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Brain Connect. 2015 Aug;5(6):321-35. doi: 10.1089/brain.2014.0324. Epub 2015 Apr 14.

Shared Brain Connectivity Issues, Symptoms, and Comorbidities in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Tourette Syndrome.

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1 Institute of Chronic Illnesses, Inc. , Silver Spring, Maryland.
2 CoMeD, Inc. , Silver Spring, Maryland.
3 Communication Sciences & Disorders, Texas Woman's University , Denton, Texas.


The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Tourette syndrome (TS), has increased over the past two decades. Currently, about one in six children in the United States is diagnosed as having a neurodevelopmental disorder. Evidence suggests that ASD, ADHD, and TS have similar neuropathology, which includes long-range underconnectivity and short-range overconnectivity. They also share similar symptomatology with considerable overlap in their core and associated symptoms and a frequent overlap in their comorbid conditions. Consequently, it is apparent that ASD, ADHD, and TS diagnoses belong to a broader spectrum of neurodevelopmental illness. Biologically, long-range underconnectivity and short-range overconnectivity are plausibly related to neuronal insult (e.g., neurotoxicity, neuroinflammation, excitotoxicity, sustained microglial activation, proinflammatory cytokines, toxic exposure, and oxidative stress). Therefore, these disorders may a share a similar etiology. The main purpose of this review is to critically examine the evidence that ASD, ADHD, and TS belong to a broader spectrum of neurodevelopmental illness, an abnormal connectivity spectrum disorder, which results from neural long-range underconnectivity and short-range overconnectivity. The review also discusses the possible reasons for these neuropathological connectivity findings. In addition, this review examines the role and issue of axonal injury and regeneration in order to better understand the neuropathophysiological interplay between short- and long-range axons in connectivity issues.


Tourette syndrome (TS); attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); autism spectrum disorder (ASD); axon; connectivity; neurodevelopmental disorders

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