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Aberrant Neural Activation Underlying Idiom Comprehension in Korean Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Yonsei Med J. 2018 Sep;59(7):897-903

Authors: Kim N, Choi US, Ha S, Lee SB, Song SH, Song DH, Cheon KA

PURPOSE: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social communication impairments and repetitive behaviors or restricted interests. Impaired pragmatic language comprehension is a universal feature in individuals with ASD. However, the underlying neural basis of pragmatic language is poorly understood. In the present study, we examined neural activation patterns associated with impaired pragmatic language comprehension in ASD, compared to typically developing children (TDC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was applied to 15 children with ASD and 18 TDC using the Korean pragmatic language task.
RESULTS: Children with ASD were less accurate than TDC at comprehending idioms, particularly when they were required to interpret idioms with mismatched images (mismatched condition). Children with ASD also showed different patterns of neural activity than TDC in all three conditions (neutral, matched, and mismatched). Specifically, children with ASD showed decreased activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) (Brodmann area 47) in the mismatched condition, compared with TDC (IFG; t(31)=3.17, p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that children with ASD face difficulties in comprehending pragmatic expressions and apply different pragmatic language processes at the neural level.

PMID: 30091324 [PubMed – in process]

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