Publications by authors named "Sally J Rogers"

112 Publications

The effect of early autism intervention on parental sense of efficacy in a randomized trial depends on the initial level of parent stress.

Autism 2021 Apr 16:13623613211005613. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

University of California, Davis, USA.

Lay Abstract: This is a study of the secondary effects of interventions for young children with autism on their parents. Specifically, we were interested in the impact on parent's sense of efficacy, or how confident and competent a parent feels about themselves as a parent. We tested three ideas: (1) that the style of the intervention, whether it was more or less structured and whether the parent had a more or less formal role, would impact a parent's sense of efficacy; (2) that the intensity of the intervention, how many hours per week the intervention was delivered, would impact parental efficacy; and (3) that the parent's level of stress prior to intervention would impact how intensity and style effected efficacy. We randomly assigned 87 children with autism, age 13-30 months, into one of four conditions: 15 versus 25 intervention hours crossed with two different styles of intervention. We used statistical tests to examine these ideas. We found that parental efficacy was related to intervention intensity but not style. Parents with higher stress at the beginning of a 1-year, home-based, comprehensive intervention program had a higher sense of parenting efficacy if their child received intensity intervention; parents with lower stress at baseline had a higher sense of efficacy if their child received intervention. If a parent can emerge from the process of diagnosis and early intervention with an increased sense that they can make a difference in their child's life (i.e. increased sense of efficacy), it may set the stage for meeting the long-term demands of parenting a child with autism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/13623613211005613DOI Listing
April 2021

Stability of Vocal Variables Measured During the Early Communication Indicator for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Am J Intellect Dev Disabil 2021 03;126(2):142-157

Sally J. Rogers, University of California, Davis.

The Early Communication Indicator (ECI) was designed to measure expressive communication progress in young children. We evaluated using the 6-min ECI procedure for a new purpose-a sampling context for stable measures of vocal development of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We evaluated how many ECI sessions were required to adequately stabilize estimates of volubility, communicative use, and phonological complexity of vocalizations at two periods (average of 10 months apart). Participants included 83 young children with ASD (M age = 23.33 months). At study initiation, two phonological complexity variables required two sessions; other variables required three. At study endpoint, all variables required fewer sessions. Findings support the feasibility and stability of using the ECI for the new purpose.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1352/1944-7558-126.2.142DOI Listing
March 2021

A Longitudinal Study of White Matter Development in Relation to Changes in Autism Severity Across Early Childhood.

Biol Psychiatry 2021 03 29;89(5):424-432. Epub 2020 Oct 29.

Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, California.

Background: Cross-sectional diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging studies suggest that young autistic children have alterations in white matter structure that differ from older autistic individuals. However, it is unclear whether these differences result from atypical neurodevelopment or sampling differences between young and older cohorts. Furthermore, the relationship between altered white matter development and longitudinal changes in autism symptoms is unknown.

Methods: Using longitudinal diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging acquired over 2 to 3 time points between the ages of approximately 2.5 to 7.0 years in 125 autistic children and 69 typically developing control participants, we directly tested the hypothesis that autistic individuals have atypical white matter development across childhood. Additionally, we sought to determine whether changes in white matter diffusion parameters were associated with longitudinal changes in autism severity.

Results: Autistic children were found to have slower development of fractional anisotropy in the cingulum bundle, superior longitudinal fasciculus, internal capsule, and splenium of the corpus callosum. Furthermore, in the sagittal stratum, autistic individuals who increased in autism severity over time had a slower developmental trajectory of fractional anisotropy compared with individuals whose autism decreased in severity. In the uncinate fasciculus, autistic individuals who decreased in autism symptom severity also had greater increases in fractional anisotropy with age.

Conclusions: These longitudinal findings indicate that previously reported differences in diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging measures between younger and older autism cohorts are attributable to an atypical developmental trajectory of white matter. Differences in white matter development between individuals whose autism severity increased, remained stable, or decreased suggest that these functional differences are associated with fiber development in the autistic brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.10.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7867569PMC
March 2021

The role of early social motivation in explaining variability in functional language in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism 2021 01 12;25(1):244-257. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Vanderbilt University, USA.

