The brain of a child with autism is made up of neurons that fire off signals that are supposed to help the child’s brain develop.
The autism community has long suspected that a person’s brain is made of cells that fire differently than those of normal children.
That’s the idea that the autistic brain might have special abilities that allow it to make mistakes.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that certain neurons are much more active when they are fired when the brain is in a high-stress situation.
Their study was the first to examine this hypothesis in an autistic person.
“We looked at how different types of neurons fire in the brain, and the most striking thing was that the neurons that are firing during the stress of a stressful situation were the ones that we found most active in our brain,” says study co-author Jonathan Weiler, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of neuroscientist and autism researcher Dr. Jonathan Edwards.
“In other words, the brain may have this ability to make errors.”
Our findings suggest that there are two different types to autism.
One type is known as social anxiety disorder, or SAD, and this type of autism has been found in the brains of people with a wide range of conditions, from autism spectrum disorder to schizophrenia to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The other type is called pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), or PND, which has been reported in people with autism spectrum disorders.
“The first type of SAD has been linked to social anxiety and social isolation,” says Weiler.
“What this study shows is that SAD may be a symptom of the second type of autistic spectrum disorder.”
Edwards says that this study was very interesting.
“This study has implications that we never thought about,” he says.
“It means that the two types of autism might be related, and that the autism that’s more common in the autistic spectrum might be the result of having an extra layer of neural tissue that’s not normally present.”
When Edwards and his colleagues compared brain activity in the normal brain of normal-type children and autistic people, they found that people with autistic traits had significantly more activation in neurons that responded to the word “bad.”
Weiler says that’s because the autism person’s neurons were firing in a way that is very similar to the way neurons of people who have a normal brain fire in people who do not have autism.
This difference is important, because the researchers believe that this extra neural layer is critical to the autistic person’s ability to form the kind of connections that lead to understanding and forming new ideas.
“When you’re making a mistake, you have to do something different in order to get the same result as normal,” Weiler explains.
“You don’t want to fire the same neuron twice.”
The researchers found that the activation in this extra layer was associated with a different type of neural activity.
It is the neural response to an incoming sensory stimulus that we see when we’re actually looking at something.
When the person was trying to learn something about a problem, the neural activity in this layer was actually less intense, indicating that the person needed a different stimulus in order for their brain to learn.
Edwards says this new research suggests that these extra neural layers are the kind that the more social and expressive autistic people have, the less they show in the response to the sensory stimulus.
“People with autism are more likely to have sensory neurons that respond to the stimuli that are outside the sensory layer,” Edwards explains.
That is, the more sensory neurons in the sensory cortex, the higher the activation of the neurons in that layer.
That means that people who are more social have the ability to respond to stimuli in the same way as normal people, whereas people who don’t have autism show a higher activation of sensory neurons, making them less receptive to new sensory stimuli.
The research was conducted in the human brains of autistic people who had normal or high-functioning social cognition, and those who had autism.
The autistic people with SAD and those with PDD-NMOS were also studied.
Edwards and colleagues believe that the findings could have important implications for autism diagnosis and treatment.
“There’s no doubt that autism is an extremely challenging condition to diagnose,” says Edwards.
The researchers believe this new study offers further evidence that there is an extra neural structure in the autism brain that makes it difficult for autism people to form connections between different parts of the brain.
Edwards agrees that this new work provides important evidence for the autism community, which was previously skeptical about the idea of extra neural cells in the ASD brain.
“These findings provide evidence that we have a brain that has extra connections that are necessary to make things like learning, thinking, and making connections,” he said.
Edwards is now working on a study that will look at how these extra connections are made in people diagnosed with