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Neuroanatomy of individual differences in language in adult males with autism

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Lai, M.-C., Lombardo, M. V., Ecker, C., Chakrabarti, B., Suckling, J., Bullmore, E. T., Happé, F., Murphy, D. G. M. and Baron-Cohen, S. (2015) Neuroanatomy of individual differences in language in adult males with autism. Cerebral Cortex, 25 (10). pp. 3613-3628. ISSN 1460-2199

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhu211

Abstract/Summary

One potential source of heterogeneity within autism spectrum conditions (ASC) is language development and ability. In 80 high-functioning male adults with ASC, we tested if variations in developmental and current structural language are associated with current neuroanatomy. Groups with and without language delay differed behaviorally in early social reciprocity, current language, but not current autistic features. Language delay was associated with larger total gray matter (GM) volume, smaller relative volume at bilateral insula, ventral basal ganglia, and right superior, middle, and polar temporal structures, and larger relative volume at pons and medulla oblongata in adulthood. Despite this heterogeneity, those with and without language delay showed significant commonality in morphometric features when contrasted with matched neurotypical individuals (n = 57). In ASC, better current language was associated with increased GM volume in bilateral temporal pole, superior temporal regions, dorsolateral fronto-parietal and cerebellar structures, and increased white matter volume in distributed frontal and insular regions. Furthermore, current language–neuroanatomy correlation patterns were similar across subgroups with or without language delay. High-functioning adult males with ASC show neuroanatomical variations associated with both developmental and current language characteristics. This underscores the importance of including both developmental and current language as specifiers for ASC, to help clarify heterogeneity.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Research Network
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:37881
Uncontrolled Keywords:autism, individual differences, language, neuroanatomy, specifiers
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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