Autism affects brain differently in men and women, a new study has found. Scientists from the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge studied brain scans of 120 men and women, with half of the participants suffering from autism.
Autism is more prevalent in boys, so most research on the condition has focused on the male gender.
The new study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine how autism affects the brain of males and females.
The study looked at the difference between the brains of healthy males and those with autism - and then healthy females and those with autism.
They found the brains of females with autism "look" more like - but still not the same as - healthy males, when compared with healthy females, BBC News reported.
However, the same kind of difference was not seen in males with autism - so their brains did not show "extreme" male characteristics.
"What we have known about autism to date is mainly male-biased. This research shows that it is possible that the effect of autism manifests differently according to one's gender," said Dr Meng-Chuan Lai, who worked on the study.
"Therefore we should not blindly assume that everything found for males or from male-predominant mixed samples will apply to females," Lai said.
The study was published in the journal Brain.