Cracking the enigma: Networks in the autistic brain: insights from graph theory

In particular, thinking in terms of networks and graph theory might finally allow us to reconcile connectivity theories of autism with other theories that focus more on localised brain dysfunction. Over the years, it has been variously argued that autism is caused by dysfunction of the hippocampus, the cerebellum, the temporo-parietal junction, the medial prefrontal cortex, and the amygdala, to name just a few brain regions. What these regions have in common is that they are all highly connected with other brain regions – they are the Chicago O’Hares and London Heathrows of the brain. Dysfunction of any of these regions could have huge impacts on the whole of the brain (imagine the knock-on effects of closing Heathrow airport). Alternatively, changes in global connectivity would have greatest impact on the functioning of these hubs. 

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