Neuroimaging findings in 41 low-functioning children with autism spectrum disorder: A single-center experience

Alessandra Erbetta, Sara Bulgheroni, Valeria Contarino, Luisa Chiapparini, Silvia Esposito, Chiara Vago, Daria Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The data on the rate of brain imaging abnormalities in autistic spectrum disorders are still inconsistent. A recent study on patients with high-functioning autism found that approximately 90% of children had normal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans whereas an unexpected high rate of MRI abnormalities was reported in 77 nonsyndromic autistic children with or without intellectual disability. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of neuroradiologic findings in low-functioning autistic children compared to controls matched for age. Minor brain abnormalities were found in 44% of patients and 22% of controls. Our main result is the high rate of mega cisterna magna in autistic patients. High rate of minor neuroradiologic abnormalities in low-functioning autistic patients could contribute to the research about the various endophenotypes and complete the clinical assessment of children with autistic spectrum disorder and intellectual disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1626-1631
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Child Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Children
  • Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Structural brain abnormalities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Medicine(all)

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