Authors
Takamitsu Watanabe & Geraint Rees

Anatomical imbalance between cortical networks in autism

publication date
03 August 2016
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Abstract/Introduction

Influential psychological models of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have proposed that this prevalent developmental disorder results from impairment of global (integrative) information processing and overload of local (sensory) information. However, little neuroanatomical evidence consistent with this account has been reported. Here, we examined relative grey matter volumes (rGMVs) between three cortical networks, how they changed with age and their relationship with core symptomatology. Using public neuroimaging data of high-functioning ASD males and age-/sex-/IQ-matched controls, we first identified age-associated atypical increases in rGMVs of the regions of two sensory systems (auditory and visual networks) and an age-related aberrant decrease in rGMV of a task-control system (fronto-parietal network, FPN) in ASD children. While the enlarged rGMV of the auditory network in ASD adults was associated with the severity of autistic socio-communicational core symptom, that of the visual network was instead correlated with the severity of restricted and repetitive behaviours in ASD. Notably, the atypically decreased rGMV of FPN predicted both of the two core symptoms. These findings suggest that disproportionate undergrowth of a task-control system (FPN) may be a common anatomical basis for the two ASD core symptoms and relative overgrowth of the two different sensory systems selectively compounds the distinct


Conclusion/Results

Using publicly shared neuroimaging datasets, the current study has examined anatomical balance between large-scale brain networks in autism and matched controls. Consequently, we have found atypical relative overgrowth of brain regions in FPN and disproportionate undergrowth of auditory and visual networks. Moreover, this relative undergrowth of the two different sensory systems is selectively correlated with two different core symptoms of autism and this relative overgrowth of FPN is related to both of the autistic behaviours. These findings provide empirical evidence for several prominent autism theories and support for a network-based framework of unified understanding of seemingly diverse ASD symptoms.


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Testimonials


My eight year old daughter was terrified to go to the eye doctor for fear of her eyes being dilated. The doctor was SO KID friendly! He immediately made her comfortable by engaging her in conversation. It was a geat experience.


Joya B.

Dr. Garbus spent an amazing amount of time to solve my very complicated visual problems. Over the years he has continually achieved results beyond what others felt possible. He is always up to date on the latest science. He is great!


Dolores K.

Family Vision Care Valencia makes it so easy. Staff is knows what they are doing and Dr. Garbus is thorough and kept me well informed during the exam.


Kristy B.

I have been coming to Family Vision Center for almost 20 years. Dr. Garbus has been able to help my vision when other doctors could not. Now my kids see him as well. I highly recommend this office!


Autumn C.

The Doctor is very good. I felt on this visit he seemed rushed. I had questions to ask him but he was already with another patient. I still do not know if my eyes are the same , worse, or better.


Howard B.

All the staff is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and has been for all the years I have been going there.


Mary Ann H.
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