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Neuroreport. 2004 Feb 9;15(2):267-70.

Early visual cortex organization in autism: an fMRI study.

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Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Bldg. 36, First Street, Room 417, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by preserved visual abilities as well as a special profile for visual cognition. We examined the visual cortex of high-ability individuals with autism in order to assess whether the presence of abnormalities at the primary sensory level in autism could be the basis of their unusual pattern of visual cognitive abilities. We found that the early sensory visual areas are normally organized in individuals with autism, with a normal ratio between central versus peripheral visual field representation. We conclude that the differences observed in the visual capacities of individuals with autism are likely to arise from higher-level cognitive areas and functions, and are the result of top-down processes.

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