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    Familial risk of autism alters subcortical and cerebellar brain anatomy in infants and predicts the emergence of repetitive behaviors in early childhood

    Pote, I. and Wang, S. and Sethna, V. and Blasi, Anna and Daly, E. and Kuklisova-Murgasova, M. and Lloyd-Fox, Sarah and Mercure, E. and Busuulwa, P. and Stoencheva, V. and Charman, T. and Williams, S.C.R. and Johnson, Mark H. and Murphy, D.G.M. and McAlonan, G.M. (2019) Familial risk of autism alters subcortical and cerebellar brain anatomy in infants and predicts the emergence of repetitive behaviors in early childhood. Autism Research , ISSN 1939-3792. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a common neurodevelopmental condition, and infant siblings of children with ASD are at a higher risk of developing autistic traits or an ASD diagnosis, when compared to those with typically developing siblings. Reports of differences in brain anatomy and function in high‐risk infants which predict later autistic behaviors are emerging, but although cerebellar and subcortical brain regions have been frequently implicated in ASD, no high‐risk study has examined these regions. Therefore, in this study, we compared regional MRI volumes across the whole brain in 4–6‐month‐old infants with (high‐risk, n = 24) and without (low‐risk, n = 26) a sibling with ASD. Within the high‐risk group, we also examined whether any regional differences observed were associated with autistic behaviors at 36 months. We found that high‐risk infants had significantly larger cerebellar and subcortical volumes at 4–6‐months of age, relative to low‐risk infants; and that larger volumes in high‐risk infants were linked to more repetitive behaviors at 36 months. Our preliminary observations require replication in longitudinal studies of larger samples. If correct, they suggest that the early subcortex and cerebellum volumes may be predictive biomarkers for childhood repetitive behaviors.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): autism spectrum disorder, infants, familial risk, magnetic resonance imaging—structural, cerebellum, subcortex, mother–infant interaction
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    SWORD Depositor: Mr Joe Tenant
    Depositing User: Mr Joe Tenant
    Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2019 14:28
    Last Modified: 05 Aug 2019 01:18
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/26560

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