Lay Abstract: About one-third of children with autism spectrum disorder never develop the language that they need in different day-to-day situations. Identifying potential factors that can predict later language development is crucial to understanding why some children with autism spectrum disorder successfully develop language while others do not. This study sought to investigate one of the understudied predictors of language development, social motivation, and to test theories for why this association may occur. Testing the theories requires that we measure children's ability to deliberately and directly communicate with others (i.e. intentional communication) and children's language understanding between the measures of social motivation and later expressive language. We tested 87 children with autism spectrum disorder, aged 14-31 months, at four times over 24 months. We found that children with relatively stronger social motivation had relatively better language use 2 years later. This positive link was partly due to a child's ability to produce intentional communication and to understand language. Although we did not measure parents' talking to their children, a theory that inspired this study suggests that children who use frequent intentional communication probably motivate others to talk with them frequently, which facilitates children's language understanding which leads to the development of expressive language. This theory, if confirmed to be true, can provide guidance for parents who want to help their children learn to talk. Parents could look for intentional communication from their children and respond by talking to their children. Effective intervention on both parent and child targets will likely enhance treatment efficacy. Future work is needed to test these ideas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362361320953260DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8011377PMC
January 2021

A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Effects of Intervention Intensity and Intervention Style on Outcomes for Young Children With Autism.

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2020 Aug 24. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

University of California, Los Angeles.

Objective: This randomized, multisite, intent-to-treat study tested the effects of 2 levels of treatment intensity (number of hours) and 2 treatment styles on the progress of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We predicted that initial severity of developmental delay or autism symptoms would moderate the effects of intensity and style on progress in 4 domains: autism symptom severity, expressive communication, receptive language, and nonverbal ability.

Method: A total of 87 children with ASD, mean age 23.4 months, were assigned to 1 of 2 intervention styles (naturalistic developmental/behavioral or discrete trial teaching), each delivered for either 15 or 25 hours per week of 1:1 intervention for 12 months by trained research staff. All caregivers received coaching twice monthly. Children were assessed at 4 timepoints. Examiners and coders were naive to treatment assignment.

Results: Neither style nor intensity had main effects on the 4 outcome variables. In terms of moderating the effects of initial severity of developmental delay and of autism symptom severity, neither moderated the effects of treatment style on progress in any of the 4 domains. In terms of treatment intensity, initial severity moderated effect of treatment intensity on only 1 domain, namely, change in autism symptom severity; in a secondary analysis, this effect was found in only 1 site.

Conclusion: Neither treatment style nor intensity had overall effects on child outcomes in the 4 domains examined. Initial severity did not predict better response to 1 intervention style than to another. We found very limited evidence that initial severity predicted better response to 25 vs 15 hours per week of intervention in the domains studied.

Clinical Trial Registration Information: Intervention Effects of Intensity and Delivery Style for Toddlers With Autism: https://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT02272192.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2020.06.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8057785PMC
August 2020

Developmental-behavioral profiles in children with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring gastrointestinal symptoms.

Autism Res 2020 10 6;13(10):1778-1789. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

MIND (Medical Investigations of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute, University of California at Davis, Sacramento, California, USA.

Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are frequently reported in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We evaluated the frequency and severity of GI symptoms in preschool-aged children with ASD compared to participants with typical development (TD). Our goal was to ascertain whether GI symptoms are associated with differences in sex or developmental and behavioral measures. Participants were between 2 and 3.5 years of age and included 255 children with ASD (184 males/71 females) and 129 age-matched TD controls (75 males/54 females). A parent interview was used to assess GI symptoms (abdominal pain, gaseousness/bloating, diarrhea, constipation, pain on stooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, blood in stool or in vomit). Children with GI symptoms in each diagnostic group were compared to children without GI symptoms on measures of developmental, behavioral, and adaptive functioning. GI symptoms were reported more frequently in children with ASD compared to the TD group (47.8% vs. 17.8%, respectively). Children with ASD were also more likely to experience multiple GI symptoms (30.6% vs. 5.4%). GI symptoms were equally common in males and females across both diagnostic groups. There were no statistically significant differences in developmental or adaptive measures based on presence of GI symptoms in either ASD or TD children. Co-occurring GI symptoms were, however, associated with increased self-injurious behaviors, restricted stereotyped behaviors, aggressive behaviors, sleep problems and attention problems in both ASD and TD children. In children with ASD, a higher number of GI symptoms was associated with an increase in self-injurious behaviors, somatic complaints, reduced sleep duration, and increased parasomnias. LAY SUMMARY: ASD is characterized by challenges in social communication and repetitive behaviors. But, people with autism have many other difficulties including gastrointestinal problems. Children with ASD were three times more likely to experience GI symptoms than typically developing peers. Increased GI symptoms are associated with increased problem behaviors such as sleep problems, self-injury, and body aches. Since GI symptoms are often treatable, it is important to recognize them as soon as possible. Both clinicians and parents should become more aware of the high occurrence of GI problems in autistic people. Autism Res 2020, 13: 1778-1789. © 2020 International Society for Autism Research and Wiley Periodicals LLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aur.2354DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689713PMC
October 2020

The Effects of the Early Start Denver Model for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Meta-Analysis.

Brain Sci 2020 Jun 12;10(6). Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis MIND Institute, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.

This meta-analysis examined the effects of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) for young children with autism on developmental outcome measures. The 12 included studies reported results from 640 children with autism across 44 unique effect sizes. The aggregated effect size, calculated using a robust variance estimation meta-analysis, was 0.357 ( = 0.024), which is a moderate effect size with a statistically significant overall weighted averaged that favored participants who received the ESDM compared to children in control groups, with moderate heterogeneity across studies. This result was largely driven by improvements in cognition ( = 0.412) and language ( = 0.408). There were no significant effects observed for measures of autism symptomology, adaptive behavior, social communication, or restrictive and repetitive behaviors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10060368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349854PMC
June 2020

Predicting Expressive Language From Early Vocalizations in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Which Vocal Measure Is Best?

J Speech Lang Hear Res 2020 05 13;63(5):1509-1520. Epub 2020 May 13.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis.

Purpose This study was designed to test the incremental validity of more expensive vocal development variables relative to less expensive variables for predicting later expressive language in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We devote particular attention to the added value of coding the quality of vocalizations over the quantity of vocalizations because coding quality adds expense to the coding process. We are also interested in the added value of more costly human-coded vocal variables relative to those generated through automated analyses. Method Eighty-seven children with ASD aged 13-30 months at study initiation participated. For quantity of vocalizations, we derived one variable from human coding of brief communication samples and one from an automated process for daylong naturalistic audio samples. For quality of vocalizations, we derived four human-coded variables and one automated variable. A composite expressive language measure was derived at study entry, and 6 and 12 months later. The 12 months-centered intercept of a simple linear growth trajectory was used to quantify later expressive language. Results When statistically controlling for human-coded or automated quantity of vocalization variables, human-coded quality of vocalization variables exhibited incremental validity for predicting later expressive language skills. Human-coded vocal variables also predicted later expressive language skills when controlling for the analogous automated vocal variables. Conclusion In sum, these findings support devoting resources to human coding of the quality of vocalizations from communication samples to predict later expressive language skills in young children with ASD despite the greater costs of deriving these variables. Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.12276458.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-19-00281DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7842121PMC
May 2020

Developmental Trajectories of Adaptive Behavior From Toddlerhood to Middle Childhood in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Am J Intellect Dev Disabil 2020 05;125(3):155-169

Brianne Tomaszewski, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Susan Hepburn, Colorado State University; Audrey Blakeley-Smith, University of Colorado; and Sally J. Rogers, University of California Davis.

