Sex differences and Autism: brain function during verbal fluency and mental rotation

Beacher, Felix D. C. C., Radulescu, Eugenia, Minati, Ludovico, Baron-Cohen, Simon, Lombardo, Michael V., Lai, Meng-Chuan, Walker, Anne, Howard, Dawn, Gray, Marcus A., Harrison, Neil A. and Critchley, Hugo D. (2012) Sex differences and Autism: brain function during verbal fluency and mental rotation. PLoS One, 7 6: e38355.1-e38355.11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038355


Author Beacher, Felix D. C. C.
Radulescu, Eugenia
Minati, Ludovico
Baron-Cohen, Simon
Lombardo, Michael V.
Lai, Meng-Chuan
Walker, Anne
Howard, Dawn
Gray, Marcus A.
Harrison, Neil A.
Critchley, Hugo D.
Title Sex differences and Autism: brain function during verbal fluency and mental rotation
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2012-06-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0038355
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 6
Start page e38355.1
End page e38355.11
Total pages 11
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) affect more males than females. This suggests that the neurobiology of autism: 1) may overlap with mechanisms underlying typical sex-differentiation or 2) alternately reflect sex-specificity in how autism is expressed in males and females. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test these alternate hypotheses. Fifteen men and fourteen women with Asperger syndrome (AS), and sixteen typically developing men and sixteen typically developing women underwent fMRI during performance of mental rotation and verbal fluency tasks. All groups performed the tasks equally well. On the verbal fluency task, despite equivalent task-performance, both males and females with AS showed enhanced activation of left occipitoparietal and inferior prefrontal activity compared to controls. During mental rotation, there was a significant diagnosis-by-sex interaction across occipital, temporal, parietal, middle frontal regions, with greater activation in AS males and typical females compared to AS females and typical males. These findings suggest a complex relationship between autism and sex that is differentially expressed in verbal and visuospatial domains.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
Centre for Advanced Imaging Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 29 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 24 Oct 2012, 01:48:37 EST by Sandrine Ducrot on behalf of Centre for Advanced Imaging