Gender and autism

A study has claimed that autism affects different parts of the brain depending on gender, reports The Metro

“Scientists looked at 120 brains of both sexes, including those without the disability, concluding that not ‘everything found in males with autism applies to females’.imgres-1

“Using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, the research revealed how ‘females with autism show neuroanatomical “masculinisation”,’ said Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, senior author of the paper.

“Shedding light on a previously under-researched area – women with autism – the scientists, from the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, found that the anatomy of the brain of someone with autism varied between men and women. Baron-Cohen said that the ‘masculinisation’ of a female brain with autism may ‘implicate physiological mechanisms that drive sexual dimorphism, such as prenatal sex hormones and sex-linked genetic mechanisms’. While autism affects one per cent of the general population, it is more prevalent in men. Because of this, most studies have concentrated on male-dominant samples leading to a gender bias in the understanding of autism-related neuroscience.

‘”This is one of the largest brain imaging studies of sex/gender differences yet conducted in autism. Females with autism have long been under-recognized and probably misunderstood,’ said Dr Meng-Chuan Lai, the research project leader. ‘The findings suggest that we should not blindly assume that everything found in males with autism applies to females.’ The paper, entitled ‘Biological sex affects the neurobiology of autism’, appears in the journal Brain.”

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