Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are characterized by atypical sensory functioning in the visual, tactile, and auditory systems. Although less explored, olfactory changes have been reported in ASD patients. To explore these changes on a neural level, 18 adults with ASD and 18 healthy neurotypical controls were examined in a 2-phase study. Participants were first tested for odor threshold and odor identification. Then, (i) structural magnetic resonance (MR) images of the olfactory bulb were acquired, and (ii) a functional MR imaging olfaction study was conducted. ASD patients exhibited decreased function for odor thresholds and odor identification; this was accompanied by a relatively decreased activation in the piriform cortex. In conclusion, these findings suggest, that the known alterations in olfaction in ASD are rooted in the primary olfactory cortex.

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