What is the role of diffusion tensor imaging in the workup of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Answer

On MRI studies, diffusion tensor imaging can provide information about connections among different brain regions. Children with autism spectrum disorder demonstrated higher values for the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in the whole frontal lobe, as well as the long and short association fibers of the frontal lobe. [136]

Children with autism and their healthy siblings demonstrate significant reductions in fractional anisotropy (FA) in association, commissural, and project tracts, in contrast to control groups. [137, 138] Alterations in FA in the white matter of the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes suggest an inherited trait characteristic of a vulnerability to develop autism.


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