Tag Archives: Mri Scans

Question?: Autism Signs In Adults

Maria asks…

What would autistic parents teach an autistic child?

Autism is a mutation in the brain, and mutations can be either helpful or harmful (mutations are what brought mankind to where it is today). Suppose for a moment that we all see autism as normal yet different from what is socially normal. How would autistic people live in a society where everyone is also autistic? How would they interact, and what would they teach each other? What would career environments be like? How would homes be built? What would be valued, and what wouldn’t be?

What would the autistic life be like?
This is what I am trying to ask.

I don’t believe autism should be seen as a “disorder” or a handicap but rather a different way of thinking and different behavior.
I read in Times magazine that autistic people have less “grey matter” and more “white matter” in their brains, and that’s why there has to be a mutation in their genes that makes it that way.
And to the person who says that it’s a disorder and that autistic people cannot compete with the rest of society, what I am stating is: what if they didn’t have to compete and had dominance in society?

admin answers:

Autism is NOT a mutation in the brain. When looking at fMRI scans and regular MRI scans, you will NOT find some defining anomoly characteristic of autism.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. One should keep in mind however, that autism is a spectrum disorder and it affects each individual differently and at varying degrees – this is why early diagnosis is so crucial. By learning the signs, a child can begin benefiting from one of the many specialized intervention programs (see treatment and education).

And you are right, it should not be considered a disorder. It only is due to social standards created today. Austistic people are just different. They use their brain differently, and sometimes very uniquely. Like the Rain Man.

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Question?: Adhd Lyrics

Steven asks…

If a brain is great at remembering music but not able to remember digits or names as well, how does this work?

Does the brain use up more neurons and cells remembering music (exact tones and pitches) or do names and numbers take up more?

Does anyone really know the answer? We all know that the brain is still an absolute mystery to science. So what are your theories on the above question – seeing as science will probably never know.

admin answers:

The brain is very complex and costly to build during embryogenesis.
Small nutrient disruptions or other stresses can influence critical development points in early growth. Each fetus experiences some degree of growth limiting deficits at different times that influence how it develops from the genetic potential it inherited.

However the brain has a genetic plasticity with many overlapping functions so small local growth perturbations can be compensated for. Later, after birth while the brain continues to grow, learning & experience further alter the patterns of interactive networks that develop and help in compensating for slight growth differences.

Post natal normal brain development MRI study
The medial pre-frontal cortex is a music-processing region in the brain. MRI scans of test subjects listening to music show this area is active.
Music & lyrics are handled separately

People with dyscalculia have a dysfunctional ability to conceptualize numbers just as dyslexics have difficulties with words. Pet & MRI scans show a weak network in the parietal and prefrontal cortices “including the intraparietal sulcus, and the middle and inferior frontal gyrus of both hemispheres. ” indicating this is a critical region for arithmetic calculations

Reading first uses the the left occipital temporal region at the back of the brain to recognize letters then continues through other regions until meaning is processed.

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Sensual Caress – How Does The Brain Respond? Neuroscientists Explain

Editor’s Choice
Main Category: Neurology / Neuroscience
Also Included In: Psychology / Psychiatry;  Men’s Health;  Autism
Article Date: 15 Jun 2012 – 12:00 PDT Current ratings for:
‘Sensual Caress – How Does The Brain Respond? Neuroscientists Explain’
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Caressing someone, like touching a shoulder, stroking someone’s cheek, brushing over someone’s head, etc. often indicates a loving touch, although these signals can also be perceived as highly aversive depending on who is doing it and who is the recipient.

Neuroscientists from California’s Institute of Technology (Caltech) in collaboration with Valeria Gazzola and Christian Keysers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands decided to investigate they brain’s dynamics of making connections between touch and emotion.

Their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveal that the association starts in the brain’s primary somatosensory cortex, the region of the brain that was believed until now to only respond to basic touch but not to its emotional quality.

During a functional MRI scan, the researchers measured the brain activity of self-identified heterosexual male study participants who were being caressed on the leg watching a video with two scenarios. In the first video, an attractive female bent down to caress them, whilst the second scenario consisted of the same caressing touch, but by a man. The participants reported a pleasurable experience when they thought the woman had touched them, but an aversive reaction in response to the man they believed touched them. Their reports were confirmed by the MRI scans, which reflected the different experiences in the activity measured in each man’s primary somatosensory cortex.

Michael Spezio, a visiting associate at Caltech who is also an assistant professor of psychology at California’s Scripps College in Claremont, explained:

“We demonstrated for the first time that the primary somatosensory cortex – the brain region encoding basic touch properties such as how rough or smooth an object is – also is sensitive to the social meaning of a touch. It was generally thought that there are separate brain pathways for how we process the physical aspects of touch on the skin and for how we interpret that touch emotionally – that is, whether we feel it as pleasant, unpleasant, desired, or repulsive. Our study shows that, to the contrary, emotion is involved at the primary stages of social touch.”

The participants were unaware that on both occasions it was a woman caressing their leg like in the video. They perceived the touch differently when they believed the man touched them instead of the woman.

Ralph Adolphs, Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Caltech and director of the Caltech Brain Imaging Center, explained:

“The primary somatosensory cortex responded more to the ‘female’ touch than to the ‘male’ touch condition, even while subjects were only viewing a video showing a person approach their leg. We see responses in a part of the brain thought to process only basic touch that were elicited entirely by the emotional significance of social touch prior to the touch itself, simply in anticipation of the caress that our participants would receive.”

Gazzola commented: “Intuitively, we all believe that when we are touched by someone, we first objectively perceive the physical properties of the touch – its speed, its gentleness, the roughness of the skin. Only thereafter, in a separable second step based on who touched us, do we believe we value this touch more or less.”

She continued stating that the experiment proves this two-step vision is incorrect, at least with regard to the brain regions being separate from each other. She adds that the person we believe is touching us distorts even the supposedly objective representation of what the touch felt like on the skin.

Keysers said: “Nothing in our brain is truly objective. Our perception is deeply and pervasively shaped by how we feel about the things we perceive.”

The findings may shed new light on helping to reshape social responses to touch in people with autism.

Spezio comments: “Now that we have clear evidence that primary somatosensory cortex encodes emotional significance of touch, it may be possible to work with early sensory pathways to help children with autism respond more positively to the gentle touch of their parents and siblings.”
br> The findings also indicate the potential of using film clips or virtual reality to re-program positive responses to gentle touch in victims who experienced torture as well as sexual and physical abuse.

In future experiments, the researchers hope to evaluate whether the effect is as robust in women as in men, as well as in men and women of all sexual orientations in addition to investigating the potential development of these sensory pathways in infants or children.

Written By Petra Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

Visit our neurology / neuroscience section for the latest news on this subject. “Primary somatosensory cortex discriminates affective significance in social touch”
Valeria Gazzola, Michael L. Spezio, Joset A. Etzel, Fulvia Castelli, Ralph Adolphs, and Christian Keysers
PNAS, June 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1113211109 Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:


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15 Jun. 2012. APA

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‘Sensual Caress – How Does The Brain Respond? Neuroscientists Explain’

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