Peak alpha frequency is a neural marker of cognitive function across the autism spectrum



Cognitive function varies substantially and serves as a key predictor of outcome and response to intervention in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), yet we know little about the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie cognitive function in children with ASD. The dynamics of neuronal oscillations in the alpha range (6-12 Hz) are associated with cognition in typical development. Peak alpha frequency is also highly sensitive to developmental changes in neural networks which underlie cognitive function, and therefore it holds promise as a developmentally-sensitive neural marker of cognitive function in ASD. Here, we measured peak alpha band frequency under a task-free condition in a heterogeneous sample of children with ASD (N=59) and age-matched typically developing (TD) children (N=38). At a group level, peak alpha frequency was decreased in ASD compared to TD children. Moreover, within the ASD group, peak alpha frequency correlated strongly with non-verbal cognition. As peak alpha frequency reflects the integrity of neural networks, our results suggest that deviations in network development may underlie cognitive function in individuals with ASD. By shedding light on the neurobiological correlates of cognitive function in ASD, our findings lay the groundwork for considering peak alpha frequency as a useful biomarker of cognitive function within this population which, in turn, will facilitate investigations of early markers of cognitive impairment and predictors of outcome in high risk infants.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Source: Dickinson, A., DiStefano, C., Senturk, D. and Spurling Jeste, S. (), Peak alpha frequency is a neural marker of cognitive function across the autism spectrum. Eur J Neurosci. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/ejn.13645

Psychology study finds adverse childhood experiences transfer from one generation to the next


Women who suffer four or more adverse childhood experiences before the age of 18 are more likely to face pregnancy and postpartum problems, which they may in turn pass on to their children in a “cascade of risk,” according to a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics. The study, led by the University of Calgary’s Sheri Madigan—Canada Research Chair in the Determinants of Child Development, a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and an assistant professor in psychology—finds that women who report having experienced early childhood adversity are two times more likely to suffer pregnancy problems, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension. These mothers are also five times more likely to endure postnatal psychological challenges, such as postpartum depression and marital conflict. The adverse childhood experiences include such factors as having a parent with mental illness or an alcohol/drug problem, witnessing parental conflict and/or suffering from sexual, physical or emotional abuse. Negative outcomes for the children of mothers who have experienced childhood adversity can include poor physical health, as well as depression and anxiety later in life.

Read more at: