(Chicago, IL) -- Scientists have a new theory to explain the communication problems associated with autism.
Researchers with the Department of Radiology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia used an ultra-sensitive helmet-like device to monitor brain activity as autistic children listened to a variety of sounds.
They discovered that it took longer for autistic children's brains to react to the sounds than it would take a non-autistic child.
In fact, the autistic children's reaction time ranged from 20 to 50-percent slower than the average reaction time in most children, which is about a tenth of a second.
A lack of connectivity or abnormal routing in the brain could be responsible for the delay.
Scientists believe the extra time it takes for an autistic brain to process sound could get in the way of comprehension.
The study was presented to a recent meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
The team hopes its findings may someday help doctors diagnose varying degrees of autism and develop earlier detection methods.
(Copyright 2008 by Newsroom Solutions)