Dr Joseph Piven to present opening plenary

Dr Joseph Piven M.D. from the University of North Carolina will present the opening plenary at APAC15. 

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.

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, prior to manifestation of the defining features of this condition.

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.

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.

Additionally, findings from this study have the potential to identify early biomarkers, appearing prior to the onset of the defining features of the disorder, which could facilitate early detection and lead to pre-symptomatic intervention during a period of maximum brain plasticity. Longitudinal data on early brain development will be presented from this large-scale, high-risk infant study of autism.

APAC15 has announced a comprehensive program features 30 national and international keynote speakers presenting their work. Jointly hosted by Autism Queensland and the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders, APAC15's program is designed for researchers, practitioners, teachers and educators, allied health professionals, support organisations, advocates, parents, families and carers, and policy makers.

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.

Early bird registrations close on Friday 15 July 2015 with concession rates available for people on the spectrum, parents/siblings/grandparents/foster carers and students as well as concession card holders.