Autism Is Sexist? New Clues Found On Why Male Brains Are Linked To Higher Autism Risk

A recent study shows structural differences in the brain is to blame why autism might depend on gender. The reason why autism is more common in males is because of their brain structure. Women with the disorder are said to have a brain anatomy that's normally seen in men.

Cortical Thickness Is Significantly Altered In People With Autism

Lead author Dr. Christine Ecker of the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and her colleagues found that having a brain with features typically found in male brains is linked to the higher possibility of having autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a term used to describe a range of complex brain development disorders that may result in significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.

According to CNN, Ecker and her team examined whether brain anatomy differences could lead to a higher probability of autism in males, and they looked specifically at the cortical thickness or the depth of gray matter across the surface of the cortex. Previous studies have shown that females tend to have a thicker cortex than males in various regions of the brain, and the thickness is significantly altered in people with autism.

The Underlying Cause Of Gender Difference Should Be Examined

WebMD said that the researchers found that men with autism had structures of the brain that were similar to those of men without the disorder. Also, that the brains of women with autism seem to be more structurally similar to men than to other women.

The authors of the study emphasize that the results of this research serve more as proof of principle that more work is needed to be done to confirm their findings, and that the underlying causes of gender difference in autism should be examined. "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," they concluded.

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