Communication in brain shows sex difference in autism

Page 1 of 1 [ 10 posts ] 

SaveFerris
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 3 Sep 2016
Gender: Male
Posts: 14,674
Location: UK

12 Jun 2019, 5:41 am

The cerebellum, which governs movement and language, may work differently in autistic men than in autistic women.

The brains of autistic males seem to be more similar to those of typical females than to those of typical males; likewise, the brains of autistic females resemble those of typical males.

Communication in brain shows sex difference in autism

Quote:
Autistic women show unusually strong connections, and autistic men unusually weak ones, between two specific brain regions, according to a new study1.

The connections stretch from two regions within the cerebellum, which governs movement, emotion and language, to parts of the cerebral cortex. The latter regulates sensory perception and memory, among other functions.

This sex difference in brain wiring could reflect a cause of autism or a response to it; in either case, it may provide insights into the condition’s biology.

“It’s a measure of physiology and function of the brain that we hope gives us a window of what’s going on,” says co-lead researcher Stephen Gotts, staff scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health.

The findings also underscore the importance of the cerebellum in autism, experts say.

Communication between the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex may be particularly relevant to the condition, says Samuel Wang, professor of molecular biology at Princeton University, who was not involved in the study.

“[Neural] projection from neocortex to cerebellum and back is one of the dominant features of brain organization, so it would make sense to look there for clues as to the organization of autism brains,” Wang says.
Gender incoherence:

Gotts and his colleagues scanned the brains of 23 autistic girls and women and 24 female controls at rest. They also scanned 56 boys and men with autism and 65 male controls. The participants were 10 to 62 years old.

The researchers measured ‘functional connectivity,’ the extent to which two brain areas are active at once — suggesting that the regions communicate with each other.

Autistic females and males both show different connectivity patterns than their typical counterparts: The girls and women show stronger connections between the cerebellum and the cortex than controls do, whereas the boys and men show weaker connections. The researchers reported these results in April in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience.

The cause of this sex difference is as yet unclear.

“It’s really hard to tell whether the sex-differential effect they observed is rooted in biology or if it’s some adaptive response from some of [the adult] autistic females,” says Meng-Chuan Lai, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto in Canada. “This causality cannot be teased apart, and especially in this sample, because it’s a very wide age range.”

The brains of autistic males seem to be more similar to those of typical females than to those of typical males; likewise, the brains of autistic females resemble those of typical males. These findings are consistent with the ‘gender incoherence’ theory, in which men with autism show female traits and vice versa.

“I would have not bet on this theory, but it’s interesting the data are telling us that there is something real about it,” says Adriana DiMartino, research director of the Autism Center at the Child Mind Institute in New York City, who was not involved in the study.

The results are inconsistent with the extreme male brain theory, which posits that all autistic individuals have brains like those of typical men, Gotts says. His team plans to see whether the findings hold up even when the participants are engaged in a task.


_________________
R Tape loading error, 0:1

Hypocrisy is the greatest luxury. Raise the double standard


Magneto
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Jun 2009
Age: 25
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,083

12 Jun 2019, 6:47 am

I am not surprised.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Gender Defiant Disorder

I would have thought the extreme male brain hypothesis was dead and buried by now.


_________________
...and the state must be destroyed.

http://needsmoremarshmallows.blogspot.co.uk/


languagehopper
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 15 Jun 2019
Gender: Female
Posts: 69
Location: UK

15 Jun 2019, 2:33 am

This makes complete sense to me. In my experience men with autism are far too rigid whereas I often feel that I am far too flexible. I can get my head around anything whereas autistic men refuse to engage with differing view points. I often end up accidentally playing devils advocate because I understand the other point of view even when I don't agree with it. This leaves me floundering in a sea of uncertainty, with too many variables to cope with. Internal sensory overload on top of the external barage.


_________________
Maybe if I learn enough languages I will understand humans one day.


Banjo54
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 13 Jun 2019
Age: 17
Gender: Male
Posts: 34
Location: United States

17 Jun 2019, 3:15 pm

This explains quite a lot about myself.
I'm a guy, but I'm not very masculine (nor do I care to be.)



