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