Groundbreaking Autism Research; Study Looks at Effect on Senses

Article excerpt

Byline: Aled Blake

UNIVERSITY scientists are leading groundbreaking research into one of the most debilitating effects of autism.

The team of researchers at Cardiff University is using the latest techniques to look at how the brain reacts differently to the sense of touch in people with the condition.

David McGonigle, from the university's schools of Psychology and Biosciences, is leading the investigation into sensory dysfunction, which affects the quality of life of people with autism.

Certain qualities of touch, sound or movement are distracting and unpleasant in some sufferers, while others may not even notice a particular sound or colour, which can make everyday activities difficult.

Dr McGonigle said: "It's common for work on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to focus on the communicative or social aspects of the disorder.

"However, there are also high incidences of sensory symptoms in people with ASD. With an estimated 80% of those diagnosed suffering from some aspect of sensory dysfunction this is something that we need to understand better."

The study will combine experimental tests of touch, such as the ability to feel and distinguish between different sorts of vibrations delivered to the fingers, with images of the brain from the latest neuro-imaging equipment. …