Structural Imaging in Autism

  • Brandon A. Zielinski
  • Molly D. Prigge
  • Jared A. Nielsen
  • Janet E. Lainhart


Advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have enabled an explosive phase of macroscopic structural brain research in autism. This chapter reviews structural MRI findings from investigations of brain volume and cortical thickness from early childhood into adulthood. Global and regional brain differences are described, as well as reported gender effects. In many individuals with autism, early total and regional brain overgrowth is found, followed by “normalization” during childhood and adolescence. Regional cortical decline extends through adolescence and into adulthood in some individuals. At all stages of development, total brain changes and functional differences between individuals are important for the interpretation of structural findings. The improvement of structural MRI techniques and combination of multimodal imaging analysis will elucidate the neurobiological correlates of macroscopic findings in the disorder.


Gray Matter Corpus Callosum Cortical Thickness Asperger Syndrome Hippocampal Volume 
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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandon A. Zielinski
    • 1
  • Molly D. Prigge
    • 2
  • Jared A. Nielsen
    • 2
  • Janet E. Lainhart
    • 3
  1. 1.The University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.The University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Waisman Center for Brain Imaging and BehaviorMadisonUSA

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