Autism Severity Correlates with Sensory Processing

New AUTISM researchNew research uses EEG information, specifically “evoked potential” methods, to make even firmer the connection between severity of autism (ASD) and problems in sensory processing.  The American Psychiatric Association put out a bulletin recently discussing the research of Sophie Molholm PhD and colleagues at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  They studied 43 children with ASD and found the evoked auditory response, but not the evoked visual response, correlated with ASD severity.

Quoting from the APA report, “These results support other recent studies showing that the brain’s auditory network experiences delays and deficiencies in developing children with ASD.

“Molholm commented that the findings are “a first step toward developing a biomarker of autism severity –-an objective way to assess someone’s place on the ASD spectrum.” Current ASD diagnosis involves mainly subjective measures of a child’s behavior and cognition. The sensory EEG test might also help diagnose autism earlier, as brainwave responses to sound can be tested at young ages.”

Click here to see a video of Molholm discussing her study in more detail.

The APA bulletin points out that other studies have shown that visual perception in children with autism have more heightened visual sensitivity to moving objects than peers without autism. A recent study, published in the May 8 Journal of Neuroscience, reports an unexpected finding that children with autism have a sharper visual perception of moving objects than healthy peers do. Apparently, children with ASD have difficulty in filtering and controlling outside [visual] signals. Details are available at this link

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