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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

Neural Correlates of Imitation in Children with Autism and their Unaffected Siblings

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Edwards, Laura

Description

Description

Due to genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity, the etiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is not well understood. Endophenotypes of ASD at the neural systems level may offer insight into the pathophysiology and psychopathology of ASD by indicating components of complex social behaviors that lie closer to specific genetic factors conferring ASD risk. This project investigates the neural correlates of imitation -- a social function impaired in ASD -- in 4- to 6-year-old children with ASD, unaffected siblings of children with ASD, and their typically developing peers. Unaffected siblings represent a unique and potentially essential study population for understanding ASD risk and development, as these children are likely to share many of the genetic risk factors that contribute to ASD in their siblings, despite themselves exhibiting typical social functioning. This research training project integrates imaging and behavioral methods to identify 1) neural correlates of imitation unique to the state of having ASD; 2) neural correlates of social dysfunction shared by children with ASD and unaffected siblings, and 3) neural correlates of imitation unique to unaffected siblings. Genetic factors or regions associated with these endophenotypes represent ripe avenues for future research into factors that protect against ASD development. This project thus aims to identify and investigate biomarkers of immediate clinical utility in the earlier diagnosis and prediction of ASD outcomes. The results of this study may also contribute to the design of more targeted and potentially effective interventions to increase the social functioning and improve the outcomes of children at risk for ASD.

Funder

Funder

Autism Speaks

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

0

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

Neural Correlates of Imitation in Children with Autism and their Unaffected Siblings (External web link)

Institution

Institution

Harvard University

State/Country

State/Country

Massachusetts

Project Number

Project Number

7823

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Neural Correlates of Imitation in Children with Autism and their Unaffected Siblings | 28600 | 2013 | 7823
Neural Correlates of Imitation in Children with Autism and their Unaffected Siblings | 28600 | 2014 | 7823

 
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