Aberrant Oscillatory Synchrony Is Biased Toward Specific Frequencies and Processing Domains in the Autistic Brain.

Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging. 2017 Apr;2(3):245-252

Authors: Ghuman AS, van den Honert RN, Huppert TJ, Wallace GL, Martin A

BACKGROUND: Prevailing theories suggest that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) results from impaired brain communication, causing aberrant synchrony among neuronal populations. However, it remains debated whether synchrony abnormalities are among local or long-range circuits, are circuit specific or are generalized, reflect hypersynchrony or reflect hyposynchrony, and are frequency band-specific or are distributed across the frequency spectrum.
METHODS: To help clarify these unresolved questions, we recorded spontaneous magnetoencephalography data and used a data-driven, whole-brain analysis of frequency-specific interregional synchrony in higher-functioning adolescents and adults, with 17 ASD and 18 control subjects matched on age, IQ, and sex, and equal for motion.
RESULTS: Individuals with ASD showed local hypersynchrony in the theta band (4-7 Hz) in the lateral occipitotemporal cortex. Long-range hyposynchrony was seen in the alpha band (10-13 Hz), which was most prominent in neural circuitry underpinning social processing. The magnitude of this alpha band hyposynchrony was correlated with social symptom severity.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that although ASD is associated with both decreased long-range synchrony and increased posterior local synchrony, with each effect limited to a specific frequency band, impairments in social functioning may be most related to decreased alpha band synchronization between critical nodes of the social processing network.

PMID: 29528295 [PubMed – in process]

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