Author(s): Stanfield AC, McIntosh AM, Spencer MD, Philip R, Gaur S,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract BACKGROUND: 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. METHOD: 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. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSIONS: 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.
This article was published in Eur Psychiatry
and referenced in Autism-Open Access