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Autism Affects Males and Females Differently: Research

Researchers from the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge revealed that autism affected the brains of males and females in a different way.

Aug 12, 2013 13:03 IST
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A recent study conducted by researchers from the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge revealed that autism affected the brains of males and females in a different way.

In the study, the researchers studied the brain scans of 120 males as well as females and half of these people were suffering from autism. The differences in their brain scans revealed that further research was required in order to understand how autism affected the females. Research revealed that females suffering from autism could be stigmatised more than the males and also, it was difficult to diagnose autism among females.

The researchers made use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in order to find out how autism affected males as well as females. It is important to note that the brains of males and females are generally different because the tissue volume is more in the males.
 
In the study, the differences between brains of males with and without autism as well as females with and without autism were studied. The research revealed that it was possible that autism effects manifest differently in relation to one’s gender.

Autism affects one percent of the general population, but is found mostly among the males. It is because of this reason that most of the studies associated with autism concentrate on male-dominant samples, which in turn leads to gender bias in understanding of the autism-related neuroscience.

The lead author of the study, Dr Meng-Chuan Lai explained that this study was one of the largest brain imaging studies of sex/gender differences yet conducted in autism. The autism among the females has been under-recognised till now and is also misunderstood. The findings of the study indicated towards the fact that one should not assume that everything associated with male-autism is also true for the female-autism.

The research paper of the study was entitled Biological sex affects the neurobiology of autism. This paper was published in the journal called Brain.

What is Autism?

• Autism is also called autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
• It is the brain-related biological difference which impairs social skills as well as communication among the humans.
• The signs of autism include aloofness of an individual, absence of the eye contact, avoiding physical contact with the family also and lack of interest in activities.

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