Brain Differences Observed in Young Men With Autism

November 30, 2012

Young men with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have differences in brain surface anatomy and increased brain immune activation, according to two studies published online Nov. 26 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Christine Ecker, Ph.D., from King's College London, and colleagues used quantitative magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain cortical volume (and its components, surface area, and cortical thickness) in 84 young men with ASD and 84 age- and intelligence-matched control men. The researchers found that patients with ASD had significantly higher cortical thickness within frontal lobe regions and reduced surface area in the orbitofrontal cortex and posterior cingulum, which together translated into differences in cortical volume.