01-04-2012 | Letter to the editor
Substantial Problems with Measuring Brain Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Daniel A. Rossignol, Richard E. Frye
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
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We read with interest the recent study by Corrigan et al. (Corrigan et al.
). The authors demonstrated that the prevalence of a lactate peak in the brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) measurements was no different between children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing control subjects. Since a lactate peak is a marker of mitochondrial dysfunction, the authors suggest that their study finds no evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction in children with ASD and suggest that this finding supports the idea that there is no association between mitochondrial dysfunction and ASD. While their findings are interesting and certainly add to the understanding of the complex biochemical abnormalities associated with ASD, we believe that the findings from Corrigan et al. (Corrigan et al.
) neither support nor refute an association between mitochondrial dysfunction and ASD for several reasons which we will outline below. We are particularly concerned that the results of this study will result in parents being told that mitochondrial disease has been ruled out (“No Evidence for Brain Mitochondrial Dysfunction”) based on a test that has very poor sensitivity. Furthermore, we are concerned that this study will discourage other researchers from investigating a possible association between ASD and mitochondrial dysfunction. …