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1.  Impaired Structural Connectivity of Socio-Emotional Circuits in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e28044.
Background
Abnormal white matter development may disrupt integration within neural circuits, causing particular impairments in higher-order behaviours. In autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), white matter alterations may contribute to characteristic deficits in complex socio-emotional and communication domains. Here, we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and tract based spatial statistics (TBSS) to evaluate white matter microstructure in ASD.
Methods/Principal Findings
DTI scans were acquired for 19 children and adolescents with ASD (∼8–18 years; mean 12.4±3.1) and 16 age and IQ matched controls (∼8–18 years; mean 12.3±3.6) on a 3T MRI system. DTI values for fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, radial diffusivity and axial diffusivity, were measured. Age by group interactions for global and voxel-wise white matter indices were examined. Voxel-wise analyses comparing ASD with controls in: (i) the full cohort (ii), children only (≤12 yrs.), and (iii) adolescents only (>12 yrs.) were performed, followed by tract-specific comparisons. Significant age-by-group interactions on global DTI indices were found for all three diffusivity measures, but not for fractional anisotropy. Voxel-wise analyses revealed prominent diffusion measure differences in ASD children but not adolescents, when compared to healthy controls. Widespread increases in mean and radial diffusivity in ASD children were prominent in frontal white matter voxels. Follow-up tract-specific analyses highlighted disruption to pathways integrating frontal, temporal, and occipital structures involved in socio-emotional processing.
Conclusions/Significance
Our findings highlight disruption of neural circuitry in ASD, particularly in those white matter tracts that integrate the complex socio-emotional processing that is impaired in this disorder.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028044
PMCID: PMC3223195  PMID: 22132206
2.  Diffusion tensor imaging of white matter after cranial radiation in children for medulloblastoma: Correlation with IQ1 
Neuro-Oncology  2006;8(3):244-252.
Treatment of children with cranial-spinal radiation (CSR) for brain tumors is associated with adverse intellectual outcome and white matter damage. However, the correlation between IQ and measures of white matter integrity has received little attention. We examined apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), fractional anisotropy (FA), and intelligence in pediatric patients treated with CSR for medulloblastoma relative to control subjects. ADC and FA measures were obtained for eight patients and eight control children and evaluated in multiple regions of interest in the cerebral hemispheres. Mean ADC and mean FA for each region were calculated, group differences were evaluated, and the relationship between these measures and intelligence were examined. In our study group, decreased IQ was associated with increased ADC and decreased FA (P < 0.01). Mean IQ for the CSR group was lower than that for the control group, but the difference was not significant when controlling for overall mean FA or ADC (P > 0.10). Overall mean FA was lower and ADC was higher in the CSR group relative to controls (P < 0.01). Specifically, FA was lower in the genu of the corpus callosum, the anterior and posterior limbs of the internal capsule, inferior frontal white matter, and high frontal white matter, and ADC was higher in all regions in patients relative to controls (P < 0.01). Compromised white matter integrity was observed for multiple regions within the cerebral hemispheres following CSR. A novel finding was that microscopic damage in normal-appearing white matter, as indexed by higher ADC and lower FA, was related to poor intellectual outcome relative to age-matched controls.
doi:10.1215/15228517-2006-002
PMCID: PMC1871945  PMID: 16723629
cranial radiation; diffusion tensor imaging; intelligence; white matter

Results 1-2 (2)