Brain structure in autism: a voxel-based morphometry analysis of the Autism Brain Imaging Database Exchange (ABIDE).

Riddle K, Cascio CJ, Woodward ND
Brain Imaging Behav. 2017 11 (2): 541-551

PMID: 26941174 · PMCID: PMC5010794 · DOI:10.1007/s11682-016-9534-5

Increased brain volume is a consistent finding in young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); however, the regional specificity and developmental course of abnormal brain structure are less clear. Small sample sizes, particularly among voxel-based morphometry (VBM) investigations, likely contribute to this difficulty. Recently established large-scale neuroimaging data repositories have helped clarify the neuroanatomy of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and may prove useful in ASD. Structural brain images from the Autism Brain Imaging Database Exchange (ABIDE), which contains over 1100 participants, were analyzing using DARTEL VBM to investigate total brain and tissue volumes, and regional brain structure abnormalities in ASD. Two, overlapping cohorts were analyzed; an 'All Subjects' cohort (n = 833) that included all individuals with usable MRI data, and a 'Matched Samples' cohort (n = 600) comprised of ASD and TD individuals matched, within each site, on age and sex. Total brain and grey matter volumes were enlarged by approximately 1-2 % in ASD; however, the effect reached statistical significance in only the All Subjects cohort. Within the All Subjects cohort, VBM analysis revealed enlargement of the left anterior superior temporal gyrus in ASD. No significant regional changes were detected in the Matched Samples cohort. There was a non-significant reduction in the correlation between IQ and TBV in ASD compared to TD. Brain structure abnormalities in ASD individuals age 6 and older consists of a subtle increase in total brain volume due to enlargement of grey matter with little evidence of regionally specific effects.

MeSH Terms (18)

Adolescent Aging Autistic Disorder Brain Child Child, Preschool Databases, Factual Female Gray Matter Humans Imaging, Three-Dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Male Nerve Net Organ Size Reproducibility of Results Sensitivity and Specificity Young Adult

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