||Elison, J. T.; Paterson, S. J.; Wolff, J. J.; Reznick, J. S.; Sasson, N. J.; Gu, H.; Botteron, K. N.; Dager, S. R.; Estes, A. M.; Evans, A. C.; Hazlett, H. C.; Schultz, R. T.; Styner, M... et.al.
||Objective: The authors sought to determine whether specific patterns of oculo-motor functioning and visual orientingcharacterize 7-month-old infants who later meet criteria for an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to identify the neural correlates of these behaviors. Method:Data were collected from 97 infants, of whom 16 were high-familial-risk infants later classified as having an ASD, 40 were high-familial-risk infants who did not later meet ASD criteria (high-risk negative), and 41 were low- risk infants. All infants underwent an eye-tracking task at a mean age of 7 months and a clinical assessment at a mean age of 25 months. Diffusion-weighted imaging data were acquired for 84 of the infants at 7 months. Primary outcome measures included average saccadic reaction time in a visually guided saccade procedure and radial diffusivity (an index of white matter organization) in fiber tracts that included corticospinal path-ways and the splenium and genu of the corpus callosum. Results: Visual orienting latencies were longer in 7-month-old infants who ex-pressed ASD symptoms at 25 months compared with both high-risk negative infants and low-risk infants. Visual orienting latencies were uniquely associated with the microstructural organization of the splenium of the corpus callosum in low-risk infants, but this association was not apparent in infants later classified as having an ASD. Conclusions: Flexiblyandef ficientlyorienting to salient information in the environment is critical for subsequent cognitive and social-cognitive development. Atypical visual orienting may represent an early prodromal feature of an ASD, and abnormal functional specialization of posterior cortical circuits directly informs a novel model of ASD pathogenesis.
||Elison, J. T., Paterson, S. J., Wolff, J. J., Reznick, J. S., Sasson, N. J., Gu, H., Botteron, K. N., Dager, S. R., Estes, A. M., Evans, A. C., Gerig, G., Hazlett, H. C., Schultz, R. T., Styner, M., Zwaigenbaum, L., & Piven, J. (2013). White matter microstructure and atypical visual orienting in 7 month-olds at risk for autism. American Journal of Psychiatry, 170(8), 899-908.