Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published July 2014 | public
Journal Article

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


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.

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.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 26, 2023