Somatosensory Event-Related Potentials and Association with Tactile Behavioral Responsiveness Patterns in Children with ASD.

Cascio CJ, Gu C, Schauder KB, Key AP, Yoder P
Brain Topogr. 2015 28 (6): 895-903

PMID: 26016951 · PMCID: PMC4601930 · DOI:10.1007/s10548-015-0439-1

The goal of this study was to explore neural response to touch in children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Patterns of reduced (hypo-responsiveness) and enhanced (hyper-responsiveness) behavioral reaction to sensory input are prevalent in ASD, but their neural mechanisms are poorly understood. We measured event-related potentials (ERP) to a puff of air on the fingertip and collected parent report of tactile hypo- and hyper-responsiveness in children with ASD (n = 21, mean (SD) age 11.25 (3.09), 2 female), and an age-matched typically developing comparison group (n = 28, mean (SD) age 10.1 (3.08, 2 female). A global measure of ERP response strength approximately 220-270 ms post-stimulus was associated with tactile hypo-responsiveness in ASD, while tactile hyper-responsiveness was associated with earlier neural response (approximately 120-220 ms post-stimulus) in both groups. These neural responses also related to autism severity. These results suggest that, in ASD, tactile hypo- and hyper-responsiveness may reflect different waypoints in the neural processing stream of sensory input. The timing of the relationship for hyper-responsiveness is consistent with somatosensory association cortical response, while that for hypo-responsiveness is more consistent with later processes that may involve allocation of attention or emotional valence to the stimulus.

MeSH Terms (16)

Adolescent Autism Spectrum Disorder Brain Mapping Child Child, Preschool Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory Female Humans Male Parents Physical Stimulation Psychophysics Reaction Time Somatosensory Cortex Time Factors Touch

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