[Social cognition in autism. A survey of functional imaging studies].
ABSTRACT Autism spectrum disorders (autism, Asperger's syndrome, high-functioning autism) are characterized by a common pattern of marked impairments in social interactions. Deficits have been described in face processing, facial emotion recognition, and social attribution ("theory of mind") or generally speaking in social cognition. Some studies have shown that these impairments are already detectable in early childhood, leading to the assumption that the underlying cause is an early disruption of neuronal development. Accordingly, neuroimaging data have revealed alterations of structure and function in the brains of autistic children, adolescents, and adults. The present review gives a systematic overview of the existing literature on functional imaging studies using experimental paradigms of social cognition, i.e. face discrimination, facial emotion recognition, and theory of mind in autistic disorders.
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ABSTRACT: One of the most consistent neuropsychological findings in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is a reduced interest in and impaired processing of human faces. We conducted an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis on 14 functional imaging studies on neural correlates of face processing enrolling a total of 164 ASD patients. Subsequently, normative whole-brain functional connectivity maps for the identified regions of significant convergence were computed for the task-independent (resting-state) and task-dependent (co-activations) state in healthy subjects. Quantitative functional decoding was performed by reference to the BrainMap database. Finally, we examined the overlap of the delineated network with the results of a previous meta-analysis on structural abnormalities in ASD as well as with brain regions involved in human action observation/imitation. We found a single cluster in the left fusiform gyrus showing significantly reduced activation during face processing in ASD across all studies. Both task-dependent and task-independent analyses indicated significant functional connectivity of this region with the temporo-occipital and lateral occipital cortex, the inferior frontal and parietal cortices, the thalamus and the amygdala. Quantitative reverse inference then indicated an association of these regions mainly with face processing, affective processing, and language-related tasks. Moreover, we found that the cortex in the region of right area V5 displaying structural changes in ASD patients showed consistent connectivity with the region showing aberrant responses in the context of face processing. Finally, this network was also implicated in the human action observation/imitation network. In summary, our findings thus suggest a functionally and structurally disturbed network of occipital regions related primarily to face (but potentially also language) processing, which interact with inferior frontal as well as limbic regions and may be the core of aberrant face processing and reduced interest in faces in ASD.Brain Structure and Function 05/2014; · 7.84 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: According to DSM-IV TR and ICD-10, a diagnosis of autism or Asperger Syndrome precludes a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, despite the different conceptualization, population-based twin studies reported symptom overlap, and a recent epidemiologically based study reported a high rate of ADHD in autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In the planned revision of the DSM-IV TR, dsm5 (www.dsm5.org), the diagnoses of autistic disorder and ADHD will not be mutually exclusive any longer. This provides the basis of more differentiated studies on overlap and distinction between both disorders. This review presents data on comorbidity rates and symptom overlap and discusses common and disorder-specific risk factors, including recent proteomic studies. Neuropsychological findings in the areas of attention, reward processing, and social cognition are then compared between both disorders, as these cognitive abilities show overlapping as well as specific impairment for one of both disorders. In addition, selective brain imaging findings are reported. Therapeutic options are summarized, and new approaches are discussed. The review concludes with a prospectus on open questions for research and clinical practice.ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders 08/2012; 4(3):115-39.
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ABSTRACT: Die stetig steigende Anzahl funktionell und strukturell bildgebender Studien in den letzten 2 Jahrzehnten hat maßgeblich zum Verständnis der neurobiologischen Basis von Autismusspektrumstörungen (,,autism spectrum disorders“ ASD) beigetragen. Der Artikel gibt einen Überblick über Studien zu den neuronalen Grundlagen der Symptomtrias (Störung der sozialen Interaktion und Kommunikation, repetitives und restriktives Verhalten) und zu angenommenen zugrunde liegenden neuropsychologischen Beeinträchtigungen (Theory of Mind, Exekutivfunktionen, zentrale Kohärenz), ergänzt durch konsistente Befunde zu strukturellen Veränderungen des Gehirns. Die Forschungsergebnisse zeigen, dass, obwohl kognitive Funktionen bei ASD generell durch die gleichen Gehirnareale vermittelt werden wie bei typisch entwickelten Menschen, sich das Ausmaß der Aktivierungen, vor allem aber die Aktivierungsmuster unterscheiden. Zunehmend setzt sich daher die Hypothese einer geringeren Konnektivität rekrutierter kortikaler Netzwerke gegen die Annahme durch, dass einzelne Gehirnareale betroffen sind.Der Nervenarzt 01/2011; 82(5). · 0.80 Impact Factor