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Structural brain abnormalities have been described in autism but studies are often small and contradictory. We aimed to identify which brain regions can reliably be regarded as different in autism compared to healthy controls.
A systematic search was conducted for magnetic resonance imaging studies of regional brain size in autism. Data were extracted and combined using random effects meta-analysis. The modifying effects of age and IQ were investigated using meta-regression.
The total brain, cerebral hemispheres, cerebellum and caudate nucleus were increased in volume, whereas the corpus callosum area was reduced. There was evidence for a modifying effect of age and IQ on the cerebellar vermal lobules VI–VII and for age on the amygdala.
Autism may result from abnormalities in specific brain regions and a global lack of integration due to brain enlargement. Inconsistencies in the literature partly relate to differences in the age and IQ of study populations. Some regions may show abnormal growth trajectories.
En pacientes con autismo se han descrito anomalías estructurales cerebrales, pero los estudios realizados son de pequeño tamaño y contradictorios. Quisimos identificar qué regiones cerebrales de los pacientes con autismo pueden considerarse diferentes de las de los controles sanos.
Se realizó una búsqueda sistemática de estudios de resonancia magnética del tamaño de diversas regiones cerebrales. Se recogieron datos y se combinaron por medio de un metaanálisis de efectos aleatorios. Se investigaron los efectos sobre la variabilidad de la edad y del CI por medio de meta-regresión.
El cerebro completo, los hemisferios cerebrales, el cerebelo y el núcleo caudado tenían mayor volumen, pero el área del cuerpo calloso estaba reducida. La edad y el CI modificaron los lóbulos del vérmix cerebeloso VI-VII, y la edad, la amígdala.
El autismo podría deberse a anomalías de regiones específicas del cerebro y a una falta de integración global debida al aumento de tamaño del cerebro. Los resultados contradictorios en la literatura se deben en parte a la edad y al CI de las poblaciones del estudio. Algunas regiones muestran alteraciones de las trayectorias de crecimiento.
There is evidence to suggest that among young people with mild intellectual disability there are those whose cognitive difficulties may predict the subsequent manifestation of a schizophrenic phenotype. It is suggested that they may be detectable by simple means.
To gain adequate cooperation from educational services, parents and students so as to recruit a sufficiently large sample to test the above hypothesis, and to examine the hypothesis in the light of the findings.
The sample was screened with appropriate instruments, and groups hypothesised as being likely or not likely to have the phenotype were compared in terms of psychopathology and neuropsychology.
Simple screening methods detect a sample whose psychopathological and neuropsychological profile is consistent with an extended phenotype of schizophrenia.
Difficulties experienced by some young people with mild and borderline intellectual disability are associated with enhanced liability to schizophrenia. Clinical methods can both identify those with this extended phenotype and predict those in whom psychosis will occur.
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