Brain Imaging and Cell Signaling: Insights into the Biology of Autism

This reasarch study is looking at biochemical changes in the blood as well as brain anatomy in order to learn more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This would yield better understanding of a disorder that affects an esimated one in 88 children in the United Staes, but largely remains understood. By investigating the structural and functional brain imaging in a cohort of idiopathic ASD patients who have macrocephaly, we are optimistic that we can establish a link between commen biochemical and abd brain developmental pathways that are disrupted in ASD, and, thus, plot a path to targetted treatment. 

What is involved?

  • Blood draw
  • Sharing of medical records
  • Neuropsychological questionnaires
  • In person testing including: cognitive testing and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) assessment
  • Comprehensive brain imaging including: MRI and MEG
  • A total of 2-8 hours of participating

Who can participate?

  • Children aged 6-18, both affected individuals and healthy controls
    • Affected participants:
      • Diagnosis of ASD.
      • Able to undergo blood draw and brain imaging.
      • We prefer parents of an affected participants to participate in the blood draw as well.
    • Control participants:
      • No signigicant diagnoses. 
      • Able to undergo blood draw and brain imaging.
  • Must be available to travel to UCSF Mission Bay for the study procedures. 

How to participate?

As of January 2021, our ASD research study is currently on hold due to COVID-19 regulations as we are unable to collect potentially infected samples. If you are interested in participating in this study in the future, you may still complete our intake form and our lab will reach out once the study has restarted.