The brain of autistic people works without a break
Autistic patients lack the brain activity typical of rest periods. American scientists speculate that this could be a reason for the disturbed communication behavior of autistic people.
Daniel Kennedy and his colleagues from the University of California in San Diego measured the brain activity of 15 autistic patients and 14 he althy people using functional magnetic resonance imaging while the subjects were recovering from word recognition tests. In he althy test subjects, several brain areas such as the medial prefrontal cortex were active during the breaks in recovery. These brain activities are probably related to the typical "daydreams" in which thoughts flow freely and which play an important role in self-reflection.
Since these brain activities were weaker in the autistic test subjects, the researchers suspect a cause for the behavioral disorder: Instead of letting their thoughts run free, autistic people may continue to concentrate on their compulsive habits. The self-reflection that is disturbed as a result could impair social behavior.
Autism is considered a pervasive developmental disorder, affecting approximately two to four out of every 10,000 children. Above all, strong self-centeredness, impaired interpersonal behavior and a compulsive adherence to ingrained rituals are typical.