The neurophysiological basis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a group of genetically heterogeneous developmental disorders characterized by similar behavioral features, such as difficulties with everyday social communication, social interaction, presence of repetitive behaviors and sensory hyper- or hypo-sensitivity. The current progress in molecular genetics and animal modeling studies has shown that the clinical manifestations of ASD may be linked to very different, and sometimes even opposite neural deficits (e.g. neural hyper- or hypo-excitability). Therefore, the pharmacological drugs that help some individuals with ASD may appear useless or even harmful for others. Hence, there is an urgent need for objective biomarkers that would reflect underlying neural deficits and predict which treatment would help a particular individual.

In a series of works, we have used EEG and MEG to study brain disorders associated with ASD [1-25]1. Currently, our interest is focused on fast oscillations of electromagnetic activity of the brain ("gamma oscillations"), which can help assess the balance between excitation and inhibition in neural networks.

The laboratory has an extensive database of MEG records, results of psychophysical and psychological tests, questionnaires, etc. that includes about 100 children with ASD. This database will allow us in the future to assess how the studied neurophysiological indicators are informative for predicting the development of a child with ASD.

1Our publications:

1. Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA, Schneiderman JF, Lundstrom S, Riaz B, Sarovic D, Sysoeva OV, Brant G, Gillberg C, Hadjikhani N: Neural gain control measured through cortical gamma oscillations is associated with sensory sensitivity. Hum Brain Mapp 2019, 40(5):1583-1593.
2. Haartsen R, Jones EJH, Orekhova EV, Charman T, Johnson MH, Baron-Cohen S, Bedford R, Blasi A, Bolton P, Chandler S et al: Functional EEG connectivity in infants associates with later restricted and repetitive behaviours in autism; a replication study. Transl Psychiat 2019, 9.
3. Sysoeva OV, Galuta IA, Davletshina MS, Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA: Abnormal Size-Dependent Modulation of Motion Perception in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Front Neurosci-Switz 2017, 11.
4. Butorina AV, Galuta IA, Prokofyev AO, Nikolaeva AY, Sysoeva O, Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA: Abnormally diffuse pattern of visual gamma coherence in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Int J Psychophysiol 2016, 108:89-89.
5. Sysoeva OV, Davletshina MA, Orekhova EV, Galuta IA, Stroganova TA: Reduced Oblique Effect in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Front Neurosci-Switz 2016, 9.
6. Stroganova TA, Butorina AV, Sysoeva OV, Prokofyev AO, Nikolaeva AY, Tsetlin MM, Orekhova EV: Altered modulation of gamma oscillation frequency by speed of visual motion in children with autism spectrum disorders. J Neurodev Disord 2015, 7.
7. Sysoeva O, Orekhova E, Tsetlin M, Pushina N, Davletshina M, Galuta I, Stroganova T: The reduced visual orientation discrimination in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is specific for cardinal axis. Perception 2015, 44:297-298.
8. Stroganova TA, Orekhova EV, Galuta IA: Neural Basis of Attention Orienting Abnormalities in Children with Autism. Eksp Psikhologiya 2015, 8(3):7-23.
9. Orekhova EV, Elsabbagh M, Jones EJH, Dawson G, Charman T, Johnson MH, Team B: EEG hyper-connectivity in high-risk infants is associated with later autism. J Neurodev Disord 2014, 6.
10. Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA: Arousal and attention re-orienting in autism spectrum disorders: evidence from auditory event-related potentials. Front Hum Neurosci 2014, 8.
11. Stroganova TA, Kozunov VV, Posikera IN, Galuta IA, Gratchev VV, Orekhova EV: Abnormal Pre-Attentive Arousal in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Contributes to Their Atypical Auditory Behavior: An ERP Study. Plos One 2013, 8(7).
12. Kenet T, Orekhova EV, Bharadwaj H, Shetty NR, Israeli E, Lee AKC, Agam Y, Elam M, Joseph RM, Hamalainen MS et al: Disconnectivity of the cortical ocular motor control network in autism spectrum disorders. Neuroimage 2012, 61(4):1226-1234.
13. Orekhova EV, Tsetlin MM, Butorina AV, Novikova SI, Gratchev VV, Sokolov PA, Elam M, Stroganova TA: Auditory Cortex Responses to Clicks and Sensory Modulation Difficulties in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Plos One 2012, 7(6).
14. Stroganova TA, Orekhova EV, Prokofyev AO, Tsetlin MM, Gratchev VV, Morozov AA, Obukhov YV: High-frequency oscillatory response to illusory contour in typically developing boys and boys with autism spectrum disorders. Cortex 2012, 48(6):701-717.
15. Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA, Prokofiev A, Nygren G, Gillberg C, Elam M: The right hemisphere fails to respond to temporal novelty in autism: Evidence from an ERP study. Clin Neurophysiol 2009, 120(3):520-529.
16. Stroganova TA, Orekhova EV, Tsetlin MM, Posikera IN, Nygren G, Gillberg C, Elam M: EEG evidences of aberrant brain functioning in young children with autism. Int J Psychophysiol 2008, 69(3):203-204.
17. Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA, Prokofiev AO, Nygren G, Gillberg C, Elam M: Right hemispheric failure to respond to temporal novelty in autism: Evidence from an event-related potential study. Int J Psychophysiol 2008, 69(3):186-186.
18. Prokofyev A, Orekhova E, Posikera I, Morozov A, Morozov V, Obukhov Y, Stroganova T: Inverted event-related potentials response to illusory contour in boys with autism. Int J Psychol 2008, 43(3-4):803-803.
19. Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA, Prokofyev AO, Nygren G, Gillberg C, Elam M: Sensory gating in young children with autism: Relation to age, IQ, and EEG gamma oscillations. Neurosci Lett 2008, 434(2):218-223.
20. Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA, Nygren G, Tsetlin MM, Posikera IN, Gillberg C, Elam M: Excess of high frequency electroencephalogram oscillations in boys with autism. Biol Psychiat 2007, 62(9):1022-1029.
21. Stroganova TA, Nygren G, Tsetlin MM, Posikera IN, Gillberg C, Elam M, Orekhova EV: Abnormal EEG lateralization in boys with autism. Clin Neurophysiol 2007, 118(8):1842-1854.
22. Stroganova TA, Orekhova EV, Prokofyev AO, Posikera IN, Morozov AA, Obukhov YV, Morozov VA: Inverted event-related potentials response to illusory contour in boys with autism. Neuroreport 2007, 18(9):931-935.
23. Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA, Nygren G, Posikera IN, Gillberg C, Elam M: High frequency activity in ongoing EEG from young children with autism: A two sample study. Int J Psychophysiol 2006, 61(3):347-347.
24. Orekhova EV, Stroganova TA, Nygren G, Posikera IN, Tcetlin MM, Gillberg C, Elam M: High frequency activity in spontaneous EEG from young children with autism: A two sample study. Psychophysiology 2006, 43:S74-S74.
25. Stroganova TA, Orekhova EV, Nygren G, Tcetlin MM, Posikera IN, Gillberg C, Elam M: Atypical lateralization of spontaneous EEG in young children with autism: A two sample study. Psychophysiology 2006, 43:S95-S95.