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Abstract #0174

An MRS investigation of superior visual search abilities in children with autism spectrum disorder: Evidence for enhanced top-down attentional filtering

David A Edmondson1,2, Pingyu Xia1, Brandon Keehn3, and Ulrike Dydak1,2

1School of Health Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States, 2Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, United States, 3Department of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States

Processing strengths or “islets of ability” associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), especially in visual search, have been of continued interest as they provide insight into how those with ASD perceive the world around them. In typically-developing (TD) individuals, region-specific concentrations of GABA are associated with differences in attention and perception. ASD may be associated with an excitatory-inhibitory imbalance, however, it remains unclear how this may contribute to superior search abilities. To test this, 37 ASD and TD children participated in a magnetic resonance spectroscopy study using MEGA-semi-LASER to detect GABA concentrations in cortical regions associated with attention and perception.

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