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Neuroimaging in autism--from basic science to translational research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-91
Number of pages10
JournalNature Reviews Neurology
Issue number2
Early online date14 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

King's Authors


Over the past decade, human neuroimaging studies have provided invaluable insights into the neural substrates that underlie autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although observations from multiple neuroimaging approaches converge in suggesting that changes in brain structure, functioning and connectivity are associated with ASD, the neurobiology of this disorder is complex, and considerable aetiological and phenotypic heterogeneity exists among individuals on the autism spectrum. Characterization of the neurobiological alterations that underlie ASD and development of novel pharmacotherapies for ASD, therefore, requires multidisciplinary collaboration. Consequently, pressure is growing to combine neuroimaging data with information provided by other disciplines to translate research findings into clinically useful biomarkers. So far, however, neuroimaging studies in patients with ASD have mainly been conducted in isolation, and the low specificity of neuroimaging measures has hindered the development of biomarkers that could aid clinical trials and/or facilitate patient identification. Novel approaches to acquiring and analysing data on brain characteristics are currently being developed to overcome these inherent limitations, and to integrate neuroimaging into translational research. Here, we discuss promising new studies of cortical pathology in patients with ASD, and outline how the novel insights thereby obtained could inform diagnosis and treatment of ASD in the future.

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