Reduced 'Fine-Tuning' of Brain May Hamper Face Recognition in Autism
[Source: HealthDay via US News and World Report]
A malfunction in a specific group of brain cells may explain why some people with autism have difficulty recognizing faces, a small new study finds.
Researchers used functional MRI to scan the brains of 15 adults with autism. In some of the patients, neurons in the brain area that processes faces — the fusiform face area (FFA) — were too broadly “tuned” to distinguish between facial features of different people.
“When your brain is processing faces, you want neurons to respond selectively so that each is picking up a different aspect of individual faces. The neurons need to be finely tuned to understand what is dissimilar from one face to another,” study senior investigator Maximilian Riesenhuber, an associate professor of neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center, said in a center news release.
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