Poster B11, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Developmental Trajectories of Functional Connectivity in Autism from Childhood to Adolescents during Face Processing
Fahimeh Mamashli1,2, Sheraz Khan1,2,3, Hari Bharadwaj1,2,3, Ainsley Losh1, Matti Hamalainen2,3,4, Tal Kenet1,2; 1Department of Neurology, MGH, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, 2Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH/HST, Charlestown, MA, USA, 3Department of Radiology, MGH, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, 4Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Aalto University School of Science, Espoo, Finland
Accumulating evidence suggests that functional connectivity abnormalities in ASD are not constant throughout maturation from childhood to adulthood. We have recently shown reduced local and long-range functional connectivity during face processing, in adolescents and young adults (14-22 years old) with ASD, estimated from magnetoencephalography (MEG) data. More specifically, we showed that local functional connectivity measured in fusiform face areas (FFA), estimated using phase amplitude coupling (PAC) was reduced in ASD. Long-range functional connectivity between the FFA and three higher order cortical areas was also reduced in ASD. None of the measures correlated with age. Here, we tested, using a similar paradigm, whether these findings extend to pre-adolescent children (8-13 years old). We found that both long-range and local functional connectivity in the same areas, using the same methods, were normal in ASD in this younger age group. Combining the two age groups, we found that the magnitudes of both local and long-range functional connectivity measures were positively correlated with age in TD, but negatively correlated with age in ASD, suggesting a divergence in the direction of the maturation trajectory itself in ASD. PAC was the most important feature in predicting age in ASD group, not in the TD group. Furthermore, the correlation between PAC and ASD severity strongly increased across development. These results suggest that direction of maturation should be a critical component to consider when examining ASD abnormalities, and that there are significant drawbacks to averaging over a wide age range in adolescence to increase power.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Development & aging