Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Compares Traits of Autism, Schizophrenia

29.02.2012
Research Focuses on the Social Dysfunction of Both Disorders and How the Causes are Different

A UT Dallas professor is studying the differences between the social impairments found in autism and schizophrenia to help develop better treatments for people with both disorders.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia are distinct disorders with unique characteristics, but they share similarities in social dysfunction. For many years, this similarity resulted in confusion in diagnosis. Many young people with ASD were thought to have a childhood version of schizophrenia, said Dr. Noah Sasson, assistant professor in the UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Sasson points out that clear differences exist between people diagnosed with schizophrenia and ASD. Symptoms of ASD can be seen from very early in life, while the onset of schizophrenia typically occurs in young adulthood. And individuals who have schizophrenia often experience hallucinations and delusional thoughts, which are far less common in individuals with ASD.

An overlapping problem for both clinical groups is a difficulty with social interaction. Both groups are known to be poor at recognizing social cues. They often have difficulty identifying emotion in other people, so their reactions may seem inappropriate. By not picking up on the subtle cues in interactions, adults with ASD or schizophrenia may alienate other people and have trouble making friends or getting along with classmates or co-workers.

“Because the two disorders are different in so many ways, it is likely that the basis for their social impairments differs as well.”

Dr. Noah Sasson,
assistant professor
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Along with collaborators at Southern Methodist University, Sasson is conducting new research at the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders that compares the basis for social interaction impairments between adults with ASD and adults with schizophrenia. He is attempting to understand the mechanisms that underlie their social limitations.

“Because the two disorders are different in so many ways, it is likely that the basis for their social impairments differs as well,” he said. “Understanding these differences will be key for developing effective treatments. What works well for individuals with ASD might be very different than those with schizophrenia.”

In previous research, Sasson and his colleagues used eye-tracking technology and found that neither adults with ASD nor adults with schizophrenia look at social information in the same way as those without either disorder. His colleagues also found that parts of the brain that process social information are underactive in those with ASD and schizophrenia. But the researchers have also found differences. Individuals with ASD do not spontaneously orient to emotional information, while individuals with schizophrenia do. While both groups show aspects of paranoia in social situations, Sasson and his colleagues are discovering that the root cause of the paranoia is different for each disorder.

“People with schizophrenia have a much higher likelihood than the general population to attribute ill will to others, and this is likely tied to their delusions,” he said. “On the other hand, people with autism are more ‘socially cynical.’ They seem to be exhibiting fairly realistic responses to people as a result of the challenges they’ve faced in life because of their condition.”

By differentiating between schizophrenia and autism, and by examining how patients react in social settings, Sasson said he hopes researchers can develop new ways to counteract the negative social experiences of patients. This could result in a profound improvement in their ability to navigate life successfully.

Media Contact: Emily Martinez, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4335, emily.martinez@utdallas.edu

or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

Emily Martinez | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utdallas.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>