Basal ganglia morphometry and repetitive behavior in young children with autism spectrum disorder.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We investigated repetitive and stereotyped behavior (RSB) and its relationship to morphometric measures of the basal ganglia and thalami in 3- to 4-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; n = 77) and developmental delay without autism (DD; n = 34). Children were assessed through clinical evaluation and parent report using RSB-specific scales extracted from the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), the Autism Diagnostic Interview, and the Aberrant Behavior Checklist. A subset of children with ASD (n = 45), DD (n = 14), and a group of children with typical development (TD; n = 25) were also assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. Children with ASD demonstrated elevated RSB across all measures compared to children with DD. Enlargement of the left and right striatum, more specifically the left and right putamen, and left caudate, was observed in the ASD compared to the TD group. However, nuclei were not significantly enlarged after controlling for cerebral volume. The DD group, in comparison to the ASD group, demonstrated smaller thalami and basal ganglia regions even when scaled for cerebral volume, with the exception of the left striatum, left putamen, and right putamen. Elevated RSB, as measured by the ADOS, was associated with decreased volumes in several brain regions: left thalamus, right globus pallidus, left and right putamen, right striatum and a trend for left globus pallidus and left striatum within the ASD group. These results confirm earlier reports that RSB is common early in the clinical course of ASD and, furthermore, demonstrate that such behaviors may be associated with decreased volumes of the basal ganglia and thalamus.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Estes, A; Shaw, DWW; Sparks, BF; Friedman, S; Giedd, JN; Dawson, G; Bryan, M; Dager, SR

Published Date

  • June 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 212 - 220

PubMed ID

  • 21480545

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3110551

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-3806

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/aur.193


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States