Seeking the aetiology of autistic spectrum disorder. Part 2: functional neuroimaging
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Psychiatr Pol 2012;46(6):1061–1071
Multiple functional imaging techniques help to a better understanding of the neurobiological basis of autism-spectrum disorders (ASD). The early functional imaging studies on ASD focused on task-specific methods related to core symptom domains and explored patterns of activation in response to face processing, theory of mind tasks, language processing and executive function tasks. On the other hand, fMRI research in ASD focused on the development of functional connectivity methods and has provided evidence of alterations in cortical connectivity in ASD and establish autism as a disorder of under-connectivity among the brain regions participating in cortical networks. This atypical functional connectivity in ASD results in inefficiency and poor integration of processing in network connections to achieve task performance. The goal of this review is to summarise the actual neuroimaging functional data and examine their implication for understanding of the neurobiology of ASD.