Head motion could bias imaging results in children with autism

December 13, 2013


A Martinos Center study has caught the attention of the Neuroskeptic over at the Discover Magazine website.

In a recent Neuroimage paper - "Spurious group differences due to head motion in a diffusion MRI study" - Anastasia Yendiki and colleagues report that head movement during such MRI scans might account for abnormal brain white matter connections observed in children with autism.

The findings raise questions about our current understandings of these connections, Neuroskeptic said. Similar concerns with respect to functional connections have already been noted.

The good news? Yendiki and colleagues propose a fix for this possible motion bias: entering the motion parameters from the diffusion data as a covariate in the analysis. They show in the Neuroimage paper that this fix is extremely effective.

Read the Neuroskeptic blog post here.

Yendiki is also contributing to a project entitled "Development of accelerated diffusion and functional MRI scans with real-time motion tracking for children with autism," which recently received seed grant funding from the Simons Center for the Social Brain at MIT.