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Researching the clinical utility of dance for autism

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Category: research Video duration: Researching the clinical utility of dance for autism
Assistant Professor and iTHRIV Scholar Julia Basso is using electroencephalography to record brain activity while studying the clinical utility of dance for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
And the new director of the embodied brain lab at Virginia Tech, we just opened our doors in August of 2021. And I'm also a new I3 scholar. And so the program that I was funded for the ith arrives scholar work is a program for dance for autism. Examining the clinical utility of dance for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. We examine kind of how the body is connected to the brain. Really how we can utilize the body to enhance brain function and physiology. We're going to be wearing first and foremost, the EEG electroencephalography cap. And what that does is it's a head tap that will place on. We're going to be able to measure brain activity while we're moving. Which is really exciting because normally in traditionally individuals have the brain activity recorded while sitting and sitting very still. So we're starting to be able to get up and move. And the brain in motion is something that we're very interested in. And so what it's measuring is the population neuronal signal, neuronal firing patterns that look like oscillatory patterns like sinusoidal way as sine waves. And so we measure this brain activity that comes from different areas of the brain and what the signal looks like. Traditionally, neuroscientists have studied the brain from an individual level. So just recording brain activity from a single person. And so what we're trying to do is this technique of hyper scanning, which is recording to people's brains simultaneously. As individuals interact, the brain signals become synchronous. They actually look very much like one another. And that's so that we can understand one another. We're able to understand each other because we sense others, emotions, their thoughts, their feelings. And so it's through dance actually that we can do a lot of these things. We engage in mimicry, synchrony of patterns moving together, looking into one another's eyes, interacting with one another, engaging in these rhythmic patterns of behavior. And so that's actually one of the things we're looking at is through movement and through moving together. Can we get the brains of two individuals come together and specifically with the teacher and the student dancing together, mirroring one another to really help individuals feel like they're connected to one another and know that somebody is there with them, understanding their own thoughts and feelings rather than feeling isolated and inward. And helping to connect body and mind, how our body is interrelated to our thinking processes, our feelings, our emotions, all those internal states.