Insular function in autism: Update and future directions in neuroimaging and interventions

Jason S. Nomi, Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, Lucina Q Uddin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The insular cortex, hidden within the lateral sulcus of the human brain, participates in a range of cognitive, affective, and sensory functions. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a neurodevelopmental condition affecting all of these functional domains, has increasingly been linked with atypical activation and connectivity of the insular cortices. Here we review the latest research linking atypical insular function to a range of behaviors characteristic of ASD, with an emphasis on neuroimaging findings in the domains of social cognition and executive function. We summarize some of the recent work linking the insula to interventions in autism, including oxytocin-based pharmacological treatments and music therapy. We suggest that future directions likely to yield significant insights into insular pathology in ASD include the analysis of the dynamics of this brain region. We also conclude that more basic research is necessary on the use of oxytocin pharmacotherapy, and larger studies addressing participant heterogeneity are needed on the use of music therapy in ASD. Long-term studies are needed to ascertain sustained effects of these interventions.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages412-426
Number of pages15
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Volume89
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 8 2019

Fingerprint

Music Therapy
Oxytocin
Autistic Disorder
Neuroimaging
Cerebral Cortex
Cognition
Executive Function
Brain
Research
Pharmacology
Pathology
Drug Therapy
Direction compound
Autism Spectrum Disorder

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Functional connectivity
  • Insula
  • Music therapy
  • Oxytocin
  • Structural connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Insular function in autism : Update and future directions in neuroimaging and interventions. / Nomi, Jason S.; Molnar-Szakacs, Istvan; Uddin, Lucina Q.

In: Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 89, 08.03.2019, p. 412-426.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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