A new study point out that autism behaviors might differ in girls and boys, also their brain structures, as the common traits seen in autism might be more prominent in boys presenting the condition.
Autism is a medical condition affecting, first and foremost, children, which implies deficits in communication and social interactions, the persons displaying this disorder having an expressly limited range of activities, as above mentioned. Their behaviors could be repetitive and stereotyped. Moreover, the disorder also pinpoints abnormal self-absorption and an inability to respond to people or actions.
A postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, lead author of the study, Kaustubh Supekar, reported that autism traits often included restrictive and repetitive behaviors, therefore these were the main factors that would lead a physician to diagnose the child with autism. These particular symptoms may include: an adherence to routines, repetitive motions, and a focus on a specific area of interest.
Moreover, the Dr. Supekar said that girls who seem less prominent in their repetitive or restrictive behaviors might miss being diagnosed with autism, and, instead, they tend to be labeled as suffering from social communication disorder.
On the other hand, he stated that boys who were diagnosed with autism, due to repetitive and restrictive patterns, might have been misclassified as displaying a disorder from the autism spectrum, as these patterns may be observed in other neurodevelopmental medical conditions as well.
The scientific team conducted an experiment involving the comparison of symptoms in 614 boys and 128 girls diagnosed with autism, with their ages ranging from 7 to 13, and an IQ over 70.
The researchers also analyzed a public database of magnetic resonance imaging brain scans involving kids suffering from autism, and in children who didn’t display the condition.
As a result, the findings revealed that both sexes displayed difficulty in social interaction and communication skills, however, girls with autism had decreased symptoms of repetitive behaviors, in comparison to the boys.
Supekar added that
“our findings indicate that the brains of girls with autism are structured differently from those of boys with autism, and that some of these differences are linked to sex differences,”
in different autism instances.
The chief psychiatrist and medical director of Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto, California, Dr. Glen Elliott, finally pointed out that
“it is impossible to know how much these findings might apply to autism spectrum disorders more broadly.”
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