People with Autism Have a More Symmetrical Brain

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We all have two hemispheres of the brain. Some of you may know that your left and right halves are not similarly sized. But this is only true in average people. The latest study shows that the different halves are more similarly sized in people with mental disorders like autism.



The function of the two hemispheres


You have differently sized halves because the left and right halves of the brain develop differently. The left halve mainly controls language processing and speaking, whereas the right halve tends to focus on auditory and visual stimuli.


When the two differently sized halves work together perfectly, you can perceive and respond to the world perfectly.



People with autism have more symmetrical brains


After collecting brain scan data from 1,774 people with autism and 1,809 healthy people, the scientists found that people with autism have more similar halves.


In the healthy brain, the thicknesses of the cerebral cortex (the thin layer of gray matter that covers the brain) of the left and right halves are different. While in the brain of people with autism, the thicknesses are more similar, leading to a more symmetrical brain. And this will not be affected by sex, age, IQ, medication use, or the severity of symptoms.



So far, the scientists are not yet clear how exactly this symmetry affects people with and without autism, and they can't say for sure if autism leads to the symmetry or the symmetry leads to autism.


However, as this kind of symmetry is truly associated with autism, and it affects widespread brain regions with diverse functions, maybe scientists can better understand the disorder and find cures sooner.



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