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Paul, Subhadip and Arora, Aditi and Midha, Rashi and Vu, Dinh and Roy, Prasun K and Belmonte, Matthew K (2021) Autistic Traits and Individual Brain Differences: Functional Network Efficiency Reflects Attentional and Social Impairments, Structural Nodal Efficiencies Index Systemising and Theory-of-Mind Skills. Mol Autism, 12 (1). p. 3.

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Background: Autism is characterised not only by impaired social cognitive ‘empathising’ but also by superior rulebased ‘systemising’. These cognitive domains intertwine within the categorical diagnosis of autism, yet behavioural genetics suggest largely independent heritability, and separable brain mechanisms. We sought to determine whether quantitative behavioural measures of autistic traits are dimensionally associated with structural and functional brain network integrity, and whether brain bases of autistic traits vary independently across individuals. Methods: Thirty right-handed neurotypical adults (12 females) were administered psychometric (Social Responsiveness Scale, Autism Spectrum Quotient and Systemising Quotient) and behavioural (Attention Network Test and theory-of-mind reaction time) measures of autistic traits, and structurally (diffusion tensor imaging) and functionally (500 s of 2 Hz eyes-closed resting fMRI) derived graph-theoretic measures of efficiency of information integration were computed throughout the brain and within subregions. Results: Social impairment was positively associated with functional efficiency (r = .47, p = .006), globally and within temporo-parietal and prefrontal cortices. Delayed orienting of attention likewise was associated with greater functional efficiency (r = − .46, p = .0133). Systemising was positively associated with global structural efficiency (r = .38, p = 0.018), driven specifically by temporal pole; theory-of-mind reaction time was related to structural efficiency (r = − .40, p = 0.0153) within right supramarginal gyrus. Limitations: Interpretation of these relationships is complicated by the many senses of the term ‘connectivity’, including functional, structural and computational; by the approximation inherent in group functional anatomical parcellations when confronted with individual variation in functional anatomy; and by the validity, sensitivity and specificity of the several survey and experimental behavioural measures applied as correlates of brain structure and function.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Neurodegenerative Disorders
Neuro-Oncological Disorders
Neurocognitive Processes
Neuronal Development and Regeneration
Informatics and Imaging
Genetics and Molecular Biology
Depositing User: Dr. D.D. Lal
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 06:47
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2021 04:55
URI: http://nbrc.sciencecentral.in/id/eprint/744

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