Longitudinal growth modeling was utilized to examine adaptive behavior over eight years across the three time points (i.e., ages 2-10). Seventy-six parents completed the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales interviews of adaptive behavior. Child participants completed standardized developmental testing and an executive function task in toddlerhood and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule across all time points. Growth models were specified for communication, daily living skills, and socialization domains of adaptive behavior. Mental age in toddlerhood was a significant predictor of trajectories of communication, daily living skills, and socialization. Executive function and autism severity were significant predictors of socialization. Findings suggest executive function as a potential target for promoting the growth of adaptive behavior skills in addition to autism symptomology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1352/1944-7558-125.3.155DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7904212PMC
May 2020

Sleep Problems and Trajectories of Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.

J Autism Dev Disord 2020 Nov;50(11):3844-3856

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, UW Autism Center, University of Washington, Box 957920, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA.

Sleep problems are prevalent in children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and are associated with the expression of restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs). Children (n = 57) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD, n = 38) or developmental delay (DD, n = 19) participated in multiple assessments of intellectual ability, ASD symptoms, and RRBs (3 timepoints for ASD, 2 for DD). Sleep problems assessed at age 4 via parent report were associated with trajectories of higher-order RRBs (sameness/ritualistic/compulsive behaviors) from age 2-6 in the ASD group, and from age 2-4 in the DD group, even after controlling for intellectual ability, social-affective symptoms, and anxiety. Trajectories of stereotyped/restricted behaviors were unrelated to sleep problems. Sleep problems were associated with trajectories of higher-order (but not lower-order) RRBs in a transdiagnostic sample.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-020-04438-yDOI Listing
November 2020

A diffusion-weighted imaging tract-based spatial statistics study of autism spectrum disorder in preschool-aged children.

J Neurodev Disord 2019 12 16;11(1):32. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

The Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA.

Background: The core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are widely theorized to result from altered brain connectivity. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) has been a versatile method for investigating underlying microstructural properties of white matter (WM) in ASD. Despite phenotypic and etiological heterogeneity, DWI studies in majority male samples of older children, adolescents, and adults with ASD have largely reported findings of decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) across several commissural, projection, and association fiber tracts. However, studies in preschool-aged children (i.e., < 30-40 months) suggest individuals with ASD have increased measures of WM FA earlier in development.

Methods: We analyzed 127 individuals with ASD (85♂, 42♀) and 54 typically developing (TD) controls (42♂, 26♀), aged 25.1-49.6 months. Voxel-wise effects of ASD diagnosis, sex, age, and their interaction on DWI measures of FA, mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusivity (RD), and axial diffusivity (AD) were investigated using tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) while controlling mean absolute and relative motion.

Results: Compared to TD controls, males and females with ASD had significantly increased measures of FA in eight clusters (threshold-free cluster enhancement p < 0.05) that incorporated several WM tracts including regions of the genu, body, and splenium of the corpus callosum, inferior frontal-occipital fasciculi, inferior and superior longitudinal fasciculi, middle and superior cerebellar peduncles, and corticospinal tract. A diagnosis by sex interaction was observed in measures of AD across six significant clusters incorporating areas of the body, genu, and splenium of the corpus collosum. In these tracts, females with ASD showed increased AD compared to TD females, while males with ASD showed decreased AD compared to TD males.

Conclusions: The current findings support growing evidence that preschool-aged children with ASD have atypical measures of WM microstructure that appear to differ in directionality from alterations observed in older individuals with the condition. To our knowledge, this study represents the largest sample of preschool-aged females with ASD to be evaluated using DWI. Microstructural differences associated with ASD largely overlapped between sexes. However, differential relationships of AD measures indicate that sex likely modulates ASD neuroanatomical phenotypes. Further longitudinal study is needed to confirm and quantify the developmental relationship of WM structure in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s11689-019-9291-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913008PMC
December 2019

Brief Report: Preliminary Feasibility of the TEDI: A Novel Parent-Administered Telehealth Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms in the First Year of Life.

J Autism Dev Disord 2020 Sep;50(9):3432-3439

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis MIND Institute, 2825 50th Street, Sacramento, CA, 95820, USA.

