Attention and Working Memory in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Functional MRI Study

Jukka S. Rahko*, Virve A. Vuontela, Synnöve Carlson, Juha Nikkinen, Tuula M. Hurtig, Sanna Kuusikko-Gauffin, Marja-Leena Mattila, Katja K. Jussila, Jukka J. Remes, Eira M. Jansson-Verkasalo, Eeva T. Aronen, David L. Pauls, Hanna E. Ebeling, Osmo Tervonen, Irma K. Moilanen, Vesa J. Kiviniemi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examined attention and memory load-dependent differences in the brain activation and deactivation patterns between adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and typically developing (TD) controls using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Attentional (0-back) and working memory (WM; 2-back) processing and load differences (0 vs. 2-back) were analysed. WM-related areas activated and default mode network deactivated normally in ASDs as a function of task load. ASDs performed the attentional 0-back task similarly to TD controls but showed increased deactivation in cerebellum and right temporal cortical areas and weaker activation in other cerebellar areas. Increasing task load resulted in multiple responses in ASDs compared to TD and in inadequate modulation of brain activity in right insula, primary somatosensory, motor and auditory cortices. The changes during attentional task may reflect compensatory mechanisms enabling normal behavioral performance. The inadequate memory load-dependent modulation of activity suggests diminished compensatory potential in ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-517
Number of pages15
JournalCHILD PSYCHIATRY AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Attention
  • Default mode network
  • Working memory
  • Visuospatial
  • SCHOOL-AGE-CHILDREN
  • ASPERGER-SYNDROME
  • EXECUTIVE FUNCTION
  • BRAIN ACTIVATION
  • NEURAL SYSTEMS
  • BASE-LINE
  • METAANALYSIS
  • NETWORKS
  • FMRI
  • FACE

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