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Clin Neurophysiol. 1999 Nov;110(11):1927-34.

Auditory associative cortex dysfunction in children with autism: evidence from late auditory evoked potentials (N1 wave-T complex).

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INSERM Unité 316, Service Universitaire d'Explorations Fonctionnelles et de Neurophysiologie en Pédopsychiatrie, Tours, France.



Auditory processing at the cortical level was investigated with late auditory evoked potentials (N1 wave-T complex) in 4-8-year-old autistic children with mental retardation and compared to both age-matched normal and mentally retarded children (16 children in each group).


Two negative peaks which occurred in the 80-200 ms latency range were analyzed according to stimulus intensity level (50 to 80 dB SPL): the first culminated at fronto-central sites (N1b) and the second at bitemporal sites (N1c, equivalent to Tb of the T complex). The latter wave was the most prominent and reliable response in normal children at this age.


Our results in autistic children indicated abnormalities of this wave with markedly smaller amplitude at bitemporal sites and pronounced peak latency delay (around 20 ms). Moreover, in both reference groups the intensity effect was found on both sides whereas in autistic children it was absent on the left side but present on the right.


These findings in autistic children showing very disturbed verbal communication argue for dysfunction in brain areas involved in N1c generation i.e., the auditory associative cortex in the lateral part of the superior temporal gyrus, with more specific left side defects when auditory stimulus have to be processed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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