Families with early concerns about infant symptoms of ASD have limited access to experienced professionals for screening and guidance. Telehealth has been used to reduce access disparities in other pediatric populations and has shown promise in parent-implemented interventions for ASD. We investigated the feasibility of a novel level-2 telehealth assessment of infants' early social communication and ASD symptoms, the Telehealth Evaluation of Development for Infants (TEDI). Parents of eleven infants aged 6-12 months were coached to administer specific semi-structured behavioral probes. Initial feasibility, reliability, and acceptability benchmarks were met. These findings suggest the feasibility of screening infants via telehealth, and are supportive of further large-scale efforts to validate this method for longitudinal monitoring of symptomatic infants in community settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-04314-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7250716PMC
September 2020

Validity of Vocal Communication and Vocal Complexity in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

J Autism Dev Disord 2020 Jan;50(1):224-237

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis, Davis, USA.

To identify valid measures of vocal development in young children with autism spectrum disorder in the early stages of language learning, we evaluated the convergent validity, divergent validity, and sensitivity to change (across 12 months) of two measures of vocal communication and two measures of vocal complexity through conventional coding of communication samples. Participants included 87 children with autism spectrum disorder (M = 23.42 months at entry). All four vocal variables demonstrated consistent evidence of convergent validity, divergent validity, and sensitivity to change with large effect sizes for convergent validity and sensitivity to change. The results highlight the value of measuring vocal communication and vocal complexity in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-04248-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6949401PMC
January 2020

Sex Differences in the Amygdala Resting-State Connectome of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging 2020 03 21;5(3):320-329. Epub 2019 Aug 21.

MIND Institute, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California. Electronic address:

Background: Multifactorial liability models predict greater dissimilarity in the neural phenotype of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in female individuals than in male individuals, while gender incoherence and extreme male brain models predict attenuated sex differences in ASD. The amygdala is an informative target to explore these models because it is implicated in both the neurobiology of ASD and sex differences in typical development.

Methods: This study investigated amygdala resting-state functional connectivity in a cohort of 116 children with ASD (36 female) and 58 typically developing children (27 female) 2 to 7 years of age during natural sleep. First, multivariate distance matrix regression assessed global sex and diagnostic differences across the amygdala connectome. Second, univariate general linear models identified regions with mean connectivity differences.

Results: Multivariate distance matrix regression revealed greater differences between typically developing children and those with ASD in females than in males, consistent with multifactorial liability models, and attenuated sex differences in the left amygdala connectome of children with ASD in a pattern consistent with the gender incoherence model. Univariate analysis identified similar sex differences in dorsomedial and ventral prefrontal cortices, lingual gyrus, and posterior cingulate cortex, but also noted that lower amygdala connectivity with superior temporal sulcus is observed across sexes.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence that compared with sex-matched control subjects, ASD manifests differently in the brain at the time of diagnosis and prior to the influence of compensatory mechanisms in male and female children, consistent with multifactorial liability models, and that ASD is associated with reduced sex differences in a pattern consistent with gender incoherence models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.08.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7033019PMC
March 2020

Understanding Hippocampal Development in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2020 09 23;59(9):1069-1079. Epub 2019 Aug 23.

University of California, Davis; MIND Institute, Davis, California; UC Davis Imaging Research Center, Davis, California. Electronic address:

Objective: We examined growth trajectories of hippocampal volume (HV) in early childhood in a longitudinal cohort of male and female participants with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing (TD) individuals, and investigated HV in those with large brains. Relations between factors potentially associated with hippocampal size and growth were investigated.

Method: Participants received 1 to 3 structural magnetic resonance imaging scans between ages 25 and 80 months (unique participants: ASD, n =200; TD, n =110; total longitudinal scans, n = 593). HV growth during this period was examined using mixed-effects linear models. Associations between early HV and growth rates, and IQ and adaptive functioning, were evaluated.

