Autism :: Weak brain ‘links’ responsible for poor social skills

A new research has shown that the difficulties people with autism have in relating to others could be due to poor communication between brain areas.

It may explain why they do not interact well, as the weak links mean they benefit less from social situations.

It had been thought that their lack of social skills was due to abnormalities in particular brain areas.

The study in Neuroimage, carried out by University of London researchers, compared brain scans of 32 people. The face processing areas of the brain are not well connected to those parts of the brain that control attention.

Scans showed there were marked differences in the brain activity of the two groups. In the control group, paying attention to pictures of faces caused a significant increase in brain activity.

“We welcome this research, which examines the underlying mechanisms related to complex ‘instinctive’ social responses,” Richard Mills, director of research for the National Autism Society, said.

“We know that many people with ASD have particular difficulties in this area and we are hopeful that an improved understanding of these processes will enable people to receive appropriate and helpful support,” he added.

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