Sex differences take center stage in autism special issue

Autism
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most consistent findings in autism, and perhaps the most perplexing, is that it affects about four boys for every girl.

In the new study, researchers analyzed two large genetic databases of girls with and without autism and found no evidence for such a DNA hotspot.

Researchers used a scanning method called diffusion tensor imaging to compare the corpus callosum in 112 boys and 27 girls with autism, and 53 boys and 29 girls without the disorder, all aged 3 to 5 years.

Compared with the controls, boys and girls with autism show different patterns of fibers projecting to the brain’s frontal lobe.

The researchers saw no difference here between girls with and without autism.

In girls with autism a smaller section of the fiber bundle connects to an adjacent region, the anterior frontal cortex, than in typically developing girls.

It’s unclear how these differences might affect the workings of the brain, but the researchers speculate that they could contribute to the apparent resistance of girls to autism.

Read full article @ SFARI

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