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Novel imaging technique shows gray matter increase in brains of autistic children
Date:11/28/2007

l gray matter volume changes. By adding ABM to DTI, the researchers can detect subtle regional or localized changes in the gray matter.

In addition to the gray matter abnormalities linked to the mirror neuron system, the results of this study revealed that the amount of gray matter in the left parietal area correlated with higher IQs in the control group, but not in the autistic children.

In the normal brain, larger amounts of gray matter are associated with higher IQs, Dr. Ashtari said. But in the autistic brain, increased gray matter does not correspond to IQ, because this gray matter is not functioning properly.

The autistic children also evidenced a significant decrease of gray matter in the right amygdala region that correlated with severity of social impairment. Children with lower gray matter volumes in this area of the brain had lower scores on reciprocity and social interaction measures.

Impairments in these areas are the hallmark of autism spectrum disorders, and this finding may lead to greater understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of the core features of autism, said study co-author Joel Bregman, M.D., medical director of the Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States and typically appears during the first three years of life. Children with autism are hindered in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 1.5 million Americans have autism.


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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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