Behaviors Differs in Boys and Girls With Autism

the Psychiatry Advisor take:

Differences in brain structure between boys and girls with autism results in differences in behavior between the two sexes with the condition.

Kaustubh Supekar, PhD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, and colleagues examined symptoms of autism in 128 girls and 614 boys that are part of the National Database for Autism Research. They then examined data from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange that included structural MRI brain scans of 25 boys with autism, 25 girls with autism, 19 typically developing boys and 19 typically developing girls.

Girls and boys did not differ on social behavior and communication skills, but girls had less-severe repetitive and restricted behaviors, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Autism.

They also found gender differences in the brains of autistic children, specifically in the motor cortex, supplementary motor area and a part of the cerebellum.

Children with autism, however, had a dissimilar set of gender differences in their brains —specifically, in the motor cortex, supplementary motor area and a portion of the cerebellum. many repetitive behaviors, such as hand-flapping, have a motor component. The study demonstrated that patterns of gray matter in these motor regions could accurately distinguish girls from boys with autism.

“The discovery of gender differences in both behavioral and brain measures suggests that clinicians may want to focus diagnosis and treatments for autistic girls differently than boys,” Supekar said in a statement.

Behaviors Differs in Boys and Girls With Autism
Girls tended to have less-severe repetitive and restricted behaviors.

Girls with autism display less repetitive and restricted behavior than boys do, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study also found that brain differences between boys and girls with autism help explain this discrepancy.

The study, which will be published online Sept. 3 in Molecular Autism, gives the best evidence to date that boys and girls exhibit the developmental disorder differently.

Repetitive and restricted behavior is perhaps the most widely recognized of the three core features of autism. It can show up as a child's preoccupation with a narrow interest, inflexibility about routines or repetitive motions such as hand-flapping. The other core features of autism are social and communication deficits.
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