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 New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>