Autism Disorders Highlighted by Brain Maps

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The brain maps of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been proven to show different levels of connectivity between certain areas of the brain compared to those individuals who do not have ASD.

Autism spectrum disorder refers to a group of neurological dysfunctions that range from Asperger’s syndrome to hyperactivity. Researchers from the University of Malaysia Sarawak did a study where they compared the brain wave patterns of 10 typical individuals and 10 individuals with ASD, in an effort to pinpoint specific anomalies that might be associated with certain disorders.

The Study

During the study, the team used a quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG), which is used in order to measure the electrical activity in the brain by way of 19 electrodes placed on the head and monitored during specific tasks. These electrodes allowed the researchers to actually monitor and see the brain waves, which move independently at different frequencies, ultimately creating a brain map that more or less showed varying activity throughout different regions of the brain.

The results of the scans showed researchers that those individuals who had some form of ASD, had fewer beta waves throughout the entire brain than did typical non-ASD patients. This is ultimately an indicator of under-connectivity throughout the brain system, where decreased beta waves generally are intensely associated with individuals who have attention disorders, brain injuries and even learning disabilities.

The brain maps that were created during the study for both groups of individuals further revealed that ASD patients had an excess of both fast and slow waves firing in the frontal lobe, which to some might suggest that there are faulty connections between the back and front regions of the patient’s brain.

Additionally, ASD individuals showed a reduced presence of alpha waves in the regions of the brain that are associated with gross motor movement and senses, which in itself could explain the difficulty that was had by these individuals to mimic instructed tasks.

Relevance

These results observed in the research study ran consistent with previous studies that used different brain imaging tools, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, for example. The researchers of this study indicate that by observing the specific anomalies by way of qEEG, clinicians may be able to develop individualized neurofeedback training plans for their patients that have been diagnosed with some form of ASD.

The use of neurofeedback training would involve measuring the individual’s brain waves and from there producing specific auditory, as well as visual, signals to serve as feedback to the brain. All in an effort to teach it tasks that will help it to regulate its own functions. The researchers found through this study that neurofeedback training that was based on qEEG-guided protocol was highly more effective than neurofeedback and training that was based on symptoms.

Learn more about qEEG and read research that shows changes which occured after cognitive training by clicking HERE.

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