People with ASD can have varying levels of impairment across three common areas, which might include deficits in social interactions and reciprocal understanding, repetitive behaviour and narrow interests, and impairment in language and communication.

The study used a novel brain imaging method to identify altered brain connections in people with ASD.

The researchers from King's College London used Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique, to compare networks of white matter in 61 adults with ASD and 61 controls.

The scans showed that men with ASD had differences in brain connections in the frontal lobe, a part of the brain that is crucial to developing language and social interaction skills. Specifically, these men had altered development of white matter connections in the left side of the brain, the arcuate bundle, which is involved in language.

ASD was also associated with underdevelopment of white matter in the left uncinate bundle, which plays a significant role in face recognition and emotional processing. This also correlated with observations of 'inappropriate use of facial expression' in childhood.

The study was published in the journal Brain.

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