Results: After accounting for cerebral hemisphere volume, male participants exhibited larger left and right HV than female participants. Hippocampal growth rates did not differ by sex. In children with larger hemisphere volumes, male and female participants with ASD had relatively larger HV than TD participants of similar hemisphere volume. This effect was present in a broader group than only those with disproportionate megalencephaly (male participants with large cerebral volumes relative to body size). Right hippocampi were larger than left hippocampi in both groups and sexes. Right versus left volume differences were greater for ASD. After adjusting for hemisphere volume, male participants with ASD showed a significant positive association between right hippocampal growth and adaptive behavior.

Conclusion: HV was relatively greater in ASD in analyses adjusting for hemisphere volume, whereas only subtle differences were observed in HV and growth between participants with ASD and TD participants in unadjusted analyses, suggesting that ASD involves atypical coupling between HV and brain size.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2019.08.008DOI Listing
September 2020

Differential Altered Auditory Event-Related Potential Responses in Young Boys on the Autism Spectrum With and Without Disproportionate Megalencephaly.

Autism Res 2019 08 3;12(8):1236-1250. Epub 2019 Jun 3.

UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, Davis, California.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), characterized by impairments in social communication and repetitive behaviors, often includes altered responses to sensory inputs as part of its phenotype. The neurobiological basis for altered sensory processing is not well understood. The UC Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute Autism Phenome Project is a longitudinal, multidisciplinary study of young children with ASD and age-matched typically developing (TD) controls. Previous analyses of the magnetic resonance imaging data from this cohort have shown that ∼15% of boys with ASD have disproportionate megalencephaly (DM) or brain size to height ratio, that is 1.5 standard deviations above the TD mean. Here, we investigated electrophysiological responses to auditory stimuli of increasing intensity (50-80 dB) in young toddlers (27-48 months old). Analyses included data from 36 age-matched boys, of which 24 were diagnosed with ASD (12 with and 12 without DM; ASD-DM and ASD-N) and 12 TD controls. We found that the two ASD subgroups differed in their electrophysiological response patterns to sounds of increasing intensity. At early latencies (55-115 ms), ASD-N does not show a loudness-dependent response like TD and ASD-DM, but tends to group intensities by soft vs. loud sounds, suggesting differences in sensory sensitivity in this group. At later latencies (145-195 ms), only the ASD-DM group shows significantly higher amplitudes for loud sounds. Because no similar effects were found in ASD-N and TD groups, this may be related to their altered neuroanatomy. These results contribute to the effort to delineate ASD subgroups and further characterize physiological responses associated with observable phenotypes. Autism Res 2019, 12: 1236-1250. © 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. LAY SUMMARY: Approximately 15% of boys with ASD have much bigger brains when compared to individuals with typical development. By recording brain waves (electroencephalography) we compared how autistic children, with or without big brains, react to sounds compared to typically developing controls. We found that brain responses in the big-brained group are different from the two other groups, suggesting that they represent a specific autism subgroup.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aur.2137DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282708PMC
August 2019

A Multisite Randomized Controlled Two-Phase Trial of the Early Start Denver Model Compared to Treatment as Usual.

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2019 09 24;58(9):853-865. Epub 2019 Jan 24.

University of California, Davis, MIND Institute, Sacramento.

Objective: This single-blind, randomized, multisite, intent-to-treat study was designed to replicate and extend Dawson et al.'s (Pediatrics. 2010;125: e17-e23) randomized controlled trial testing the effects of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), an intensive play- and routines-based intervention delivered in natural settings.

Method: A randomized controlled trial was conducted at 3 universities. One hundred eighteen children 14 to 24 months old with autism spectrum disorder were enrolled and randomly assigned to ESDM or community interventions for 27 months. Eighty-one children completed the full treatment course and all assessments; data from all 118 children were used in analyses. Children assigned to the ESDM intervention received 3 months of weekly parent coaching followed by 24 months of 15 hour per week (on average) 1:1 treatment weekly on average in homes or daycare settings from supervised therapy assistants while parents received coaching 4 hours monthly from a certified ESDM therapist.

