They study autism using neural networks that mimic the functioning of the brain

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By hiring a A computational model that simulates the functioning of the cerebral cortex Based on visual stimuli, Argentine researchers identified a The relationship between physiological and cognitive processes that will occur in them Autism spectrum disorders (Tea).

‘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, PhD in Natural Sciences in Germany and researcher at CONICET and Universidad Nacional del Littoral (UNL) at the Institute for Research in Signals, Systems and Computational Intelligence or “Sense (1)”, in Santa Fe.

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They also participated in the work Diego Mellon s Enzo Ferrante, as well as researchers from concurrent CONICET and UNL (i), and Ines Samengou, also from CONICET at the Balseiro Institute and the Department of Medical Physics at the Bariloche Atomic Centre.

A few years ago, Elizabeth Pellicano of Macquarie University in Australia and David Burr of the University of Florence in Italy suggested it Weighing or “balancing” sensory information from the outside world with prior information, and the way possibilities are represented Whether in the outside world or based on one’s expectations, it happens in a less favorable way in Autistic people. For example, sensory perception is increased and expectations are dimmed.

As described in the scientific journal retinal neuroscienceEshivsti and his colleagues set out to try to understand why people with autism had such a difference in weight. “To answer this question, we analyze observations about the physiology of autism,” says the Santa Fe researcher, who has a PhD in the Computational and Biological Intelligence Laboratory (CBL) at the University of Cambridge, UK.

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Arithmetic model

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

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

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

“Specifically, we wondered whether perceptual differences (between autistic and non-autistic people) in terms of information weight could be explained by differences in inhibition mechanisms, and for this, we used a computational model that simulated neurophysiological performance.” .

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

In recent years, there has been an explosion in neuroscience of using cutting-edge technologies from the field of artificial intelligence to Develop computational models that allow a better understanding of the workings of the brain. Most 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,” Eschvist noted.

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He added, “In a round trip with experimental neuroscience, these models, which are increasingly detailed and complex, allow hypotheses to be tested and generate predictions of the direction of future work, helping to focus experimental efforts, which are often difficult or expensive to implement.”

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