Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect more than 1% of the population, yet currently there are no biomarkers for this condition, which relies principally on behavioral observation for its diagnosis. ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, however how it specifically affects brain development is still not completely understood. In this project, we propose to use cutting-edge multi-parametric ultra-high field (7T) imaging techniques to visualize in vivo cortical and subcortical abnormalities that have been described post- mortem. Our preliminary data indicate that we can observe imaging correlates of the histological changes that have been reported in ASD. If confirmed, our results will for the first time provide a way to visualize and quantify, at the individual level, objective evidence of neurodevelopmental abnormalities in ASD brains. In addition, this will provide crucial information regarding brain areas affected in ASD, and in the long term will allow us to see the commonalities and differences between individuals with autism, we well as a better understanding of the pathophysiology of this devastating condition.

Public Health Relevance

There are presently no way to objectively diagnose or confirm Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using brain imaging ? yet some post-mortem studies have reported specific histological changes in children and adults with ASD. This project will use cutting-edge multi-parametric ultra-high field (7T) imaging techniques to visualize in vivo cortical and subcortical abnormalities that have been described post-mortem. If confirmed, our findings will for the first time provide a way to visualize and quantify, at the individual level, objective evidence of neurodevelopmental abnormalities in ASD brains, and will provide crucial information regarding brain areas affected in ASD, offering a better understanding of the pathophysiology of this devastating condition.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
1R21MH115306-01
Application #
9431453
Study Section
Medical Imaging Study Section (MEDI)
Program Officer
Gilotty, Lisa
Project Start
2017-12-01
Project End
2019-11-30
Budget Start
2017-12-01
Budget End
2018-11-30
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2018
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Massachusetts General Hospital
Department
Type
DUNS #
073130411
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02114