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Mol Autism. 2014 Feb 6;5(1):8. doi: 10.1186/2040-2392-5-8.

Abnormal lateralization of functional connectivity between language and default mode regions in autism.

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Interdepartmental Program in Neuroscience, University of Utah, 20 North 1900 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.



Lateralization of brain structure and function occurs in typical development, and abnormal lateralization is present in various neuropsychiatric disorders. Autism is characterized by a lack of left lateralization in structure and function of regions involved in language, such as Broca and Wernicke areas.


Using functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging from a large publicly available sample (n = 964), we tested whether abnormal functional lateralization in autism exists preferentially in language regions or in a more diffuse pattern across networks of lateralized brain regions.


The autism group exhibited significantly reduced left lateralization in a few connections involving language regions and regions from the default mode network, but results were not significant throughout left- and right-lateralized networks. There is a trend that suggests the lack of left lateralization in a connection involving Wernicke area and the posterior cingulate cortex associates with more severe autism.


Abnormal language lateralization in autism may be due to abnormal language development rather than to a deficit in hemispheric specialization of the entire brain.

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