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autismBrain Imaging Differences Evident at 6 Months in High-Risk Infants Who Later Develop Autism A new study led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found significant differences in brain development starting at age 6 months in high-risk infants who later develop autism, compared to high-risk infants who did not develop autism.

The study was published online on Feb. 17 at AJP in Advance, a section of the website of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Its results are the latest from the ongoing Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) Network, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health and headquartered at UNC. Piven received an NIH Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program network award for the IBIS Network in 2007. ACE networks consist of researchers at many facilities in locations throughout the country, all of whom work together on a single research question.

This study examined 15 separate fiber tracts, and found significant differences in FA trajectories in 12 of the 15 tracts between infants who did develop autism versus infants who did not. Infants who later developed autism had elevated FA at six months but then experienced slower change over time. By 24 months of age, infants with autism had lower FA values than infants without autism.

Eighteen researchers are listed as co-authors of the study. Study co-authors with UNC affiliations include Wolff, Piven, Hongbin Gu,PhD; Guido Gerig, PhD; Jed T. Elison, PhD; Martin Styner, PhD; Geraldine Dawson, PhD and Heather C. Hazlett, PhD. Other institutions and organizations that took part in the study include the University of Utah, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Washington, McGill University, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Alberta.

In addition to funding from the NIH, the IBIS Network receives support from Autism Speaks and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.


Credit: ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2012)
 
Original Science Daily Article.


See AJP Journal Article:
J.J. Wolff, H. Gu, G. Gerig, J.T. Elison, M. Styner, S. Gouttard, K.N. Botteron, S.R. Dager, G. Dawson, A.M. Estes, A. Evans, H.C. Hazlett, P. Kostopoulos, R.C. McKinstry, S.J. Paterson, R.T. Schultz, L. Zwaigenbaum, J. Piven. In “Differences in White Matter Fiber Tract Development Present from 6 to 24 Months in Infants with Autism,” In American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP), pp. 1--12. 2012.
DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.11091447

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