Brain scans reveal neural signatures for autism

Using magnetic resonance imaging technology, a group of researchers has identified three distinct "neural signatures"--markers that can potentially be used to identify autism at an early stage.

The investigators at the Yale School of Medicine enlisted 62 children for the study, including children with autism as well as siblings who did not suffer from the disorder. By scanning their brains the scientists were able to identify areas of the brain with reduced activity as well as areas with enhanced activity found in the unaffected siblings. That pattern of brain activity suggests that their brains were able to develop compensatory abilities that helped them overcome a genetic predisposition to the disease.

"This study may contribute to a better understanding of the brain basis of ASD, and the genetic and molecular origin of the disorder," said first author Martha Kaiser, a postdoctoral associate in the Yale Child Study Center.

Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by poor social interaction and communication, and can disrupt the brain's ability to interpret the movements of other people, known as "biological motion." 

- here's the release from Science Daily