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J Child Neurol. 2001 Jun;16(6):421-4.

Brain volume in autism.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA.


Increased brain size has been observed in individuals with autism with a wide range of cognitive functioning. The purpose of this investigation was to obtain measurements of the brain volume in a sample of nonmentally retarded autistic individuals. Magnetic resonance imaging scans from 16 nonmentally retarded individuals with autism and 19 male volunteer comparison subjects were obtained and the following structures were measured: third, fourth, and lateral ventricles and intracranial and cerebral volumes. Mean cerebral and third ventricle volumes in the autistic subjects were significantly greater than in the controls when adjusted for intracranial volume. No other significant results were found. Our finding of increased brain volume in autism is consistent with previous reports in the literature. Additional longitudinal neuroimaging and, more importantly, neuropathologic studies are warranted to provide a better understanding of the complexities underlying increased brain size in autism.

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