The Relationship between Retained Primitive Reflexes and Hemispheric Connectivity in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Robert Melillo, Gerry Leisman, Calixto Machado, Yanin Machado-Ferrer, Mauricio Chinchilla-Acosta, Ty Melillo, Eli Carmeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be identified by a general tendency toward a reduction in the expression of low-band, widely dispersed integrative activities, which is made up for by an increase in localized, high-frequency, regionally dispersed activity. The study assessed ASD children and adults all possessing retained primitive reflexes (RPRs) compared with a control group that did not attempt to reduce or remove those RPRs and then examined the effects on qEEG and brain network connectivity. Methods: Analysis of qEEG spectral and functional connectivity was performed, to identify associations with the presence or absence of retained primitive reflexes (RPRs), before and after an intervention based on TENS unilateral stimulation. Results: The results point to abnormal lateralization in ASD, including long-range underconnectivity, a greater left-over-right qEEG functional connectivity ratio, and short-range overconnectivity in ASD. Conclusions: Clinical improvement and the absence of RPRs may be linked to variations in qEEG frequency bands and more optimized brain networks, resulting in more developmentally appropriate long-range connectivity links, primarily in the right hemisphere.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1147
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • autism spectrum disorders
  • bottom-up processing
  • maturational delay
  • neuronal synchrony
  • retained primitive reflexes
  • top-down processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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