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SCSB Colloquium Series: David Amaral, Ph.D.
May 25, 2016 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Time: 4:00 pm-5:00 pm, followed by reception
Speaker: David G. Amaral, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Beneto Foundation Chair and Research Director, The MIND Institute, UC Davis
Host: Mriganka Sur, Ph.D., FRS
Talk title: The Pursuit of Neurophenotypes in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Abstract: There have been hundreds of neuroimaging studies of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). But, most of these have had very small samples of subjects, few of these have been longitudinal and almost all have not included subjects with severe ASD and intellectual disability. I will briefly describe the Autism Phenome Project which is a large, multidisciplinary study of young children with autism spectrum disorder. I will summarize some of our neuroimaging data that support the view that autism has many biological subtypes. To date, over 300 children (2-3 ½-years old) with autism spectrum disorder or age-matched typically developing controls have received structural and functional MRI scans. I will focus my comments on data related to total brain size as well as alterations in the development of the amygdala. These data provide ample evidence for different “neurophenotypes” of ASD. I will more briefly discuss recent findings of altered brain structure in children as young as 6 months of age that later attain a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.