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Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2013;7(2):221-234. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

Corpus Callosum Area in Children and Adults with Autism.

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Interdepartmental Program in Neuroscience, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA ; Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


Despite repeated findings of abnormal corpus callosum structure in autism, the developmental trajectories of corpus callosum growth in the disorder have not yet been reported. In this study, we examined corpus callosum size from a developmental perspective across a 30-year age range in a large cross-sectional sample of individuals with autism compared to a typically developing sample. Midsagittal corpus callosum area and the 7 Witelson subregions were examined in 68 males with autism (mean age 14.1 years; range 3-36 years) and 47 males with typical development (mean age 15.3 years; range 4-29 years). Controlling for total brain volume, increased variability in total corpus callosum area was found in autism. In autism, increased midsagittal areas were associated with reduced severity of autism behaviors, higher intelligence, and faster speed of processing (p=0.003, p=0.011, p=0.013, respectively). A trend toward group differences in isthmus development was found (p=0.029, uncorrected). These results suggest that individuals with autism benefit functionally from increased corpus callosum area. Our cross-sectional examination also shows potential maturational abnormalities in autism, a finding that should be examined further with longitudinal datasets.

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