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Largely Typical Patterns of Resting-State Functional Connectivity in High-Functioning Adults with Autism

Tyszka, J. Michael and Kennedy, Daniel P. and Paul, Lynn K. and Adolphs, Ralph (2014) Largely Typical Patterns of Resting-State Functional Connectivity in High-Functioning Adults with Autism. Cerebral Cortex, 24 (7). pp. 1894-1905. ISSN 1047–3211. PMCID PMC4051895.

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A leading hypothesis for the neural basis of autism postulates globally abnormal brain connectivity, yet the majority of studies report effects that are either very weak, inconsistent across studies, or explain results incompletely. Here we apply multiple analytical approaches to resting-state BOLD-fMRI data at the whole-brain level. Neurotypical and high-functioning adults with autism displayed very similar patterns and strengths of resting-state connectivity. We found only limited evidence in autism for abnormal resting-state connectivity at the regional level and no evidence for altered connectivity at the whole-brain level. Regional abnormalities in functional connectivity in autism spectrum disorder were primarily in the frontal and temporal cortices. Within these regions, functional connectivity with other brain regions was almost exclusively lower in the autism group. Further examination showed that even small amounts of head motion during scanning have large effects on functional connectivity measures and must be controlled carefully. Consequently, we suggest caution in the interpretation of apparent positive findings until all possible confounding effects can be ruled out. Additionally, we do not rule out the possibility that abnormal connectivity in autism is evident at the microstructural synaptic level, which may not be reflected sensitively in hemodynamic changes measured with BOLD-fMRI.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle CentralArticle
Tyszka, J. Michael0000-0001-9342-9014
Kennedy, Daniel P.0000-0002-5915-0893
Paul, Lynn K.0000-0002-3128-8313
Adolphs, Ralph0000-0002-8053-9692
Additional Information:© 2013 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press. First published online: February 20, 2013. J. M. T and D. P. K. contributed equally to this work. Funding: This work was supported by a Conte Center grant from the National Institutes of Health (P50MH094258 to R.A., J.M.T., L.K.P.) and grants from the Simons Foundation (SFARI-07-01 to R.A.), the National Institutes of Health (R01 MH080721 to R.A.; K99MH094409/R00MH094409 to D.P.K.), and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (2009 Young Investigator Award to L.K.P.). Notes: The authors wish to thank Catherine Holcomb for all her administrative efforts in support of this project. Conflict of interest: none declared.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationSFARI-07-01
NIHR01 MH080721-01
National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and DepressionUNSPECIFIED
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:autism spectrum disorder; functional magnetic resonance imaging; independent component analysis; resting-state networks; temporal correlation
Issue or Number:7
PubMed Central ID:PMC4051895
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140731-084523189
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:47694
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:31 Jul 2014 15:58
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:56

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