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29 March 2013 Reduced centrality of Wernicke's area in autism
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Early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is difficult, as symptoms vary greatly and are difficult to quantify objectively. Recent work has focused on the assessment of non-invasive diffusion tensor imaging based biomarkers of the disease that reflect the microstructural characteristics of neuronal pathways in the brain. One of the most common symptoms is reduced language development. We quantify this reduction using a graph-based large-scale network analysis of the connectome with a focus on the language related areas of the brain. Using a group of 18 children suffering from ASD and 18 typically developed controls we show that the reduced capacity for comprehension of language in ASD is reflected in the significantly (p < 0.001) reduced network centrality of Wernicke's area while the motor cortex, that was used as a control region, did not show any significant alterations. These results suggest Wernicke's area is less well integrated within the brain connectome in children suffering from ASD.
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Caspar J. Goch, Bram Stieltjes, Romy Henze, Jan Hering, Hans-Peter Meinzer, and Klaus H. Fritzsche "Reduced centrality of Wernicke's area in autism", Proc. SPIE 8672, Medical Imaging 2013: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging, 867223 (29 March 2013);

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