Gaining a Deeper Understanding into Optimal Outcomes for Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder
How do the brains of those who have had optimal outcomes from early therapy for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) function? Is it different from those who have not had optimal outcomes or even from those without ASD? This is what two researchers from the University of Connecticut, Drs. Deborah Fein and Inge-Marie Eigstiare, are currently exploring through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging. They define optimal outcomes as those who appear to no longer have any ASD symptoms.
Their work is showing that the brains of those with optimal outcome are functioning differently from both those without optimal outcomes and from those without ASD. It appears that these patients are recruiting different areas of the brain to help compensate for the ASD. In particular, areas of the brain “important in control and attention regulation, motivation, and decision making” were activated and these subjects “were showing greater amounts of activation” compared to both of the other study groups.
These authors believe that this information can provide greater insight into how and why early therapy for ASD might work for some individuals but not others.
For more details regarding the work ongoing at the University of Connecticut, readers are referred to the full article published in UConn Magazine.
Hancock E. (2017) New research proves that some kids grow out their autism symptoms. UConn Magazine. Accessed on May 16, 2017.