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Out-of-Sync Brain May Be a Clue to Autism

Study Shows Toddlers With Autism Have Abnormal Synchronization in Brain's Communication Area

Connection Failure in the Brain

The study reinforces some research and breaks some new ground, according to Geraldine Dawson, PhD, chief science officer for Autism Speaks. She reviewed the report but did not participate in the research.

"Some have described autism as a 'developmental disconnection syndrome' because several studies have found that there is a failure of long-range connectivity between different brain regions in autism," she says. "This helps explain why people with autism have trouble with complex behaviors, such as social interaction and language, which require coordinated activity across several brain regions."

It is the first study, she believes, ''to show reduced functional connectivity in very young children with autism." The study, she says, suggests this abnormality is an early characteristic of the disorder. It helps explain some symptoms seen early on, she says. "Even early gestures and social games require coordinated activity among several brain regions."

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