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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

Local functional connectivity in the brains of people with autism

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Kenet, Tal

Description

Description

Functional connectivity in the brain refers to the synchronization of neuronal assemblies for the purpose of transferring information within and between these assemblies. Long-range cortical functional connectivity refers to connectivity between distant cortical areas, and is often reduced in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The nature of local cortical functional connectivity (connectivity within a neuronal assembly) has remained elusive in studies of ASD, but it has been generally believed that local functional connectivity is increased in ASD. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG), a technique that reveals cortical activity with high spatial and temporal resolution, to measure functional connectivity both locally and between distant cortical regions while ASD and typical individuals viewed houses and faces. Contrary to the prevailing hypothesis, we showed that local functional connectivity was reduced, not increased, in ASD. Furthermore, the strength of local functional connectivity correlated with ASD severity, and statistical classification using local and long-range functional connectivity data identified ASD diagnosis with 90% accuracy. Finally, we found that the strengths of local and long-range functional connectivity were correlated in both ASD and typical individuals. These results suggest that failure to adequately synchronize neuronal assemblies both within and across cortical regions is characteristic of ASD. Here we propose to extend this work in several ways. First, we propose to study local functional connectivity in ASD in multiple cortical areas during performance of both visual and auditory paradigms by younger subjects. Second, we propose to examine carefully the links between local and long-range functional connectivity, to determine how the two patterns interact. Lastly, we intend to identify a set of measures of local and/or long-range functional connectivity that correlate highly with diagnosis and severity of ASD, for future development into early biomarkers of ASD.

Funder

Funder

Simons Foundation

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

101012

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2012-2015

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 2LB. Launch at least three studies which evaluate the applicability of ASD phenotype and/or biological signature findings for performing diagnosis, risk assessment, or clinical intervention by 2015. IACC Recommended Budget: $7,200,000 over 5 years.

Project Link

Project Link

Local functional connectivity in the brains of people with autism (External web link)

Institution

Institution

Massachusetts General Hospital

State/Country

State/Country

Massachusetts

Project Number

Project Number

239395

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Local functional connectivity in the brains of people with autism | 108297 | 2013 | 239395
Local functional connectivity in the brains of people with autism | 49961 | 2015 | 239395

 
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