, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 1079-1086
Date: 21 Feb 2009

Brief Report: Biochemical Correlates of Clinical Impairment in High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Disorder

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Abstract

Amygdala dysfunction has been proposed as a critical contributor to social impairment in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The current study investigated biochemical abnormalities in the amygdala in 20 high functioning adults with autistic disorder or Asperger’s disorder and 19 typically developing adults matched on age and IQ. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to measure N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), creatine/phosphocreatine (Cre), choline/choline containing compounds (Cho), and Myoinositol (mI) in the right and left amygdala. There were no significant between-group differences in any of the metabolites. However, NAA and Cre levels were significantly correlated to clinical ratings on the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised. This suggests that altered metabolite levels in the amygdala may be associated with a more severe early developmental course in ASD.