Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Research on Mirror Neurons

"A study in the Jan. 6 issue of Nature Neuroscience journal indicates [mirror neurons] are involved not only in the execution and observation of movement, but also in higher cognitive processes. These include speaking, imitating and learning from the action of others, by deciphering their intentions and empathizing with their pain.
Because all these abilities come up short in most individuals with autism, scientists have suspected there may be a glitch.
New findings lend substantial support to that theory, providing evidence of a dysfunctional mirror neuron system that may contribute to many impairments, particularly those involving comprehending and responding to the behavior of others, said lead author Mirella Dapretto, assistant professor in residence of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles.
The study sheds new light on the neural basis of autism and may pave the way to early diagnosis and potential therapies, such as biofeedback, the authors said. "

United Press International article here.

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