Date of Award
Communication Sciences and Disorders
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association defines Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as a “neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction” which is heavily impacts language abilities. There is an abundance of research on the neurological aspects of the disorder, which appear to have major differences of activation and functionality when compared to typically developing peers. Specifically, in the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), a key language region of the brain, functional connectivity levels tend to be significantly less in ASD groups. This study recognizes these trends and aims to expand the research by locating specific functional connections and relationships between the three regions of the left IFG (pars opercularis, pars triangularis, and pars orbitalis) and other locations of the brain that could impact language. By using functional magnetic resonance images, we ran a voxel-wise analysis between the three regions of the left IFG and each individual voxel throughout the brain. As we expected, there was significantly less functional connectivity in the ASD groups. However, the decreased functional connectivity was only in the pars orbitalis and not the pars opercularis or pars triangularis. This information could improve the knowledge of the neurological pathways of language processes in ASD.
Miller, Emma, "Functional Connectivity of the Inferior Frontal Gyrus in Autism Spectrum Disorders" (2021). Honors Theses. 1796.
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