Brainstem White Matter Predicts Individual Differences in Manual Motor Difficulties and Symptom Severity in Autism

Brittany G. Travers, Erin D. Bigler, Do P.M. Tromp, Nagesh Adluru, Dan Destiche, Danica Samsin, Alyson Froehlich, Molly D.B. Prigge, Tyler C. Duffield, Nicholas Lange, Andrew L. Alexander, Janet E. Lainhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mounting evidence suggests that poorer motor skills may be related to more severe autism symptoms. This study investigated if atypical white matter microstructure in the brain mediated the relationship between motor skills and ASD symptom severity. Sixty-seven males with ASD and 42 males with typical development (5–33 years old) completed a diffusion tensor imaging scan and measures of grip strength, finger tapping, and autism symptom severity. Within the ASD group, weaker grip strength predicted more severe autism symptoms. Fractional anisotropy of the brainstem’s corticospinal tract predicted both grip strength and autism symptom severity and mediated the relationship between the two. These findings suggest that brainstem white matter may contribute to autism symptoms and grip strength in ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3030-3040
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of autism and developmental disorders
Volume45
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Brainstem
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Finger tapping
  • Grip strength
  • Motor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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    Travers, B. G., Bigler, E. D., Tromp, D. P. M., Adluru, N., Destiche, D., Samsin, D., Froehlich, A., Prigge, M. D. B., Duffield, T. C., Lange, N., Alexander, A. L., & Lainhart, J. E. (2015). Brainstem White Matter Predicts Individual Differences in Manual Motor Difficulties and Symptom Severity in Autism. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 45(9), 3030-3040. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2467-9