Article

The functional neuroanatomy of spatial attention in autism spectrum disorder.

Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0959, USA.
Developmental Neuropsychology (Impact Factor: 2.67). 02/2005; 27(3):425-58. DOI: 10.1207/s15326942dn2703_7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study investigated the functional neuroanatomical correlates of spatial attention impairments in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) design. Eight ASD participants and 8 normal comparison (NC) participants were tested with a task that required stimulus discrimination following a spatial cue that preceded target presentation by 100 msec (short interstimulus interval [ISI]) or 800 msec (long ISI). The ASD group showed significant behavioral spatial attention impairment in the short ISI condition. The FMRI results showed a reduction in activity within frontal, parietal, and occipital regions in ASD relative to the NC group, most notably within the inferior parietal lobule. ASD behavioral performance improved in the long ISI condition but was still impaired relative to the NC group. ASD FMRI activity in the long ISI condition suggested that the rudimentary framework of normal attention networks were engaged in ASD including bilateral activation within the frontal, parietal, and occipital lobes. Notable activation increases were observed in the superior parietal lobule and extrastriate cortex. No reliable activation was observed in the posterior cerebellar vermis in ASD participants during either long or short ISI conditions. In addition, no frontal activation during short ISI and severely reduced frontal activation during long ISI was observed in the ASD group. Taken together, these findings suggest a dysfunctional cerebello-frontal spatial attention system in ASD. The pattern of findings suggests that ASD is associated with a profound deficit in automatic spatial attention abilities and abnormal voluntary spatial attention abilities. This article also describes a method for reducing the contribution of physical eye movements to the blood-oxygenation level dependent activity in studies of ASD.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
96 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A central question in cognitive and educational neuroscience is whether brain operations supporting nonlinguistic intuitive number sense (numerosity) predict individual acquisition and academic achievement for symbolic or "formal" math knowledge. Here, we conducted a developmental functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study of nonsymbolic numerosity task performance in 44 participants including 14 school age children (6-12 years old), 14 adolescents (13-17 years old), and 16 adults and compared a brain activity measure of numerosity precision to scores from the Woodcock-Johnson III Broad Math index of math academic achievement. Accuracy and reaction time from the numerosity task did not reliably predict formal math achievement. We found a significant positive developmental trend for improved numerosity precision in the parietal cortex and intraparietal sulcus specifically. Controlling for age and overall cognitive ability, we found a reliable positive relationship between individual math achievement scores and parietal lobe activity only in children. In addition, children showed robust positive relationships between math achievement and numerosity precision within ventral stream processing areas bilaterally. The pattern of results suggests a dynamic developmental trajectory for visual discrimination strategies that predict the acquisition of formal math knowledge. In adults, the efficiency of visual discrimination marked by numerosity acuity in ventral occipital-temporal cortex and hippocampus differentiated individuals with better or worse formal math achievement, respectively. Overall, these results suggest that two different brain systems for nonsymbolic numerosity acuity may contribute to individual differences in math achievement and that the contribution of these systems differs across development. Hum Brain Mapp, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 10/2014; · 6.92 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) is specialized for interpreting perceived human actions, and disruptions to its function occur in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here we consider the role of Crus I of neocerebellum in supporting pSTS function. Research has associated Crus I activity with imitation and biological motion perception, and neocerebellum is theorized to coordinate activity among cerebral sites more generally. Moreover, cerebellar abnormalities have been associated with ASD. We hypothesized that disordered Crus I–pSTS interactions could predict social deficits in ASD. 15 high functioning adolescents with ASD and 15 same-age comparison youth participated in an fMRI imitation paradigm; ratings of mentalizing ability were collected via parent report. We predicted that stronger Crus I–pSTS interactions would be associated with better mentalizing ability. Consistent with these hypotheses, stronger psychophysiological interactions between Crus I and right pSTS were associated with greater mentalizing ability among adolescents with ASD. Whole-brain analyses also indicated that typically developing youth recruited right inferior frontal gyrus, left pSTS, medial occipital regions, and precuneus more strongly during imitation than did youth with ASD. Overall, these results indicate that variability in neocerebellar interactions with key cortical social brain sites may help explain individual differences in social perceptual outcomes in ASD.
    Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 10/2014; · 3.71 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Based on a review of the literature and on reports by people with autism, this paper suggests that atypical resource allocation is a factor that contributes to many aspects of autism spectrum conditions, including difficulties with language and social cognition, atypical sensory and attentional experiences, executive and motor challenges, and perceptual and conceptual strengths and weaknesses. Drawing upon resource theoretical approaches that suggest that perception, cognition, and action draw upon multiple pools of resources, the approach hypothesizes that compared with resources in typical cognition, resources in autism are narrowed or reduced, especially in people with strong sensory symptoms. In narrowed attention, resources are restricted to smaller areas and to fewer modalities, stages of processing, and cognitive processes than in typical cognition; narrowed resources may be more intense than in typical cognition. In reduced attentional capacity, overall resources are reduced; resources may be restricted to fewer modalities, stages of processing, and cognitive processes than in typical cognition, or the amount of resources allocated to each area or process may be reduced. Possible neural bases of the hypothesized atypical resource allocation, relations to other approaches, limitations, and tests of the hypotheses are discussed.
    Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:82.

Full-text

Download
14 Downloads
Available from
Dec 13, 2014