research showing a specific type of abnormality in autistic brains.
Correcting this imbalance improves social-emotional functioning.
Mu-like Rhythms in Autistic Spectrum Disorder:
EEG Analyses and Neurofeedback
Robert Coben, PhD & Bill Hudspeth, PhD
Neurorehabilitation and Neuropsychological Services, Massapequa Park, NY, Neuropsychometrix, Los Osos, CA firstname.lastname@example.org
Category: Research & Clinical Application
Introduction. Autism occurs in approximately 60 per 10,000 (1
in 166) children (Medical Research Council, 2001). Research has linked
social deficits in Autism to mirror neuron dysfunction (Mu rhythm
activity; Dapretto et al., 2006; Oberman et al., 2005; Williams, Whiten,
Suddendorf, & Perrett, 2001). However, the mechanisms underlying
the Mu rhythm have yet to be studied.
Method. Twenty out
of 50 patients with a diagnosis of ASD were identified as having
significant Mu-like rhythm. Patients received a battery of
neurobehavioral, neuropsychological testing, and QEEG assessment. There
was a median split of Mu level activity for each patient so that
portions of their EEG recordings were divided into high and low Mu level
groupings. Each category was in turn analyzed in terms of absolute,
relative power and connectivity. In ten patients, interhemispheric
bipolar training was utilized. The remaining ten patients underwent
coherence training designed to increase connectivity between regions
C3/C4 and the peripheral frontal cortex.
and between group analyses indicated greater frontal hypoconnectivity (p
< .05) in the high Mu group associated with social and executive
deficits. The power analyses indicated greater alpha (Mu) activity for
the C3 and C4 sensor sites for patients in the high Mu category. Both
groups of patients improved significantly on neurobehavioral and
neuropsychological measures (p < .05). However, only coherence
training reduced Mu activity significantly. Coherence training was
linked to reduced Mu activity which may be associated with improved
Conclusion. The findings
indicate that social deficits and Mu-like Rhythm activity in Autism may
both be associated with frontal hypoconnectivity. Both assessment-guided
neurofeedback and coherence training are associated with improved
symptoms in ASD. Coherence training significantly reduced Mu activity (p
< .05) and resulted in improved social-emotional functioning.