Friday, November 04, 2005 - Health - Autism May Be Linked to 'Extreme' Male Brain

Autism May Be Linked to 'Extreme' Male Brain
By Miranda Hitti

An old theory about autism and the brain is getting a fresh look from autism experts in the U.K.

The theory of the “extreme male brain” was first mentioned more than 60 years ago, write Simon Baron-Cohen, PhD, and colleagues in Science.

Now, they’re exploring that theory in light of brain anatomy. Still, no one knows exactly what causes autism and related brain disorders.

Baron-Cohen is a professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge. He also directs the university’s Autism Research Centre.

What Raises a Baby's Risk for Autism?

Extreme Male Brain

The “extreme male brain” is an exaggeration of the typical male brain, which is stronger at analyzing systems than showing empathy, or so the theory goes.

The researchers write that “leaving political correctness aside, there is compelling evidence” of differences in the brains, mental function, and behavior of men and women.

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