Auditory evoked fields predict language ability and impairment in children.

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TitleAuditory evoked fields predict language ability and impairment in children.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsCardy, JEOram, Flagg, EJ, Roberts, W, Roberts, TPL
JournalInt J Psychophysiol
Date Published2008 May
KeywordsAcoustic Stimulation, Adolescent, Auditory Pathways, Auditory Perception, Autistic Disorder, Case-Control Studies, Cerebral Cortex, Child, Discrimination (Psychology), Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Female, Functional Laterality, Humans, Language Development Disorders, Language Disorders, Magnetoencephalography, Male, Reference Values, ROC Curve

Recent evidence suggests that a subgroup of children with autism show similarities to children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) in the pattern of their linguistic impairments, but the source of this overlap is unclear. We examined the ability of auditory evoked magnetic fields to predict language and other developmental abilities in children and adolescents. Following standardized assessment of language ability, nonverbal IQ, and autism-associated behaviors, 110 trails of a tone were binaurally presented to 45 7-18 year olds who had typical development, autism (with LI), Asperger Syndrome (i.e., without LI), or SLI. Using a 151-channel MEG system, latency of left hemisphere (LH) and right hemisphere (RH) auditory M50 and M100 peaks was recorded. RH M50 latency (and to a lesser extent, RH M100 latency) predicted overall oral language ability, accounting for 36% of the variance. Nonverbal IQ and autism behavior ratings were not predicted by any of the evoked fields. Latency of the RH M50 was the best predictor of clinical LI (i.e., irrespective of autism diagnosis), and demonstrated 82% accuracy in predicting Receptive LI; a cutoff of 84.6 ms achieved 92% specificity and 70% sensitivity in classifying children with and without Receptive LI. Auditory evoked responses appear to reflect language functioning and impairment rather than non-specific brain (dys)function (e.g., IQ, behavior). RH M50 latency proved to be a relatively useful indicator of impaired language comprehension, suggesting that delayed auditory perceptual processing in the RH may be a key neural dysfunction underlying the overlap between subgroups of children with autism and SLI.

Alternate JournalInt J Psychophysiol
PubMed ID18304666
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