so effectively today, to show abnormal mapping of an autistic brain, yet, it is not accessible to those fighting for the truth. I want to know how my brain is mapped. In every one of your posts, you have shared important insights that all the clinicians I have worked with have overlooked. Currently I'm being evaluated by a PHD and he is reluctant to listen to my experiences. Often my description doesn't fully explain the difficulties and the analogies I use tend to be obsurd with exaggeration. It sounds bad because it really is that bad. Is it so hard to understand that yes I am experiencing something so painful, yet sit in calm silence. Give me my brain scan because it should reveal what my words cannot. I wish I would have found this in 2010. It was the first time I sought an aspergers evaluation. The person said I wasn't an aspie, but "could be on the spectrum". It didn't click and I didn't know what she meant and have spent the last 8 years in and out of talk therapy and taking all kinds of psychosis inducing antidepressants. I'm learning from your blog, and its helping me get thru today. Your post here was on my birthday and reading the date helped me remember where I was, the last time I was so earnest to figure out life and why I constantly get it wrong. I think brain scans should become normal diagnostic procedure. It would also serve to illustrate whether or not an autistic brain is as plastic as an NT brain.