Voxel-based morphometry elucidates structural neuroanatomy of high-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome
Article first published online: 13 FEB 2007
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Volume 46, Issue 11, pages 760–764, November 2004
How to Cite
Kwon, H., Ow, A. W., Pedatella, K. E., Lotspeich, L. J. and Reiss, A. L. (2004), Voxel-based morphometry elucidates structural neuroanatomy of high-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 46: 760–764. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2004.tb00996.x
- Issue published online: 13 FEB 2007
- Article first published online: 13 FEB 2007
- Accepted for publication 6th May 2004.
Efforts to examine the structural neuroanatomy of autism by using traditional methods of imaging analysis have led to variable findings, often based on methodological differences in image acquisition and analysis. A voxel-based computational method of whole-brain anatomy allows examination of small patterns of tissue differences between groups. High-resolution structural magnetic resonance images were acquired for nine males with high-functioning autism (HFA; mean age 14y [SD3y 4mo]), 11 with Asperger syndrome (ASP; mean age 13y 6mo [SD2y 5mo]), and 13 comparison (COM) participants (mean age 13y 7mo [SD3y 1mo]). Using statistical parametric mapping, we examined contrasts of gray matter differences between the groups. Males with HFA and ASP had a pattern of decreased gray matter density in the ventromedial regions of the temporal cortex in comparison with males from an age-matched comparison group. Examining contrasts revealed that the COM group had increased gray matter density compared with the ASP or combined HFA and ASP group in the right inferior temporal gyrus, entorhinal cortex, and rostral fusiform gyrus. The ASP group had less gray matter density in the body of the cingulate gyrus in comparison with either the COM or HFA group. The findings of decreased gray matter density in ventromedial aspects of the temporal cortex in individuals with HFA and ASP lends support to theories suggesting an involvement of these areas in the pathophysiology of autism, particularly in the integration of visual stimuli and affective information.