Previous neurophysiological and neuroanatomic studies suggest brainstem dysfunction in infantile autism. Therefore, we investigated the brainstem structure of autistic patients by planimetric analysis of midsagittal magnetic resonance imaging scans. We found the entire brainstem and one component-the pons-to be statistically significantly smaller in the autistic group when compared with medical controls. We also noted no correlation between brainstem size and age in the autistic group-a correlation that was found in the control group. These data present morphological evidence of brainstem involvement in the infantile autism syndrome. © 1988.
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