Inherited brain activity may guide treatment for autism, ADHD

By Amy Wallace  |  Nov. 2, 2017 at 4:28 PM
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Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Oregon Health & Science University researchers have found that functional brain connectivity has both familial and heritable associations.

The study, published today in Network Neuroscience, used two data sets of MRI brain scans from more than 350 adult and child siblings to assess their identity based on connectotype, or the pattern of functional brain connectivity.

"Similar to DNA, specific brain systems and connectivity patterns are passed down from adults to their children," Dr. Damien Fair, an associate professor of behavioral neuroscience and psychiatry at OHSU's School of Medicine, said in a press release. "This is significant because it may help us to better characterize aspects of altered brain activity, development or disease."

Researchers were able to determine functional connectivity

Researchers used a technique to characterize functional connectivity and machine learning to be able to identify siblings based on connectotype. They were able to distinguish individual sibling and twin pairs from unrelated pairs in adults and children in the study.

Connectotype showed heritability in five brain systems including the frontoparietal cortex, the dorsal attention and default systems.

"This confirms that while unique to each individual, some aspects of the family connectome are inherited and maintained throughout development and may be useful as early biomarkers of mental or neurological conditions," said Oscar Miranda-Dominguez, research assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience at OHSU School of Medicine.

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