Latest findings from the Infant Brain Imaging Study presented at APAC15

Dr Joseph Piven M.D. from the University of North Carolina will present the opening plenary at the fourth Asia Pacific Autism Conference, APAC15, opening today in Brisbane (9 September 2015).

Dr Piven will present the latest findings from the Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) which is using brain imaging (MRI/DTI/fcMRI) to better understand the timing and pattern of brain development in very young children with autism.

Findings from the study have the potential to identify early biomarkers of autism which could facilitate early detection and lead to pre-symptomatic intervention before the onset of the disorder.

Dr Piven said the study of infant siblings of autistic individuals enables the study of brain and behavior development in infants who go on to later develop autism.

"To date, these so-called 'baby sibs' studies have revealed that autistic behaviors are not generally apparent in the first six months of life but emerge in the latter part of the first and second years," he said.

"The Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) employs brain imaging (MRI/DTI/fcMRI) to examine trajectories of brain development as they emerge concurrently with the defining and associated behavioral characteristics of autism."

Dr Piven said the study of very early brain development in infants at high risk for autism offers a new paradigm for understanding the brain during the period when many of the defining features of autism first unfold.

"Studying this early dynamic cascade of brain changes has the potential to provide important insights into brain mechanisms and provide new possibilities for early detection," he said.

"These data have the potential to provide important insights into the early brain-behavior mechanisms in autism, along with examining the role of genetic liability and the early psychological environment in developing this condition."

Longitudinal data on early brain development will be presented from this large-scale, high-risk infant study of autism.

Jointly hosted by Autism Queensland and the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders, the APAC15 program features clinicians, educators, researchers, people with ASD, parents and others involved in working with people on the spectrum for three days of expert learning from 9 to 11 September.

Australian research will be a major focus and will feature key updates on research coming out of The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders established in Brisbane in 2013.

Media inquiries: Jose Abad, 0403 930 380,

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