3D cerebral cortical morphometry in autism: increased folding in children and adolescents in frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes

Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 2008;11(Pt 1):559-67. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-85988-8_67.


This paper presents a systematic evaluation of cortical folding, or complexity, in autism. It introduces two novel measures to analyze folding in a specific region of interest, which, unlike traditional measures, produce an intuitive easily-interpretable description of folding and inform the nature of folding change by incorporating local surface-patch orientation. This study reports new findings of increased cortical folding in autistics in the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes, as compared to controls. These differences are stronger in children than adolescents. The paper validates part of the findings using the new measures based on comparisons with traditional measures. Unlike studies in the literature, this paper reports new findings, via a fully 3D folding analysis on all brain lobes, based on the consensus of virtually all 6 folding measures used (2 new, 4 traditional) via rigorous statistical permutation testing. In these ways, this paper not only strengthens some previous clinical findings, but also extends the state of the art in autism research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Child
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Statistical
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity