A study published by JAMA Psychiatry, focused on high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It suggests that the male brain anatomy may have increased probability of ASD.
Experts, Christine Ecker, Ph.D., of Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, and coauthors examined the probability of ASD as a function of sex-related variation in brain anatomy. It's because ASD is more common in men than in women.
In these regions, the difference in CT between female individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and female control individuals significantly exceeded the difference between male individuals with ASD and male controls (c) jamanetwork
For the study, researchers gathered 98 right-handed, high-functioning adults with ASD and 98 neurotypical adults, aged 18 to 42 years. To assess ASD probability, experts used brain imaging and statistical analysis.
According to experts, they focused on cortical thickness because that part of the brain can vary between males and females and be altered in people with ASD.
The results showed, characteristically male anatomy of the brain was associated with a higher probability of risk for ASD than characteristically female brain anatomy. Such as, biological females with more typical male brain anatomy were about three times more likely to have ASD than biological females with characteristically female brain anatomy, the authors wrote.
"These findings highlight the need for considering normative sex-related phenotypic diversity when determining an individual’s risk for ASD and provide important novel insights into the neurobiological mechanisms mediating sex differences in ASD prevalence," written on the study.
However, the authors note the limitations of their findings. They said there's a need for future research to examine possible causes. The study findings also must be replicated in other subgroups on the autism spectrum.
“Our study demonstrates that normative sex-related phenotypic diversity in brain structure affects the prevalence of ASD in addition to biological sex alone, with male neuroanatomical characteristics carrying a higher intrinsic risk for ASD than female characteristics,” the article concludes.