Cross-sensory gating in schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder: EEG evidence for impaired brain connectivity?

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Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia are both neurodevelopmental disorders that have extensively been associated with impairments in functional brain connectivity. Using a cross-sensory P50 suppression paradigm, this study investigated low-level audiovisual interactions on cortical EEG activation, which provides crucial information about functional integrity of connections between brain areas involved in cross-sensory processing in both disorders. Thirteen high functioning adult males with ASD, 13 high functioning adult males with schizophrenia, and 16 healthy adult males participated in the study. No differences in neither auditory nor cross-sensory P50 suppression were found between healthy controls and individuals with ASD. In schizophrenia, attenuated P50 responses to the first auditory stimulus indicated early auditory processing deficits. These results are in accordance with the notion that filtering deficits may be secondary to earlier sensory dysfunction. Also, atypical cross-sensory suppression was found, which implies that the cognitive impairments seen in schizophrenia may be due to deficits in the integrity of connections between brain areas involved in low-level cross-sensory processing.

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