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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Dec;1145:300-15. doi: 10.1196/annals.1416.014.

From loci to networks and back again: anomalies in the study of autism.

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Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92120-1863, USA.


Recent developments in functional imaging as well as the emergence of new anatomical imaging techniques suited for the study of white matter have shifted investigational paradigms from a localized to a more holistic network approach. Aside from detecting local activity, functional MRI can be applied to the study of connectivity. However, the concept of "functional connectivity" remains broad, and specific designs and analyses may affect the results. In addition, connectivity cannot be viewed in isolation. Rather, from a developmental perspective, connectivity and local cortical architecture are intimately related. Therefore, combined approaches examining local organization and connectivity are the most promising avenues for elucidating disturbances of neurofunctional organization in developmental disorders. Here this approach is illustrated via data obtained from autism research that suggest impaired local cortical architecture and reduced long-range connectivity between cerebral regions.

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