Piven, Joseph MD
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
This ACE Network proposal “A Longitudinal MRI Study of Infants at Risk for Autism” aims to identify the early brain and behavior trajectories of infants at high familial risk for autism, who go on to meet criteria for autism. This study involves data collection across 4 clinical sites around the U.S. and proposes a prospective, longitudinal study of 600 high and 210 low risk (for autism) infants at multiple points between 3 and 60 months of age. Clarification of early brain and behavior trajectories prior to the age when autism is traditionally diagnosed provides a unique opportunity to understand the neurobiological basis of autism and to identify early risk markers during a period of post-natal brain plasticity when children may benefit maximally from early detection and intervention.