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Outcome classification of preschool children with autism spectrum disorders using MRI brain measures.

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that a combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain measures obtained during early childhood distinguish children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) from typically developing children and is associated with functional outcome. METHOD: Quantitative MRI technology was used to measure gray and white matter volumes (cerebrum and cerebellum), total brain volume, and the area of the cerebellar vermis in 52 boys with a provisional diagnosis of autism (aged 1.9-5.2 years) and 15 typically developing young children (aged 1.7-5.2 years). Diagnostic confirmation and cognitive outcome data were obtained after the children reached 5 years of age. RESULTS: A discriminant function analysis of the MRI brain measures correctly classified 95.8% of the ASD cases and 92.3% of the control cases. This set of variables also correctly classified 85% of the ASD cases as lower functioning and 68% of the ASD cases as higher functioning. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that variability in cerebellar and cerebral size is correlated with diagnostic and functional outcome in very young children with ASD.

Pubmed ID: 15076269


  • Akshoomoff N
  • Lord C
  • Lincoln AJ
  • Courchesne RY
  • Carper RA
  • Townsend J
  • Courchesne E


Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Publication Data

March 12, 2004

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS-19855

Mesh Terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Autistic Disorder
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebellum
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Telencephalon