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ERIC Number: EJ866352
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0028-3932
Neuroimaging of the Functional and Structural Networks Underlying Visuospatial vs. Linguistic Reasoning in High-Functioning Autism
Sahyoun, Cherif P.; Belliveau, John W.; Soulieres, Isabelle; Schwartz, Shira; Mody, Maria
Neuropsychologia, v48 n1 p86-95 Jan 2010
High-functioning individuals with autism have been found to favor visuospatial processing in the face of typically poor language abilities. We aimed to examine the neurobiological basis of this difference using functional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging. We compared 12 children with high functioning autism (HFA) to 12 age- and IQ-matched typically developing controls (CTRL) on a pictorial reasoning paradigm under three conditions: V, requiring visuospatial processing; S, requiring language (i.e., semantic) processing; and V+S, a hybrid condition in which language use could facilitate visuospatial transformations. Activated areas in the brain were chosen as endpoints for probabilistic diffusion tractography to examine tract integrity (FA) within the structural network underlying the activation patterns. The two groups showed similar networks, with linguistic processing activating inferior frontal, superior and middle temporal, ventral visual, and temporo-parietal areas, whereas visuospatial processing activated occipital and inferior parietal cortices. However, HFA appeared to activate occipito-parietal and ventral temporal areas, whereas CTRL relied more on frontal and temporal language regions. The increased reliance on visuospatial abilities in HFA was supported by intact connections between the inferior parietal and the ventral temporal ROIs. In contrast, the inferior frontal region showed reduced connectivity to ventral temporal and middle temporal areas in this group, reflecting impaired activation of frontal language areas in autism. The HFA group's engagement of posterior brain regions along with its weak connections to frontal language areas suggest support for a reliance on visual mediation in autism, even in tasks of higher cognition. (Contains 4 tables and 5 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A