Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Autism, trigger factors to fear of a sound or hugs

A study of TRAIN, a significant UniTrento project, demonstates that some characteristics of the brain are at the base of an altered sensitivity to sensorial stimuli, common to various forms of autism

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Around 90% of people with disorders belonging to the autistic spectrum show altered sensitivity to sensorial stimuli (visual, auditory, tactile).

A particularly bright picture, a raised voice or physical contact such as a hug, can trigger off, in this category of subjects, an increased reaction leaning towards fear.

With acknowledgements offered in research literature and experience, evidence has now emerged.

A laboratory study shows that altered sensitivity to tactile stimuli relies on a reduced connectivity of the somatosensory cortex, the area of the brain that receives and elaborates on these stimuli, and triggers the amygdala, the cerebral region typically involved in  fear-based responses.

This research has recently been published in the “Journal of Neuroscience” magazine.

In the press release (in italian), Yuri Bozzi, professor of the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences – CIMeC, Trento University, comments.

TRAIN, Trento University strategic project
This research work has been carried out  as part of the TRAIN (Trentino Autism Initiative) project, financed by Trento University over  the 2018/2020 period and can be considered as having reached the first milestone of its particular “train” journey of exploration and in-depth analysis of autism.
One of the aims of the project, in fact, is the study of biological mechanisms at the base of different behavioural manifestations characteristic of the disorders on the autism spectrum.
TRAIN, which is coordinated by Yuri Bozzi, is a consortium that involves 13 research groups belonging to various bodies, Trento University, Italian Institute of Technology, Bruno Kessler Foundation and Institute of Neurosciences of the National Research Counsel (CNR). 4 groups who are involved in TRAIN, have taken part in the research work, guided respectively by Yuri Bozzi (Center for Mind/Brain Sciences – CIMeC, Trento University), Giovanni Provenzano (CIBIO department, Trento University), Simona Casarosa (CIBIO, Trento University) and Alessandro Gozzi (Italian Institute of Technology, Rovereto). The study has been carried out in collaboration with the Valerio Zerbi group of the Federal Polytechnic of Zurich.