Early differences in auditory processing relate to Autism Spectrum Disorder traits in infants with Neurofibromatosis Type I

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Begum-Ali, Jannath 
Kolesnik-Taylor, Anna 
Quiroz, Isabel 
Mason, Luke 
Garg, Shruti 

Abstract: Background: Sensory modulation difficulties are common in children with conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and could contribute to other social and non-social symptoms. Positing a causal role for sensory processing differences requires observing atypical sensory reactivity prior to the emergence of other symptoms, which can be achieved through prospective studies. Methods: In this longitudinal study, we examined auditory repetition suppression and change detection at 5 and 10 months in infants with and without Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1), a condition associated with higher likelihood of developing ASD. Results: In typically developing infants, suppression to vowel repetition and enhanced responses to vowel/pitch change decreased with age over posterior regions, becoming more frontally specific; age-related change was diminished in the NF1 group. Whilst both groups detected changes in vowel and pitch, the NF1 group were largely slower to show a differentiated neural response. Auditory responses did not relate to later language, but were related to later ASD traits. Conclusions: These findings represent the first demonstration of atypical brain responses to sounds in infants with NF1 and suggest they may relate to the likelihood of later ASD.

Research, Neurofibromatosis type 1, Auditory processing, Habituation, Change detection, EEG, Autism spectrum disorder
Journal Title
Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
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BioMed Central
Action for Medical Research (GN2385)
Rosetrees Trust (A2213)
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/J500021/1)
Innovative Medicines Initiative (115300)
Medical Research Council (MR/T003057/1)