McNair Scholars Research Journal
Examining Neural Synchrony in Autism During Resting State With Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) comprises a group of neurodevelopmental disorders associated with the functioning of the central nervous system (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The symptoms experienced by individuals with this disorder include social impairment, communication difficulties, and repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. The etiology of ASD has yet to be determined, and it is typically diagnosed based on behavioral criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual- 5th Edition (DSM-5; APA, 2013) and confirmed with “gold standard” assessment tools such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and Autism Diagnostic Interview- Revised (ADI-R; Johnson Center for Child Health Development, 2014). Abnormalities in synchronous neural activity have been hypothesized to be a core pathophysiological mechanism (Cornew et al., 2012). Magnetoencephalography (MEG) can measure synchronous neural activity during resting state, when the brain is not consciously engaged in cognitive processing. Coherence is a measure of the synchronicity. We examined differences in coherence during resting state in ASD, compared to neurotypical developing individuals (NT), in an attempt to identify potential biomarkers and illuminate a core etiological mechanism.