643 research outputs found

    Early white-matter abnormalities of the ventral frontostriatal pathway in fragile X syndrome

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    AIM—Fragile X syndrome is associated with cognitive deficits in inhibitory control and with abnormal neuronal morphology and development. METHOD—In this study, we used a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography approach to reconstruct white-matter fibers in the ventral frontostriatal pathway in young males with fragile X syndrome (n=17; mean age 2y 9mo, SD 7mo, range 1y 7mo–3y 10mo), and two age-matched comparison groups: (1) typically developing (n=13; mean age 2y 3mo, SD 7mo, range 1y 7mo–3y 6mo) and (2) developmentally delayed (n=8; mean age 3y, SD 4mo, range 2y 9mo–3y 8mo). RESULTS—We observed that young males with fragile X syndrome exhibited increased density of DTI reconstructed fibers than those in the typically developing (p=0.001) and developmentally delayed (p=0.001) groups. Aberrant white-matter structure was localized in the left ventral frontostriatal pathway. Greater relative fiber density was found to be associated with lower IQ (Mullen composite scores) in the typically developing group (p=0.008). INTERPRETATION—These data suggest that diminished or absent fragile X mental retardation 1 protein expression can selectively alter white-matter anatomy during early brain development and, in particular, neural pathways. The results also point to an early neurobiological marker for an important component of cognitive dysfunction associated with fragile X syndrome

    Development of relational reasoning during adolescence

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    Non-linear changes in behaviour and in brain activity during adolescent development have been reported in a variety of cognitive tasks. These developmental changes are often interpreted as being a consequence of changes in brain structure, including non-linear changes in grey matter volumes, which occur during adolescence. However, very few studies have attempted to combine behavioural, functional and structural data. This multi-method approach is the one we took in the current study, which was designed to investigate developmental changes in behaviour and brain activity during relational reasoning, the simultaneous integration of multiple relations. We used a relational reasoning task known to recruit rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC), a region that undergoes substantial structural changes during adolescence. The task was administered to female participants in a behavioural (N = 178, 7–27 years) and an fMRI study (N = 37, 11–30 years). Non-linear changes in accuracy were observed, with poorer performance during mid-adolescence. fMRI and VBM results revealed a complex picture of linear and possibly non-linear changes with age. Performance and structural changes partly accounted for changes with age in RLPFC and medial superior frontal gyrus activity but not for a decrease in activation in the anterior insula/frontal operculum between mid-adolescence and adulthood. These functional changes might instead reflect the maturation of neurocognitive strategies

    Autism Spectrum Traits in the Typical Population Predict Structure and Function in the Posterior Superior Temporal Sulcus

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    Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are typically characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, narrow interests, and repetitive behaviors. The heterogeneity in the severity of these characteristics across individuals with ASD has led some researchers to suggest that these disorders form a continuum which extends into the general, or “typical,” population, and there is growing evidence that the extent to which typical adults display autistic traits, as measured using the autism-spectrum quotient (AQ), predicts performance on behavioral tasks that are impaired in ASD. Here, we show that variation in autism spectrum traits is related to cortical structure and function within the typical population. Voxel-based morphometry showed that increased AQ scores were associated with decreased white matter volume in the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), a region important in processing socially relevant stimuli and associated with structural and functional impairments in ASD. In addition, AQ was correlated with the extent of cortical deactivation of an adjacent area of pSTS during a Stroop task relative to rest, reflecting variation in resting state function. The results provide evidence that autism spectrum characteristics are reflected in neural structure and function across the typical (non-ASD) population

    MRI assessment of superior temporal gyrus in Williams syndrome

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    Prova tipográfica (In Press)Objective: To evaluate volumes and asymmetry of superior temporal gyrus (STG) and correlate these measures with a neurocognitive evaluation of verbal performance in Williams syndrome (WS) and in a typically developing age-matched and sex-matched group. Background: Despite initial claims of language strength in WS, recent studies suggest delayed language milestones. The STG is implicated in linguistic processing and is a highly lateralized brain region. Method: Here, we examined STG volumes and asymmetry of STG in WS patients and in age-matched controls. We also correlated volume of STG with a subset of verbal measures. Magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained on a GE 1.5-T magnet with 1.5-mm contiguous slices, and were used to measure whole gray matter, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid volumes, and also STG volume. Results: Results revealed significantly reduced intracranial volume in WS patients, compared with controls. Right and left STG were also significantly smaller in WS patients. In addition, compared with normal controls, a lack of normal left >right STG asymmetry was evident in WS. Also of note was the finding that, in contrast to controls, WS patients did not reveal a positive correlation between verbal intelligence quotient and left STG volume, which further suggests a disruption in this region of the brain. Conclusions: In conclusion, atypical patterns of asymmetry and reduced STG volume in WS were observed, which may, in part, contribute to some of the linguistic impairments found in this cohort of WS patients.National Institutes of Health - (K05 MH 01110)Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) - POCTI/PSI/58364/2004, RH/BD/16091/200