Results: For the primary analyses, there were time-by-group and time-by-group-by-site interactions for language outcome. In the significant 3-way interaction involving site, 2 sites showed a significant ESDM advantage and the third site showed no significant group differences. In the planned 2-way analysis that pooled data across all 3 sites, there was a significant advantage found for the ESDM group. For the secondary analyses, there were no significant differences between the ESDM and community groups involving developmental quotient, autism severity, or adaptive behavior. The treatment effect of group on language outcomes was not moderated by baseline developmental quotient, autism severity, or language.

Conclusion: Results of the primary analysis provide a partial replication of Dawson et al.'s 2010 language findings.

Clinical Trial Registration Information: Intensive Intervention for Toddlers with Autism; https://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT00698997.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2019.01.004DOI Listing
September 2019

A novel method for measuring learning opportunities provided by parents to young children with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism 2019 08 9;23(6):1563-1574. Epub 2019 Jan 9.

4 Medical Investigaton of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute, University of California, Davis Medical Center, USA.

The aim of this study was to develop a measurement approach to assess the learning opportunities provided by parents to their young children with autism spectrum disorder during a free play task and to examine the relationship between learning opportunities and child performance on measures of cognition, autism spectrum disorder symptoms, and language. Participants were 91 children with autism spectrum disorder ages 12-24 months and their parents. Ordinary least squares regression was used. Results showed that children whose parents provided more learning opportunities had significantly higher cognitive scores and significantly higher vocabulary comprehension and production. The psychometric properties of the measurement approach were investigated and results indicated that it may be psychometrically sound.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362361318817303DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6616017PMC
August 2019

The Developmental Sequence and Relations Between Gesture and Spoken Language in Toddlers With Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Child Dev 2020 05 31;91(3):743-753. Epub 2018 Dec 31.

University of California, Davis.

In typical development, gestures precede and predict language development. This study examines the developmental sequence of expressive communication and relations between specific gestural and language milestones in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who demonstrate marked difficulty with gesture production and language. Communication skills across five stages (gestures, word approximations, first words, gesture-word combinations, and two-word combinations) were assessed monthly by blind raters for toddlers with ASD participating in an randomized control trial of parent-mediated treatment (N = 42, 12-30 months). Findings revealed that toddlers acquired skills following a reliable (vs. idiosyncratic) sequence and the majority of toddlers combined gestures with words before combining words in speech, but in contrast to the pattern observed in typical development, a significant subset acquired pointing after first words.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13203DOI Listing
May 2020

Outcomes of children receiving Group-Early Start Denver Model in an inclusive versus autism-specific setting: A pilot randomized controlled trial.

Autism 2019 07 8;23(5):1165-1175. Epub 2018 Oct 8.

2 La Trobe University, Australia.

A major topic of debate is whether children with autism spectrum disorder should be educated in inclusive or specialized settings. We examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of delivering the Group-Early Start Denver Model to children with autism spectrum disorder in inclusive versus specialized classrooms. We randomly assigned 44 preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder to receive the Group-Early Start Denver Model across one school calendar year in classrooms that included only children with autism spectrum disorder or mostly children who were typically developing. Blind-rated indicators of teaching quality showed similar results across settings, which were above the local benchmark. Children showed improvements across blinded proximal measures of spontaneous vocalization, social interaction, and imitation and across distal measures of verbal cognition, adaptive behavior, and autism symptoms irrespective of intervention setting. Mothers of participants experienced a reduction in stress irrespective of child intervention setting. Across both settings, age at intervention start was negatively associated with gains in verbal cognition. Delivery of Group-Early Start Denver Model in an inclusive setting appeared to be feasible, with no significant differences in teaching quality and child improvements when the program was implemented in inclusive versus specialized classrooms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362361318801341DOI Listing
July 2019

Extra-axial cerebrospinal fluid in high-risk and normal-risk children with autism aged 2-4 years: a case-control study.

Lancet Psychiatry 2018 11 27;5(11):895-904. Epub 2018 Sep 27.

The Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute, UC Davis School of Medicine, University of California-Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine, University of California-Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA.

