Brain connectivity in autism spectrum disorder

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Many studies have reported that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have different brain connectivity patterns compared with typically developing individuals. However, the results of more recent studies do not unanimously support the traditional view in which individuals with ASD have lower connectivity between distant brain regions and increased connectivity within local brain regions. In this review, we discuss different methods for measuring brain connectivity and how the use of different metrics may contribute to the lack of convergence of investigations of connectivity in ASD.

Recent findings

The discrepancy in brain connectivity results across studies may be due to important methodological factors, such as the connectivity measure applied, the age of patients studied, the brain region(s) examined, and the time interval and frequency band(s) in which connectivity was analyzed.

Summary

We conclude that more sophisticated electroencephalography analytic approaches should be utilized to more accurately infer causation and directionality of information transfer between brain regions, which may show dynamic changes of functional connectivity in the brain. Moreover, further investigations of connectivity with respect to behavior and clinical phenotype are needed to probe underlying brain networks implicated in core deficits of ASD.

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