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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Jan;36(1):604-25. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Sep 24.

Brain connectivity and high functioning autism: a promising path of research that needs refined models, methodological convergence, and stronger behavioral links.

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Department of Psychology, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Weesperplein 4, 1018 XA Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Here we review findings from studies investigating functional and structural brain connectivity in high functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The dominant theory regarding brain connectivity in people with ASD is that there is long distance under-connectivity and local over-connectivity of the frontal cortex. Consistent with this theory, long-range cortico-cortical functional and structural connectivity appears to be weaker in people with ASD than in controls. However, in contrast to the theory, there is less evidence for local over-connectivity of the frontal cortex. Moreover, some patterns of abnormal functional connectivity in ASD are not captured by current theoretical models. Taken together, empirical findings measuring different forms of connectivity demonstrate complex patterns of abnormal connectivity in people with ASD. The frequently suggested pattern of long-range under-connectivity and local over-connectivity is in need of refinement.

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