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Cortical auditory system maturational abnormalities in children with autism disorder: an MEG investigation


Latency of electric (e.g., PI and NI) and magnetic (e.g., M100) auditory evoked components depends on age in typically developing children, with longer latencies for younger (4-6 years) and shorter, adult-like latencies for older (14-16 years) children. Age-related changes in evoked components provide indirect measures of auditory system maturation and reflect changes that occur during development. We use magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate maturational changes in cortical auditory systems in left (LH) and right (RH) hemispheres in children with autism disorder (AD) and Controls. We recorded auditory evoked responses over left and right temporal lobes in 17 Control and 15 AD children in the age range 8-16 years and measured M100 latency as a function of age, subject group and hemisphere. Linear regression analyses of age and M100 latency provided an estimate of the rate of latency change (ms/year) by hemisphere and subject group. Controls: M100 latency for the group ranged from 100.8 to 166.1 ms and varied linearly in both hemispheres, decreasing at a rate of -4 ms/year (LH) and -4.5 ms/year (RH). AD: M100 latency ranged from 116.2 to 186.2 ins. Slopes of regression lines did not differ from zero in either LH or RH. M100 latency showed a tendency to vary with age in LH, decreasing at a rate of -4.6 ms/year. M100 latency in RH increased slightly (at a rate of 0.8 ms/year) with age. Results provide evidence for a differential auditory system development in AD children which may reflect abnormalities in cortical maturational processes in AD. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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