Autism is less common in girls than in boys because their brains are more "resilient", research suggests | Ambitious about Autism
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Autism is less common in girls than in boys because their brains are more "resilient", research suggests

MikeS's picture

Autism is less common in girls than in boys because their brains are more "resilient", research suggests

Fri 28 Feb 2014 11:18am

This research study is being shared a lot on social media right now so I thought I'd post it here:

What do you make of this?

Mike - Former Community Manager

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  • JC3662's picture

    Its interesting but I don't think its conclusive. As far as I can tell the results of the study would also be consistent with a gender bias in diagnosis i.e. female presentation of ASD is less likely to be picked up on because our diagnostic process is geared towards spotting male presentations of ASD.

    The fact that more genetic defected were found in women diagnosed with ASD's could also be explained by only the more severe cases being picked up in women with less severe cases never being diagnosed. 

    What would be interesting is to conduct a very large scale study of kids and mass test them for ASD regardless of whether they have been diagnosed or not. If the test could be designed that was gender neutrual this would pick up the undiagnosed kids (of which I suspect there will me many more undiagnosed girls than boys) and then to compare the genetics to see if there is any difference between boys and girls.

    Its very interesting research and their hypothesis may well be true but I think much more work needs to be done before we can say that "womens brains are more resiliant to ASD's". A year or so ago I would have said there was a genuinly large difference in the number of males with an ASD comparred to women but from speaking to people here and my own research my hunch now is that the different levels of ASD between men and women is probably not that much and the different levels of diagnosis are more to do with failings and bias in the diagnostic process rather than any big actual difference.
  • Whirling Mind's picture
  • Whirling Mind's picture

    On the NAS website Dr Lorna Wing and Dr Judith Gould said that their clinic findings were that the ratio was dropping and was more like 1.5:1 boys to girls.  My personal view is that it is equally distributed, they just haven't woken up to it yet.

  • Whirling Mind's picture

    I mean, if that article was true, then my family must be exceptionally rare, because there are 3 of us with ASC.  And we're not.  I have a friend (female) with a daughter (and son) on the spectrum and when I was in the home-educating community, a friend and her 2 daughters all had clear signs of Asperger's (as they say, it takes on to know one) although undiagnosed.  They are out there in their thousands, just not on the statistics because they still haven't amended the diagnostic criteria, which were based solely on male presentation and clinicians haven't got a clue how females present, largely.  I will get off my soap box now.

  • Whirling Mind's picture
  • michaelz's picture

    Why Autism Affects Boys More than GirlsAlice Park Feb 08, 2017 While the definition of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)has changed over the years, one thing has remained relatively constant: the fact that rates of ASD are anywhere from two to five times higher among boys than they are among girls.

    Until recently, brain experts haven’t focused much on the possible gender-based reasons for this difference. Now, in a report published in JAMA Psychiatry, scientists point to one possible explanation for the discrepancy.

    Brain scientists know that some structures in the brain differ between the sexes.

    One is the thickness of the cortex, the brain’s outer layer that is embedded with nerves involved in memory, thinking, language and other higher cognitive functions.

    Men tend to have thinner cortex measurements, while women tend to have thicker ones, and this difference is a pretty reliable way to distinguish males from females.

    Taking advantage of this knowledge, Christine Ecker, a professor of neuroscience and brain imaging at Goethe University in Germany, and her colleagues compared the cortical thickness on brain MRIs among 98 adults with ASD and 98 people without the disorder...

    previously -

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