April 19, 2024

Changes in Brain’s Visual Processing Areas in Infancy Before Autism Diagnosis

According to a new study, children who were detected with autism spectrum condition at 24 months had distinctions in the visual processing areas of the brain at 6 months old.
Infants who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 24 months old had differences in the visual processing areas of the brain that appeared at 6 months old, according to a research study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The researchers theorized that interruption in visual processing might interfere with how infants see the world around them, changing how they interact with and gain from caregivers and their environment. These early changes might impact additional brain advancement and contribute in ASD symptoms.
The study was performed by Jessica Girault, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, and coworkers. It was released on May 26, 2022, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The research study enrolled 384 sets of brother or sisters, the earliest of which had actually been detected with ASD. If their older siblings had greater levels of ASD characteristics, previous research study by the team found that younger siblings were more likely to develop ASD. Researchers carried out Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans on the brains of the younger siblings at 6, 12, and 24 months of age.

Among the 89 younger brother or sisters who established ASD, those whose older brother or sisters had extreme ASD characteristics had greater volume and surface location of the cerebrum, which manages speech, believed, feelings, reading, writing, and knowing; bigger area in the part of the visual cortex essential for recognizing things; and less mature connections in the splenium, which links the brains left and best visual cortices and plays a function in visual attention.
Reference: “Infant Visual Brain Development and Inherited Genetic Liability in Autism” by Jessica B. Girault, Ph.D., Kevin Donovan, Ph.D., Zoë Hawks, Ph.D., Muhamed Talovic, M.S., Elizabeth Forsen, B.S., Jed T. Elison, Ph.D., Mark D. Shen, Ph.D., Meghan R. Swanson, Ph.D., Jason J. Wolff, Ph.D., Sun Hyung Kim, Ph.D., Tomoyuki Nishino, M.S., Savannah Davis, M.S., Abraham Z. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., Kelly N. Botteron, M.D., Annette M. Estes, Ph.D., Stephen R. Dager, M.D., Heather C. Hazlett, Ph.D., Guido Gerig, Ph.D., Robert McKinstry, M.D., Ph.D., Juhi Pandey, Ph.D., Robert T. Schultz, Ph.D., Tanya St. John, Ph.D., Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, M.D., Alexandre Todorov, Ph.D., Young Truong, Ph.D., Martin Styner, Ph.D., John R. Pruett Jr, M.D., Ph.D., John N. Constantino, M.D. and Joseph Piven, M.D., for the IBIS Network, 26 May 2022, The American Journal of Psychiatry.DOI: 10.1176/ appi.ajp.21101002.
NIH financing was supplied by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Mental Health, and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.