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Scientific Lectures //

Title:  Neurobiological and Neuroimmune Strategies for Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

David Amaral Ph.D. - Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Research Director and Beneto Foundation Chair-The M.I.N.D. Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) University of California, Davis

Presented: March 28, 2013

ABSTRACT: My presentation will be in two parts. In the first, 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, 270 children (2-3 ½-years old) with autism spectrum disorder or age-matched typically developing controls have received structural MRI scans. I will focus my comments on data related to total brain size and to the development of the amygdala. In the second part of the talk, I will summarize studies that explore one potential autoimmune cause of autism. I will provide an update on our attempts to model this form of autism in the nonhuman primate. I will then return to MRI studies and briefly review data that brain changes in our animal model of autism are paralleling changes seen in a subset of children with ASD.

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