MU Brain mapping for autism

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri held a discussion today on neuroimaging technology that could lead to advancements in determining early signs of autism. The event was held in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center on MU's campus.

Dr. David G. Amaral from the University of California-Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute said the goal is to get children with autism quickly to treatment because they have the best outcome.

The cause and treatment of autism has been difficult, especially since the severity of the disability varies. Amaral hopes by examining the brain, researchers will be able to develop a system to identify different stages of autism.

The research also aims to diagnose children as early as 12 months old. By diagnosing children early, treatment options such as therapy can lead to improvements.

The MIND institute will also be researching ways to diagnose women carrying children with autism. Dr. David Q. Beversdorf, neuropsychologist at MU Thompson Center, said,  "We are also looking for the role prenatal stress and other environmental factors have on the development of autism."

According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 100 children born today have or eventually will have autism.

The event was a part of the Chancellor's Distinguished Visitors Program to bring renowned scholars to MU.