Study unveils distinct brain differences among men and women diagnosed with autism

A team of experts from the Child Mind Institute has uncovered potentially distinct differences in the brains of men and women diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

The findings appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Autism.

According to researchers, the study was comprised of thousands of MRI data from the Autism Brain Imaging Exchange repository, with the objective of examining brain networking differences among males and females with autism.

The study led to the conclusion that many males are diagnosed with autism, more so than females. Given this, biological sex facts might be a contributing factor in the onset of autism.

“We addressed this gap by using a large sample of males and females with autism and neurotypical (NT) control individuals,” the journal report states. “Discovery analyses examined main effects of diagnosis, sex and their interaction across five resting-state fMRI (R-fMRI) metrics.”

From the findings: “Atypical cross-hemispheric interactions are neurobiologically relevant to autism. They likely result from the combination of sex-dependent and sex-independent factors with a differential effect across functional cortical networks. Systematic assessments of the factors contributing to replicability are needed and necessitate coordinated large-scale data collection across studies.”

The study was published online on March 1st, 2021.

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