The Pars Opercularis is part of the inferior frontal gyrus and is part of the mirror neurons. Abnormal blood flow in the Pars Opercularis has been shown to be an indicator for autism. Previous theories had tied autism to abnormalities in the cerebellum, due to the fascination with spinning exhibited by autistic children. 1 Inferior frontal gyrus of the human brain. ... Mirror neurons are active when a primate performs an action, but also when it observes that action. ... Autism is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests itself in markedly abnormal social interaction, communication ability, patterns of interests, and patterns of behavior. ... Figure 1a: A human brain, with the cerebellum in purple. ...
"Neuroscientist Mirella Dapretto of the University of California Los Angeles and her colleagues surveyed the brains of 10 autistic children and an equal number of nonautistic children as they watched and imitated 80 different faces displaying either anger, fear, happiness, sadness or no emotion. By measuring the amount of blood flowing to certain regions of the children's brains with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, the researchers could determine what parts of the brain were being used as the subjects completed the tasks. The autistic children differed from their peers in only one respect: each showed reduced activity in the pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus--a brain region located near the temple." 2
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