Study Reveals Potential Weak Links in Brain Concerning Relationship Between Speech and Emotional Rewards

Autism 3

More people than ever before are dealing with autism, and more families in the United States are being forced to learn to live with it than at any point in American history.  This statistical reality is prompting a lot of learning with regards to autism, and despite the remarkable gains that the medical research community has made we still have a lot to learn.  This is true in the world of medical research and it’s especially true when it comes to everyday people who love someone who has autism.  In many ways, this condition remains a mystery.

One of the more confusing things with regards to autism in terms of the perspectives of everyday people is the way that autistic people seem to not react to speech or to things that are said with any sort of emotion.  This has led to much in the way of misunderstandings over the years, but it has also led to families of children with autism becoming frustrated when they would attempt to bond with autistic children with their words.  When people do not intimately understand the nature of autism, people who struggle with this condition can seem detached.

The medical research world has been working to learn more about this problem as well, and based on the results of a recent study it’s possible that they have done so.  Researchers at Stanford University compared brain scans of 20 children with what is known as high-functioning autism with 19 children who did not have autism.  They used high-functioning children because they wanted to remove potential difference that could arise because of basic IQ scores.

What they found in their brain scans is that the children with autism did not have connections in the brain that were as strong as non-autistic children with regards to the regions of the brain that release dopamine in response to receiving rewards.  Therefore, when an autistic child is praised by someone, he or she does not experience the pleasure and satisfaction that everyone else experiences.  This could help to explain the lack of response.

In addition, the researchers found that there were weaker connections in the right sides of the brains of the autistic children where vocal cues and pitch are detected.  This also leads to difficulty in processing emotional cues and can lead to a lack of what would seem like others to be a logical response to praise or some other type of verbal expression.

What all of this means is that we may now understand what why it is that autistic children seem to have trouble with the social and emotional aspects of communication.  If we have discovered a physical problem that’s the foundation of it, then perhaps we can someday discover a way to fix that problem.  The New York medical malpractice lawyers at The Fitzgerald Law Firm have been representing families of children who contracted autism because of brain injuries inflicted during birth since 1971, and we hope that progress continues to be made to provide people in this position with hope.