Face processing may improve over time in children with autism

The activity of the brain’s face detector, the fusiform gyrus, in response to faces is greater in adolescents with autism than it is in younger children with the condition. Researchers presented the unpublished results Monday at the 2017 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

People with autism tend to show less activity in the fusiform gyrus when they look at faces than controls do. Difficulties with face processing may contribute to social deficits in autism. But until now, nobody had looked at how face processing differs among children with autism of various ages.

“Previously, people assumed that individuals with autism have a stable or static brain dysfunction” in face processing, says Daniel Yang, assistant research professor in pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., who presented the results.

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13th November 2017