Atypical connectivity in autistic spectrum disorders

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Abstract

Autism is a developmental disorder that is currently defined in terms of a triad of impairments in social interaction, communication, and behavioural flexibility. Psychological models have focussed on deficits in high level social and cognitive processes, such as ‘weak central coherence’ and deficits in ‘theory of mind’. Converging evidence from different fields of neuroscience research indicates that the underlying neural dysfunction is associated with atypical patterns of cortical connectivity (Rippon et al., 2007). This arises very early in development and results in sensory, perceptual and cognitive deficits at a much earlier and more fundamental level than previously suggested, but with cascading effects on higher level psychological and social processes.
Earlier research in this sphere has focussed mainly on patterns of underconnectivity in distributed cortical networks underpinning process such as language and executive function. (Just et al., 2007). Such research mainly utilises imaging techniques with high spatial resolution. This paper focuses on evidence associated with local over-connectivity, evident in more low level and transitory processes and hence more easily measurable with techniques with high temporal resolution, such as MEG and EEG. Results are described which provide evidence of such local over-connectivity, characterised by atypical results in the gamma frequency range (Brown et al., 2005) together with discussions about the future directions of such research and its implications for remediation.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume69
Issue3
Early online date16 Jul 2008
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Event14th World Congress of Psychophysiology - St Petersburg, Russian Federation

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