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J Autism Dev Disord. 1989 Jun;19(2):255-69.

Brainstem and middle latency auditory evoked potentials in autism and developmental language disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego.


Brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP) and middle latency responses (MLR) were studied in 8 nonretarded subjects with infantile autism (mean age = 23.3, SD = 2.8), 8 subjects with receptive developmental language disorder (mean age = 16.3, SD = 1.4), and normal control subjects matched to each group for age, gender, and Performance IQ. Click stimuli were delivered monaurally to the left and the right ear and binaurally for both the BAEPs (70-dB HL, 7/sec) and the MLRs (60-dB HL, 13/sec). Amplitudes and latencies (Waves I to VI), interwave latencies (III-V, I-V, and I-III), and Wave I/V amplitude ratio of the BAEPs were determined for each group. For the MLR study, Wave Na, Pa, and Nb latencies, and Wave Na-Pa and Pa-Nb amplitudes were calculated. There were no consistent differences in the BAEP and MLR characteristics of the control and the experimental groups. These results suggest that the abnormal cognitive processes indexed by the cognitive and attention-related event-related potential components in infantile autism and receptive developmental language disorder are not due to abnormal sensory processing in the brainstem and in areas central to the brainstem whose activity generates the BAEPs and MLRs.

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