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

Project Title

Project Title

Very early behavioral indicators of ASD risk among NICU infants: A prospective study

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Gardner, Judith

Description

Description

The aim of this project addresses the Autism Speaks' priority area to develop methods for the very early detection of risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Epidemiological studies indicate that ASD is more prevalent when there are complications of pregnancy and delivery. Advances in obstetric and neonatal medicine have resulted in a much higher incidence of multiple gestation infants and an increased survival rate in infants born very small and preterm. These NICU infants are at higher risk for a variety of developmental problems and were recently shown to be at higher risk for ASD. How these risk factors lead to subsequent adverse outcomes such as ASD is not clear. This project addresses this problem by applying the investigators' theoretical model of neonatal regulatory function likely mediated through brainstem and subcortical control mechanisms that are dependent on CNS development in utero. This is based on retrospective data indicating specific abnormalities at 1 and 4 months adjusted postnatal age in very early behavioral regulation and in developmental transitions of arousal, attention, and visual and motor function in high-medical-risk NICU infants that were associated with later diagnosis of ASD. This study builds on those findings to prospectively identify behavioral patterns that form the basis for a developmental trajectory for ASD risk presumed to link to later ASD diagnoses. This could provide information about potential mechanisms underlying the processes involved that may lead to ASD. The study will also explore factors that impact susceptibility for ASD including medical complications such as preterm birth and brain injury, and environmental factors such as maternal education. Many NICU infants have developmental problems stemming from dysregulation, but most do not reach threshold for specific later ASD diagnoses or have different patterns of early behavioral problems. Identification of specific patterns and trajectories as early indices of ASD risk that can be assessed reliably in infancy will be validated by observational and parent report measures of ASD risk between 18 and 24 months. Thus, findings will contribute to very early detection of ASD risk as well as increased understanding of the mechanisms involved in its development, leading to improved outcome through earlier diagnosis of ASD and intervention for children with autism and their families. [BSRC]

Funder

Funder

Autism Speaks

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

0

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2011-2014

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 3SH. Support at least three studies of special populations or use existing databases to inform our understanding of environmental risk factors for ASD in pregnancy and the early postnatal period by 2012. Such studies could include: o Comparisons of populations differing in geography, gender, ethnic background, exposure history (e.g., prematurity, maternal infection, nutritional deficiencies, toxins), and migration patterns; and o Comparisons of phenotype (e.g., cytokine profiles), in children with and without a history of autistic regression, adverse events following immunization (such as fever and seizures), and mitochondrial impairment. These studies may also include comparisons of phenotype between children with regressive ASD and their siblings. Emphasis on environmental factors that influence prenatal and early postnatal development is particularly of high priority. Epidemiological studies should pay special attention to include racially and ethnically diverse populations. IACC Recommended Budget: $12,000,000 over 5 years.

Project Link

Project Link

Very early behavioral indicators of ASD risk among NICU infants: A prospective study (External web link)

Institution

Institution

Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities

State/Country

State/Country

New York

Project Number

Project Number

7598

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Very early behavioral indicators of ASD risk among NICU infants: A prospective study | 0 | 2011 | 7598
Very early behavioral indicators of ASD risk among NICU infants: A prospective study | 149986 | 2012 | 7598
Very early behavioral indicators of ASD risk among NICU infants: A prospective study | 149986 | 2014 | 7598
Very early behavioral indicators of ASD risk among NICU infants: A prospective study | 149986 | 2013 | 7598

 
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