MRI or not to MRI! Should brain MRI be a routine investigation in children with autistic spectrum disorders?



Zeglam AM, Al-Ogab MF, Al-Shaftery T.


Acta Neurol Belg. 2015 Sep;115(3):351-4. doi: 10.1007/s13760-014-0384-x. Epub 2014 Oct 26.


To evaluate the routine usage of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of brain and estimate the prevalence of brain abnormalities in children presenting to the Neurodevelopment Clinic of Al-Khadra Hospital (NDC-KH), Tripoli, Libya with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). The records of all children with ASD presented to NDC-KH over 4-year period (from January 2009 to December 2012) were reviewed. All MRIs were acquired with a 1.5-T Philips (3-D T1, T2, FLAIR coronal and axial sequences). MRIs were reported to be normal, abnormal or no significant abnormalities by a consultant neuroradiologist. One thousand and seventy-five children were included in the study. Seven hundred and eighty-two children (72.7 %) had an MRI brain of whom 555 (71 %) were boys. 26 children (24 males and 2 females) (3.3 %) demonstrated MRI abnormalities (8 leukodystrophic changes, 4 periventricular leukomalacia, 3 brain atrophy, 2 tuberous sclerosis, 2 vascular changes, 1 pineoblastoma, 1 cerebellar angioma, 1 cerebellar hypoplasia, 3 agenesis of corpus callosum, 1 neuro-epithelial cyst). An unexpectedly high rate of MRI abnormalities was found in the first large series of clinical MRI investigations in children with autism. These results could contribute to further research into the pathogenesis of autistic spectrum disorder.

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Link/DOI: 10.1007/s13760-014-0384-x