Article

Brain activation during semantic processing in autism spectrum disorders via functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
Brain and Cognition (Impact Factor: 2.68). 07/2006; 61(1):54-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2005.12.015
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Language and communication deficits are core features of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), even in high-functioning adults with ASD. This study investigated brain activation patterns using functional magnetic resonance imaging in right-handed adult males with ASD and a control group, matched on age, handedness, and verbal IQ. Semantic processing in the controls produced robust activation in Broca's area (left inferior frontal gyrus) and in superior medial frontal gyrus and right cerebellum. The ASD group had substantially reduced Broca's activation, but increased left temporal (Wernicke's) activation. Furthermore, the ASD group showed diminished activation differences between concrete and abstract words, consistent with behavioral studies. The current study suggests Broca's area is a region of abnormal neurodevelopment in ASD, which may be linked with semantic and related language deficits frequently observed in ASD.

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