    Reduced volume of the arcuate fasciculus in adults with high-functioning autism spectrum conditions

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    Atypical language is a fundamental feature of autism spectrum conditions (ASC), but few studies have examined the structural integrity of the arcuate fasciculus, the major white matter tract connecting frontal and temporal language regions, which is usually implicated as the main transfer route used in processing linguistic information by the brain. Abnormalities in the arcuate have been reported in young children with ASC, mostly in low-functioning or non-verbal individuals, but little is known regarding the structural properties of the arcuate in adults with ASC or, in particular, in individuals with ASC who have intact language, such as those with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome. We used probabilistic tractography of diffusion-weighted images (DWI) to isolate and scrutinise the arcuate in a mixed-gender sample of 18 high-functioning adults with ASC (17 Asperger syndrome) and 14 age- and IQ-matched typically-developing controls. Arcuate volume was significantly reduced bilaterally with clearest differences in the right hemisphere. This finding remained significant in an analysis of all male participants alone. Volumetric reduction in the arcuate was significantly correlated with the severity of autistic symptoms as measured by the Autism-Spectrum Quotient. These data reveal that structural differences are present even in high-functioning adults with ASC, who presented with no clinically manifest language deficits and had no reported developmental language delay. Arcuate structural integrity may be useful as an index of ASC severity and thus as a predictor and biomarker for ASC. Implications for future research are discussed

    The functional neuroanatomy of bipolar disorder:a consensus model

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    OBJECTIVES: Functional neuroimaging methods have proliferated in recent years, such that functional magnetic resonance imaging, in particular, is now widely used to study bipolar disorder. However, discrepant findings are common. A workgroup was organized by the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH, USA) to develop a consensus functional neuroanatomic model of bipolar I disorder based upon the participants' work as well as that of others. METHODS: Representatives from several leading bipolar disorder neuroimaging groups were organized to present an overview of their areas of expertise as well as focused reviews of existing data. The workgroup then developed a consensus model of the functional neuroanatomy of bipolar disorder based upon these data. RESULTS: Among the participants, a general consensus emerged that bipolar I disorder arises from abnormalities in the structure and function of key emotional control networks in the human brain. Namely, disruption in early development (e.g., white matter connectivity and prefrontal pruning) within brain networks that modulate emotional behavior leads to decreased connectivity among ventral prefrontal networks and limbic brain regions, especially the amygdala. This developmental failure to establish healthy ventral prefrontal-limbic modulation underlies the onset of mania and ultimately, with progressive changes throughout these networks over time and with affective episodes, a bipolar course of illness. CONCLUSIONS: This model provides a potential substrate to guide future investigations and areas needing additional focus are identified

    Objectum sexuality: a sexual orientation linked with autism and synaesthesia

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    Objectum-sexuality (OS) is a sexual orientation which has received little attention in the academic literature. Individuals who identify as OS experience emotional, romantic and/or sexual feelings towards inanimate objects (e.g. a bridge, a statue). We tested 34 OS individuals and 88 controls, and provide the first empirical evidence that OS is linked to two separate neurodevelopmental traits - autism and synaesthesia. We show that OS individuals possess significantly higher rates of diagnosed autism and significantly stronger autistic traits compared to controls, as well as a significantly higher prevalence of synaesthesia, and significant synaesthetic traits inherent in the nature of their attractions. Our results suggest that OS may encapsulate autism and synaesthesia within its phenomenology. Our data speak to debates concerning the biological underpinnings of sexuality, to models of autism and synaesthesia, and to psychological and philosophical models of romantic love

    Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Frontal Lobe in Autism Spectrum Disorder

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    To investigate frontal lobe white matter in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we performed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in 50 ASD children (mean age: 57.5 ± 29.2 months, 43 males) and 16 typically developing children (mean age: 82.1 ± 41.4 months, 11 males). The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was significantly higher for whole frontal lobe (P = 0.011), long (P < 0.001) and short range (P = 0.0126) association fibers in ASD group. There was a trend toward statistical significance in the fractional anisotropy (FA) of whole frontal lobe fibers (P = 0.11). FA was significantly lower in ASD group for short range fibers (P = 0.0031) but not for long range fibers (P = not significant [NS]). There was no between-group difference in the number of frontal lobe fibers (short and long) (P = NS). The fiber length distribution was significantly more positively skewed in the normal population than in the ASD group (P < 0.001). The long range association fibers of frontal lobe were significantly longer in ASD group (P = 0.026 for both left and right hemispheres). Abnormal frontal FA and ADC may be due to white matter organization abnormalities in ASD. Lack of evidence for excessive short range connectivity in ASD in this study may need to be re-examined with future advances in DTI technology
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