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Enhanced Topological Network Efficiency in Preschool Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study.

Front Psychiatry. 2018;9:278

Authors: Qin B, Wang L, Zhang Y, Cai J, Chen J, Li T

Background: The functional mechanism behind autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is not clear, but it is related to a brain connectivity disorder. Previous studies have found that functional brain connectivity of ASD is linked to both increased connections and weakened connections, and the inconsistencies in functional brain connectivity may be related to age. The functional connectivity in adolescents and adults with ASD is generally less than in age-matched controls; functional connectivity in younger children with the disorder appears to be higher. As the basis of the functional network, the structural network is less studied. This study intends to further study the pathogenesis of ASD by analyzing the white matter network of ASD preschool children. Materials and Methods: In this study, Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) was used to scan preschool children (aged 2-6 years, 39 children with ASD, 19 children as controls), and graph theory was used for analysis. Result: Enhanced topological network efficiency was found in the preschool children with ASD. A higher nodal efficiency was found in the left precuneus, thalamus, and bilateral superior parietal cortex, and the nodal efficiency of the left precuneus was positively associated with the severity of ASD. Conclusion: Our research shows the white matter network efficiency of preschoolers with ASD. It supports the theory of excessive early brain growth in ASD, and it shows left brain lateralization. It opens the way for new research perspectives of children with ASD.

PMID: 29997534 [PubMed]

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