University of California San Diego La Jolla United States
Resting state fMRI and analyses of intrinsic functional networks are powerful tools for characterizing functional networks in pediatric and clinical populations. In control infants and toddlers who are scanned during natural sleep, fMRI has been used to characterize the typical development of intrinsic functional networks during resting states. Autism spectrum disorder ASD begins prenatal, and early maldevelopment is present in many sites and systems that mediate intrinsic network function. These networks have been little studied in ASD infants and toddlers. Our project appears to be among the first to do so. In this project N96 ASD and typical infants and toddlers were studied analyses of intrinsic networks provided evidence of significant and widespread disruptions in functional networks in ASD that are crucial for social, communication, cognitive, attention and salience functions. These are among the first-ever studies of the intrinsic connectivity patterns in infants and toddlers with ASD at the age of first clinical identification. The knowledge provided by our studies in combination with those of Co-PIs Dr. Fox and Dr. Glahn could open new avenues of basic genomic and animal model research that elucidate the biological bases of aberrant intrinsic network development in ASD and may identify early diagnostic, prognostic and treatment-responsiveness biomarkers of ASD.