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Neuroradiology. 2010 Jan;52(1):3-14. doi: 10.1007/s00234-009-0583-y. Epub 2009 Dec 24.

Neuroimaging of autism.

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Department of Pediatrics, University Hospitals of the Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


Neuroimaging studies done by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have provided important insights into the neurobiological basis for autism. The aim of this article is to review the current state of knowledge regarding brain abnormalities in autism. Results of structural MRI studies dealing with total brain volume, the volume of the cerebellum, caudate nucleus, thalamus, amygdala and the area of the corpus callosum are summarised. In the past 5 years also new MRI applications as functional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging brought considerable new insights in the pathophysiological mechanisms of autism. Dysfunctional activation in key areas of verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction, and executive functions are revised. Finally, we also discuss white matter alterations in important communication pathways in the brain of autistic patients.

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