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Understanding How the Brain Predicts Future Events Could Help With Autism Treatment

Autism spectrum disorder, a condition that leads to challenges with social skills and verbal communication, often involves difficulties with brain prediction (i.e. remembering situations that can become dangerous, such as a hot stove or a car coming towards you while crossing the street). Alex Chubykin, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Perdue University, is studying how difficulties in prediction can lead to changes in sensory perception and learning impairments in people with autism. Through his research, Chubykin hopes to make diagnosing autism easier, and to make advancements towards developing new drug treatments for autism. Chubykin explained that the ability to predict future events is critical to survival and normal brain function. “If you see something dangerous, your brain usually recognizes that and predicts something bad could happen," Chubykin was quoted as saying in a report by News-Medical.net. "If you have this previous experience and can process this information, you can escape in time. When your brain can't tell you those things, it's overwhelming and frightening."


Chubykin explained that, while most people learn from new sensory information, the brains of people with autism are often unable to accurately predict what will happen in the near future from senses such as vision, touch, and hearing. This is why people with autism often experience “sensory overload,” which occurs when sensory input overrides prediction. In recently published research, Chubykin found that patients with autism and schizophrenia had difficulty perceiving certain optical illusions, which could be significant for diagnostic testing of early detection of autism, since the illusion tests the ability to do spatial prediction. Source: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200305/Understanding-how-the-brain-predicts-future-events-could-aid-in-autism-treatment.aspx

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