IsabellaLinton
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Nov 2017
Gender: Female
Posts: 26,056

17 Jun 2019, 3:47 pm

My stroke was where the hemispheres of my cerebellum meet. I noticed a huge loss of emotional acuity and other subtle changes that aren't stereotypically associated with the cerebellum. I did a lot of research at the time and found there is a wealth of medical research similar to what you've posted. I had to focus very heavily on my pre-stroke developmental history during my ASD assessment, to identify that I was born with ASD and it wasn't "caused" (mimicked) by the stroke itself. I guess I have a double whammy.



PoseyBuster88
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

Joined: 17 Mar 2019
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 159

17 Jun 2019, 4:30 pm

languagehopper wrote:
This makes complete sense to me. In my experience men with autism are far too rigid whereas I often feel that I am far too flexible. I can get my head around anything whereas autistic men refuse to engage with differing view points. I often end up accidentally playing devils advocate because I understand the other point of view even when I don't agree with it. This leaves me floundering in a sea of uncertainty, with too many variables to cope with. Internal sensory overload on top of the external barage.


This is me as well...I am often explaining how people I don't agree with at all come to the conclusions they do, etc, etc, which leads more emotional people like my partner to think I am "defending bad guys" or "on their (the bad guys) side" ...no, I am just trying to EXPLAIN them to you because you asked "HOW COULD ANYONE THINK ______." And I can usually calmly look into the other viewpoint and learn about it enough to share because that's the logical thing to do...except that it backfires. I should know better by now.

It's exhausting.


_________________
~AQ 32; not formally diagnosed.~


PoseyBuster88
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

Joined: 17 Mar 2019
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 159

17 Jun 2019, 4:32 pm

Do we know what increased/decreased connections between those parts of the brain do? I thought the cerebellum controlled balance and other sports-type stuff...?


_________________
~AQ 32; not formally diagnosed.~


Sweetleaf
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Jan 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 30,370
Location: Somewhere in Colorado

17 Jun 2019, 5:19 pm

PoseyBuster88 wrote:
languagehopper wrote:
This makes complete sense to me. In my experience men with autism are far too rigid whereas I often feel that I am far too flexible. I can get my head around anything whereas autistic men refuse to engage with differing view points. I often end up accidentally playing devils advocate because I understand the other point of view even when I don't agree with it. This leaves me floundering in a sea of uncertainty, with too many variables to cope with. Internal sensory overload on top of the external barage.


This is me as well...I am often explaining how people I don't agree with at all come to the conclusions they do, etc, etc, which leads more emotional people like my partner to think I am "defending bad guys" or "on their (the bad guys) side" ...no, I am just trying to EXPLAIN them to you because you asked "HOW COULD ANYONE THINK ______." And I can usually calmly look into the other viewpoint and learn about it enough to share because that's the logical thing to do...except that it backfires. I should know better by now.

It's exhausting.


Its because what they mean is 'that's horrible/bad isn't it?' and your supposed to agree. They aren't actually asking you to explain and rationalize what you figure was going through a persons head when they did/said/thought something bad :lol:


_________________
It's the end of the world as we know it.....and I feel fine(sarcasm for that last bit).


PoseyBuster88
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

Joined: 17 Mar 2019
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 159

17 Jun 2019, 10:59 pm

[/quote] Its because what they mean is 'that's horrible/bad isn't it?' and your supposed to agree. They aren't actually asking you to explain and rationalize what you figure was going through a persons head when they did/said/thought something bad :lol:[/quote]

See, I wish they would just say that...I have a hard time seeing past the words used to figure out those sorts of things. Thanks for the insight!


_________________
~AQ 32; not formally diagnosed.~


Antrax
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Feb 2019
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,312
Location: Midwest

17 Jun 2019, 10:59 pm

I'm really interested in the neuroscience behind autism, but it seems like a lot is not known.


_________________
"Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is power."