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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

Using fMRI to understand the Neural Mechanisms of Pivotal Response Treatment

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Voos, Avery

Description

Description

Pivotal response treatment (PRT) is a well-known, motivational treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Much research has shown that the treatment is effective in targeting motivation, which ultimately leads to more widespread positive effects on communication, behavior, and social skills. While behavioral and social-communication measures have traditionally been used as outcome data, this project will improve understanding of how PRT actually changes the brains of children with autism to bring about these behavioral and social improvements. This is relevant to Autism Speaks’ goal of identifying biomarkers and improving treatment for children with ASD. This project will examine the treatment’s effects on brain regions previously found to be involved in social perception, or the initial stages of evaluating the social intentions of others. Four to six-year-old children with ASD will receive 4 months of PRT and will undergo a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan before and after treatment. They will watch videos of moving dots. Some of these dots will look like humans moving and some will look random. The “human” videos were made by putting lights on all the major joints of a human and then videotaping him in the dark so all you can see are the white lights. When typically developing children watch the “human” videos, social parts of the brain are activated. These social parts of the brain are predicted to show more activation after treatment. This will determine if treatment changes the way children with ASD look at “human” versus “random” motion. In addition, these results will help to improve understanding of the effect PRT has on the brain. In order to examine the relationship between the brain and behavior, participants will be given a variety of tests and assessments before and after treatment. These studies are predicted to replicate previous reports of positive behavioral changes in these children. Additionally, it is hypothesized that greater positive behavioral changes will correlate with increased activation in key social parts of the brain. The collection of both behavioral and fMRI outcome data will also allow the investigation of the connection between brain and behavior in children with ASD and translate these findings to predict response to treatment based upon neural response at intake, allowing better tailoring of treatment protocols to each child based upon their initial behavioral and neural response profile. - See more at: http://science.grants.autismspeaks.org/search/grants/using-fmri-understand-neural-mechanisms-pivotal-response-treatment#sthash.6ZDBkvxQ.dpuf

Funder

Funder

Autism Speaks

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

29500

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2013-2015

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 2LB. Launch at least three studies which evaluate the applicability of ASD phenotype and/or biological signature findings for performing diagnosis, risk assessment, or clinical intervention by 2015. IACC Recommended Budget: $7,200,000 over 5 years.

Project Link

Project Link

Using fMRI to understand the Neural Mechanisms of Pivotal Response Treatment (External web link)

Institution

Institution

University of California, Santa Barbara

State/Country

State/Country

California

Project Number

Project Number

8591

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Using fMRI to understand the Neural Mechanisms of Pivotal Response Treatment | 29500 | 2013 | 8591
Using fMRI to understand the Neural Mechanisms of Pivotal Response Treatment | 0 | 2015 | 8591

 
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