Magnetic resonance imaging in autism: measurement of the cerebellum, pons, and fourth ventricle

Joseph Piven, Eileen Nehme, Jon Simon, Patrick Barta, Godfrey Pearlson, Susan E. Folstein

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research has suggested that autistic individuals have hypoplasia of cerebellar lobules VI and VII, the pons, and enlargement of the fourth ventricle. Using MRI we measured the mid-sagittal area of these structures in 15 high-functioning autistic males; 15 age- and IQ-comparable male volunteers (control group I); and 15 male volunteers comparable to cases on age and parental socioeconomic status (SES) (control group II). Using ratio measures, cerebellar lobules VI-VII were found to be smaller in autistic subjects than controls in group II but not those in group I. No differences were found after multivariate analysis adjusting for mid-sagittal brain area (MSBA), age, and IQ. The size of the pons and fourth ventricle did not differ between cases and controls, although autistic subjects were noted to have a significantly larger MSBA than subjects in either control group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-504
Number of pages14
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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