Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29146048
Biol. Psychiatry 2017 Oct;
BACKGROUND: The neuroanatomical bases of autism spectrum disorder remain largely unknown. Among the most widely discussed candidate endophenotypes, differences in cerebellar volume have been often reported as statistically significant.
METHODS: We aimed at objectifying this possible alteration by performing a systematic meta-analysis of the literature and an analysis of the ABIDE (Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange) cohort. Our meta-analysis sought to determine a combined effect size of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis on different measures of the cerebellar anatomy as well as the effect of possible factors of variability across studies. We then analyzed the cerebellar volume of 328 patients and 353 control subjects from the ABIDE project.
RESULTS: The meta-analysis of the literature suggested a weak but significant association between autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and increased cerebellar volume (p = .049, uncorrected), but the analysis of ABIDE did not show any relationship. The studies meta-analyzed were generally underpowered; however, the number of statistically significant findings was larger than expected.
CONCLUSIONS: Although we could not provide a conclusive explanation for this excess of significant findings, our analyses would suggest publication bias as a possible reason. Finally, age, sex, and IQ were important sources of cerebellar volume variability, although independent of autism diagnosis.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29146048