Brain Connectivity Plays Role
Brain scans of children as young as 6 months can show signs of autism, find researchers who used a special type of MRI scan called diffusion tensor imaging. Published in American Journal of Psychiatry, the new research suggests that brain connectivity plays a big role in autism. The 6-month brain scans of babies later diagnosed with autism show that white matter pathways grew faster or were more dense than those for children who didn't develop autism. However, the growth slows down at 12 months with both groups having similar development of pathways. At 24 months, the children who developed autism had brain connections that were less dense than normally developing children. CNN reports that researchers say autism may be a "whole brain-phenomenon," instead of a specific brain region issue.
Using Head Could Hurt
Soccer players who frequently head the ball may have brain abnormalities similar to patients with traumatic brain injury, suggest researchers who used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to study the effects of heading in soccer. Researchers utilized DTI, an advanced magnetic resonance technique, to study 32 amateur soccer players. Fielding the ball with the head, heading, is a big part of soccer and training drills for the sport. While heading doesn't produce enough impact to lacerate nerve fibers in the brain, researchers caution that repetitive heading could lead to a "cascade of responses" that result in degeneration of brain cells. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).