Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a brain-based pervasive developmental disorder, which—by
growing consensus—is associated with abnormal organization of functional networks. Several
previous studies of ASD have indicated atypical hemispheric asymmetries for language.
To examine the asymmetry of functional networks using a data-driven approach for a comprehensive
investigation of hemispheric asymmetry in ASD.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This cross-sectional study involved 24 children with ASD and 26 matched typically developing
children at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. Data from 10
children had to be excluded for excessive motion, resulting in final samples of 20 participants per
Main Outcomes and Measures
Asymmetry indices of functional networks identified from independent component analysis of
resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data.
Temporal concatenation independent component analysis, performed separately in each group, showed
significant group differences in asymmetry indices for 10 out of 17 functional networks. Without
exception, these networks (visual, auditory, motor, executive, language, and attentional) showed
atypical rightward asymmetry shifts in the ASD group.
Conclusions and Relevance
Atypical rightward asymmetry may be a pervasive feature of functional brain organization in ASD,
affecting sensorimotor, as well as higher cognitive, domains.