A team of researchers from The Netherlands (University Medical Center Utrecht and Utrecht University, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, and VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam) compared electroencephalography (EEG) recordings from young children with and without autism.
The researchers evaluated the patterns of communication between various functional neural networks in the brain that aid in the processing and integration of information.
In the article 'Disrupted Functional Brain Networks in Autistic Toddlers,' Maria Boersma et al. describe significant differences in the communication patterns, in particular in variables such as path length and clustering.
"This work provides support to the hypothesis that autism is a disorder of connectivity," Christopher Pawela, PhD, Co-Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin said.
"The researchers demonstrated that autistic children's brains have both reduced brain connectivity and a diminished capacity for neural communication.
"This is an interesting finding and has impact on the understanding of the abnormal brain development in autistic children," he added.
The results are published in the journal Brain Connectivity.