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Understanding Neurodevelopment in Autism


Child Development & Autism

What is the purpose of this trial?

The Program Project Grant (PPG) consists of five inter-related projects. The overarching aim of the PPG is to understand the changes in biological, genetic and functional organization of the brain associated with ASD, and when such changes occur in development (from the fetal and neonatal period through infancy, to 12 years old). The PPG represents a highly innovative and multidisciplinary effort directed toward advancing understanding of early neurodevelopment of children affected by autism using state-of-the-art methodological and analytic approaches. Our scientific premise is that ASD is associated with altered wiring in the brain and that functional connectivity as measured by fMRI can reveal the specific alterations that vary as a function of symptom severity in ASD. Recent discoveries of behavioral, neurophysiological, and neuroimaging and neural markers of ASD in infancy motivate our search for neural signatures of ASD during prenatal and neonatal periods. We plan to investigate two cohorts of younger siblings of children with ASD who, due to familial factors, are at high risk (HR) for developing the disorder: a prospective cohort recruited pre- and perinatally and followed through 24 months, and a cohort of HR siblings who were well-characterized at 24 months through our past studies and will reach the age of 12 years during the life of this grant. These cohorts enable our search for neural signatures of ASD during fetal, neonatal, and school-age periods, as well as to examine the connectome across the spectrum of risk for ASD both in males and females.

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    National Institutes of Health (NIH)
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