Marjolein Verly1, Judith Verhoeven2, Inge Zink1, Lieven Lagae3, Nathalie Rommel1, Stefan Sunaert4
1ExpORL, Department of Neurosciences, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; 2Epilepsy Center Kempenhaeghe, Heeze, Netherlands; 3Child Neurology, University Hospitals of the Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; 4Radiology, University Hospitals of the Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
In a sub-group of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) the failure in spoken language is not only restricted to the domain of pragmatics but encompasses semantic, syntactic and phonological domains. Functional and structural neuroimaging are promising techniques for unraveling the neural correlates underlying the linguistic deficits of autism. However, the interplay between structural and functional connectivity and language performance in autism is largely unstudied. In this study, we examined the neurostructural and neurofunctional basis of language impairment in ASD using diffusion tensor imaging and resting state magnetic resonance imaging. DTI tractography and rsfMRI have revealed a pattern of structural and functional underconnectivity in a subgroup of children with ASD. In this subgroup underconnectivity of the language network was associated with co-occurring language impairment.