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01.12.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Molecular Autism 1/2014

Abnormal lateralization of functional connectivity between language and default mode regions in autism

Zeitschrift:
Molecular Autism > Ausgabe 1/2014
Autoren:
Jared A Nielsen, Brandon A Zielinski, P Thomas Fletcher, Andrew L Alexander, Nicholas Lange, Erin D Bigler, Janet E Lainhart, Jeffrey S Anderson
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​2040-2392-5-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

JN participated in the design of the study, performed the analyses, and wrote the manuscript. BZ helped in acquiring the data, participated in the design of the study, and helped to draft the manuscript. PF helped in acquiring the data, participated in the design of the study, and helped to draft the manuscript. AA helped in acquiring the data, participated in the design of the study, and helped to draft the manuscript. NL helped in acquiring the data, participated in the design of the study, and helped to draft the manuscript. EB helped in acquiring the data, participated in the design of the study, and helped to draft the manuscript. JL helped in acquiring the data, participated in the design of the study, and helped to draft the manuscript. JA participated in the design of the study, performed the analyses, and wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Abstract

Background

Lateralization of brain structure and function occurs in typical development, and abnormal lateralization is present in various neuropsychiatric disorders. Autism is characterized by a lack of left lateralization in structure and function of regions involved in language, such as Broca and Wernicke areas.

Methods

Using functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging from a large publicly available sample (n = 964), we tested whether abnormal functional lateralization in autism exists preferentially in language regions or in a more diffuse pattern across networks of lateralized brain regions.

Results

The autism group exhibited significantly reduced left lateralization in a few connections involving language regions and regions from the default mode network, but results were not significant throughout left- and right-lateralized networks. There is a trend that suggests the lack of left lateralization in a connection involving Wernicke area and the posterior cingulate cortex associates with more severe autism.

Conclusions

Abnormal language lateralization in autism may be due to abnormal language development rather than to a deficit in hemispheric specialization of the entire brain.
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