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Potential biomarker for autism

Non-invasive brain imaging could detect autism symptoms as early as infancy

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: A study of young children with autism spectrum disorder published in JNeurosci reveals altered brain waves compared to typically developing children during a motor control task. The non-invasive neuroimaging technique... view more 

Credit: An et al., JNeurosci (2018)

A study of young children with autism spectrum disorder published in JNeurosci reveals altered brain waves compared to typically developing children during a motor control task. The non-invasive neuroimaging technique used in this study could be employed to detect autism symptoms as early as infancy.

People with autism show reduced inhibitory neural activity, reflected in gamma brain waves, and movement abnormalities. Mitsuru Kikuchi and colleagues investigated these two aspects of the disorder by recording the brain activity of five- to seven-year-old children diagnosed with autism as they played a video game that required them to press a button to feed a puppy. Compared to a matched group of typically developing children, the children with autism exhibited longer reaction times and reduced gamma oscillations that were associated with the severity of their symptoms. The researchers demonstrate that these features alone can distinguish the two groups, which may represent an objective approach toward diagnosing autism in young children.

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Article: Altered Gamma Oscillations during Motor Control in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1229-18.2018

Corresponding author: Mitsuru Kikuchi (Kanazawa University, Japan), mitsuruk@med.kanazawa-u.ac.jp

About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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