University of London
Studying high-risk groups for developing autism promises to advance our understanding of the early markers of autism and the broader phonotype of the condition. Based on the genetic basis of autism, one of the most clearly identified at-risk groups is the siblings of children with ASD. This approach have been productive and is expected to continue to provide possibility of predicting which infants are likely to develop the overt behavioral symptoms of autism based on early behavioral and brain differences during the first years. This proposal is a 2-year pilot project to establish feasibility and the core of a UK national network for studying infant siblings of children with autism. Establishing a network of labs is important due to the interdisciplinary nature of the studies required, and to increase the sample sizes. In phase 1 we will focus on (1) establishing a suitable battery of tasks for use in the first 24 months of life, and (2) piloting procedures for selecting the most high-risk sample to maximize the efficiency of future studies. This study is a natural expansion of the already successful high risk baby siblings research consortium established under the direction of Autism Speaks and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Significance: The project brings into the primarily U.S.–based, Autism Speaks-supported Baby Siblings Research Consortium a number of well-established investigators in the U.K. The tasks proposed are similar to those used in other ongoing studies of infant siblings, but represent the integration of neurophysiology and developmental psychology which exists in only a few of the currently existing sites, thus enhancing the overall scientific value and opportunities of the consortium. [BSRC]
Behavioral Neuroscience, Executive Function, Social Behavior/ Social Cognition, Biomarker, Developmental Neuroscience, Electrophysiology, EEG, ERP, Screening/ Diagnosis/ Phenotyping, Etiology/ Risk Factors, Infants (0-17 Months), Toddlers (18 Months-3 Years), Individuals At Risk For ASD