Volumetric and voxel-based morphometry findings in autism subjects with and without macrocephaly

Dev Neuropsychol. 2010;35(3):278-95. doi: 10.1080/87565641003696817.


This study sought to replicate Herbert et al. (2003a), which found increased overall white matter (WM) volume in subjects with autism, even after controlling for head size differences. To avoid the possibility that greater WM volume in autism is merely an epiphenomena of macrocephaly overrepresentation associated with the disorder, the current study included control subjects with benign macrocephaly. The control group also included subjects with a reading disability to insure cognitive heterogeneity. WM volume in autism was significantly larger, even when controlling for brain volume, rate of macrocephaly, and other demographic variables. Autism and controls differed little on whole-brain WM voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analyses suggesting that the overall increase in WM volume was non-localized. Autism subjects exhibited a differential pattern of IQ relationships with brain volumetry findings from controls. Current theories of brain overgrowth and their importance in the development of autism are discussed in the context of these findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autistic Disorder / complications*
  • Body Weights and Measures / methods
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / complications*
  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities / complications*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Young Adult