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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 25 (2012), Issue 4, Pages 327-339

Sylvian Fissure and Parietal Anatomy in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Tracey A. Knaus,1,2 Helen Tager-Flusberg,4 and Anne L. Foundas1,2,3

1Brain and Behavior Program at Children's Hospital, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA
2Department of Neurology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA
3Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA
4Department of Psychology, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

Received 10 February 2012; Accepted 10 February 2012

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by deficits in social functioning and language and communication, with restricted interests or stereotyped behaviors. Anatomical differences have been found in the parietal cortex in children with ASD, but parietal subregions and associations between Sylvian fissure (SF) and parietal anatomy have not been explored. In this study, SF length and anterior and posterior parietal volumes were measured on MRI in 30 right-handed boys with ASD and 30 right-handed typically developing boys (7–14 years), matched on age and non-verbal IQ. There was leftward SF and anterior parietal asymmetry, and rightward posterior parietal asymmetry, across groups. There were associations between SF and parietal asymmetries, with slight group differences. Typical SF asymmetry was associated with typical anterior and posterior parietal asymmetry, in both groups. In the atypical SF asymmetry group, controls had atypical parietal asymmetry, whereas in ASD there were more equal numbers of individuals with typical as atypical anterior parietal asymmetry. We did not find significant anatomical-behavioral associations. Our findings of more individuals in the ASD group having a dissociation between cortical asymmetries warrants further investigation of these subgroups and emphasizes the importance of investigating anatomical relationships in addition to group differences in individual regions.