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Brain Dev. 1987;9(6):581-7.

Brain glucose metabolism in children with the autistic syndrome: positron tomography analysis.

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Positron Tomography Laboratory, University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


Brain glucose metabolism was measured in 18 autistic children, using high resolution positron emission tomography. Global brain glucose utilization in the autistic population was slightly more elevated than in young adult volunteers but did not differ significantly from that of control children. Regional metabolic maps were also normal, although there was evidence for heterogeneities, particularly at the level of prefrontal and parieto-temporo-occipital association areas: 6 children showed a relative hyperfrontality whilst hypofrontality was found in 2 cases; these heterogeneities were not correlated with clinical symptoms. These data suggest that both the rate and the regional distribution of brain glucose metabolism are normal in autistic children. Variations in terms of relative metabolic rates in association cortex remains to be investigated further.

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