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Visual-motor Connectivity Disruption and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Biological Psychiatry published research comparing resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans from 100 8- to 12-year-old children of which 50 had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The results were analyzed and functional connectivity was estimated between visual and motor systems. Brain-behavior relationships were evaluated by regressing functional connectivity measures with social deficit severity, imitation, and gesture performance scores.  The following results were found:

1.  increased intrinsic asynchrony between visual and motor systems in children with ASD
2.  children with more out-of-sync intrinsic visual-motor activity displayed more severe autistic traits
3.  children with greater intrinsic visual-motor synchrony were better imitators.

The researchers concluded that visual-motor functional connectivity is disrupted in ASD.

Reference:  Nebel, M et al.  Intrinsic Visual-Motor Synchrony Correlates With Social Deficits in Autism.  Biological Psychiatry.  In Press.  Published online: September 3 2015.  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.08.029

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