Autism linked to malfunctioning 'mirror neurons'
AUTISM may be caused in part by malfunctioning “mirror neurons” – brain cells that allow us to understand the actions and intentions of others. These cells, believed to be located in the pars opercularis, fire both when you perform a task and watch others do so. Since people with autism have difficulty mimicking others, and communicating socially, Mirella Dapretto and her colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, wondered if faulty mirror neurons were to blame. They conducted brain scans on nine young autistic males and nine controls matched for age and IQ,