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Women with autistic-spectrum disorder: magnetic resonance imaging study of brain anatomy

  • Michaelc. Craig (a1), Shahid H. Zaman (a1), Eileen M. Daly (a1), William J. Cutter (a1), Dene M. W. Robertson (a1), Brian Hallahan (a1), Fiona Toal (a1), Suzie Reed (a1), Anita Ambikapathy (a1), Mick Brammer (a1), Clodagh M. Murphy (a1) and Declan G. M. Murphy (a1)...

Abstract

Background

Our understanding of anatomical differences in people with autistic-spectrum disorder, is based on mixed-gender or male samples.

Aims

To study regional grey-matter and white-matter differences in the brains of women with autistic-spectrum disorder.

Method

We compared the brain anatomy of 14 adult women with autistic-spectrum disorder with 19 controls using volumetric magnetic resonance imaging and voxel-based morphometry Results Women with autistic-spectrum disorder had a smaller density bilaterally of grey matter in the frontotemporal cortices and limbic system, and of white matter in the temporal lobes (anterior) and pons. In contrast, they had a larger white-matter density bilaterally in regions of the association and projection fibres of the frontal, parietal, posterior temporal and occipital lobes, in the commissural fibres of the corpus callosum (splenium) and cerebellum (anterior lobe). Further, we found a negative relationship between reduced grey-matter density in right limbic regions and social communication ability.

Conclusions

Women with autistic-spectrum disorder have significant differences in brain anatomy from controls, in brain regions previously reported as abnormal in adult men with the disorder. Some anatomical differences may be related to clinical symptoms.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Michael Craig, PO Box 50, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 0364; fax: +44 (0)20 7848 0650; email: m.craig@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Women with autistic-spectrum disorder: magnetic resonance imaging study of brain anatomy

  • Michaelc. Craig (a1), Shahid H. Zaman (a1), Eileen M. Daly (a1), William J. Cutter (a1), Dene M. W. Robertson (a1), Brian Hallahan (a1), Fiona Toal (a1), Suzie Reed (a1), Anita Ambikapathy (a1), Mick Brammer (a1), Clodagh M. Murphy (a1) and Declan G. M. Murphy (a1)...
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