Area of Sensitivity to Acoustic Change Identified in Brains of Autistic Children

French researchers Gomot, Giard, Adrien, Barthelemy, and Bruneau have identified an abnormality in the brain of autistic individuals that is associated with auditory sensitivity.

The researchers examined the electrophysiological changes that occur during the ‘automatic’ detection of a change in auditory frequency. Fifteen autistic children and 15 normal children (controls) participated in this study. The electrophysiological measures included: scalp potential and scalp current density (SCD).

Although detection of the frequency change occurred in both hemispheres, the results indicated that the brains of autistic children responded much faster to the change than those in the control group. Additionally, detection of frequency change was fastest in the left frontal cortex.

Gomot and his colleagues concluded that the abnormal activity in the left frontal cortex could affect cognitive and behavior impairment. This study is one of many that have documented dysfunctional auditory processing in autistic children.

Psychophysiology, 2002, Vol. 39, pp. 577-584. (PMID: 12236323)

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This article appeared in a previous issue of The Sound Connection, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 4, page 6.

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