They study autism using neural networks that mimic how the brain works

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By hiring a A computer model that simulates the functioning of the cerebral cortex Based on visual stimuli, Argentinian researchers identified a The relationship between the physiological and cognitive processes that will take place there Autism spectrum disorders (Tea).

“A better understanding of The relationship between brain physiology and cognition or behavior is central to the design of new treatmentsAlthough there is still a long way to go to reach this state. Rodrigo Echevsti, doctor of natural sciences in Germany and researcher at CONICET and at the Universidad Nacional del Littoral (UNL) at the Institute for Research on Signals, Systems and Computational Intelligence or “Sense (1)”, in Santa Fe .

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They also took part in the work Diego mellon s Enzo Ferrante, as well as researchers from CONICET and UNL (i), and Ines Samengou, also of CONICET of the Balseiro Institute and of the Department of Medical Physics of the Atomic Center of Bariloche.

A few years ago, Elizabeth Pellicano from Macquarie University in Australia and David Burr from the University of Florence in Italy suggested it. Weigh or “balance” sensory information from the outside world with prior information and the way in which the possibilities are represented Whether in the outside world or according to their expectations, it happens less favorably in people with autism. For example, sensory perception is increased and expectations are lowered.

As described in the scientific journal Retinal Neuroscience, Eshivsti and his colleagues tried to understand why people with autism have such a difference in weight. “To answer this question, we analyze the observations on the physiology of autism,” says the Santa Fe researcher, who holds a doctorate from the Computational and Biological Intelligence Laboratory (CBL) at the University of Cambridge, UK. -United.

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In the new study, a computer model developed by Echeveste with researchers from the University of Cambridge while they lived there was used as a test bed.

“This model A neural network trained using artificial intelligence techniques to process visual stimuliThis mimics the behavior of our primary visual cortex. When you measure the behavior of these artificial neurons while the network is “looking at something,” we see dynamics in the responses of the neurons that are very similar to those in our cerebral cortex. “

the Optimal functioning of our brain requires a very delicate balance between excitatory neurons Which, when activated, helps ignite other neurons, as well Other inhibitors which, when turned on, tends to turn others off.

“More specifically, we asked ourselves whether the differences in perception (between autistic and non-autistic people) in terms of the weight of information could be explained by differences in inhibition mechanisms, and for this, we used a computer model that simulated neurophysiological performance. .

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the Weakened inhibition in the artificial neural network, earlier expectations began to weigh less and perceive stimuli more. “So at least in our model, these two visions of autism would be two sides of the same coin,” said the researcher.

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the neurosciences of the use of advanced technologies in the field of artificial intelligence to Develop computer models that allow a better understanding of the functioning of the brain. Most of the models represent the normal functioning of the brain. Through this work, we show that this approach is also very useful for understanding sensory processing, for example, in people with autism, ”noted Eschvist.

He added: “In a back and forth with experimental neuroscience, these increasingly detailed and complex models allow testing of hypotheses and generating predictions about the direction of future work, helping to focus experimental efforts. , which are often difficult or expensive to implement. “


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