Background: We previously showed, in two separate cohorts, that high-risk infants who were later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder had abnormally high extra-axial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume from age 6-24 months. The presence of increased extra-axial CSF volume preceded the onset of behavioural symptoms of autism and was predictive of a later diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. In this study, we aimed to establish whether increased extra-axial CSF volume is found in a large, independent sample of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, whether extra-axial CSF remains abnormally increased beyond infancy, and whether it is present in both normal-risk and high-risk children with autism.

Methods: In this case-control MRI study, children with autism spectrum disorder or with typical development aged 2-4 years were recruited from the community to the UC Davis MIND Institute Autism Phenome Project, based in Sacramento, CA, USA. The autism spectrum disorder group comprised children with autism spectrum disorder who were either normal risk (ie, from simplex families) or high risk (ie, from multiplex families). Measurements of extra-axial CSF volume, brain volume, head circumference, sleep problems, and familial risk status were derived from MRI and behavioural assessments. We applied a previously validated machine learning algorithm based on extra-axial CSF volume, brain volume, age, and sex to the current dataset.

Findings: Between July 20, 2007, and Dec 13, 2012, 159 children with autism spectrum disorder (132 male, 27 female) and 77 with typical development (49 male, 28 female) underwent MRI scans. The autism spectrum disorder group had an average of 15·1% more extra-axial CSF than controls after accounting for differences in brain volume, weight, age, and sex (least-squares mean 116·74 cm [SE 3·33] in autism group vs 101·40 cm [3·93] in typical development group; p=0·007; Cohen's d = 0·39). Subgroups of normal-risk (n=132) and high-risk (n=27) children with autism spectrum disorder had nearly identical extra-axial CSF volumes (p=0·78), and both subgroups had significantly greater volumes than controls. Both extra-axial CSF volume (p=0·004) and brain volume (p<0·0001) uniquely contributed to enlarged head circumference in the autism spectrum disorder group (p=0·04). Increased extra-axial CSF volume was associated with greater sleep disturbances (p=0·03) and lower non-verbal ability (p=0·04). The machine learning algorithm correctly predicted autism spectrum disorder diagnosis with a positive predictive value of 83% (95% CI 76·2-88·3).

Interpretation: Increased extra-axial CSF volume is a reliable brain anomaly that has now been found in three independent cohorts, comprising both high-risk and normal-risk children with autism spectrum disorder. Increased extra-axial CSF volume is detectable using conventional structural MRI scans from infancy through to age 3 years. These results suggest that increased extra-axial CSF volume could be an early stratification biomarker of a biologically based subtype of autism that might share a common underlying pathophysiology.

Funding: US National Institutes of Health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30294-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6223655PMC
November 2018

Effects of Parent-Implemented Early Start Denver Model Intervention on Chinese Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Non-Randomized Controlled Trial.

Autism Res 2018 04 7;11(4):654-666. Epub 2018 Feb 7.

Department of Child Health Care, Children's Hospital of Fudan University, 399 Wan Yuan Road, Minhang District, Shanghai, 201102, China.

To evaluate the effects of a 26-week, high-intensity, parent-implemented Early Start Denver Model (P-ESDM) intervention on developmental outcomes, severity of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and parental stress of ASD toddlers in China. Subjects in P-ESDM group (n = 23) were recruited from 1.5- to 2.5-year-old toddlers who were screened positive in Xuhui and Minhang Districts and were diagnosed with ASD. A community (comparison) group of age-matched toddlers with ASD (n = 20) was recruited from other areas. Subjects of the P-ESDM group attended 1.5-hr parent coaching per week for 26 weeks, and those in the community group received interventions available from communities. Assessments were conducted at baseline (T1) and 26 weeks later (T2). After adjusting for baseline differences between the two groups, P-ESDM group demonstrated greater improvement than the community group in general development, especially in Language domain. Neither group demonstrated significant change in ASD severity, but the P-ESDM group showed greater improvement in social affect, parent-reported social communication and symbolic play than community group did. Finally, parents in P-ESDM group experienced decreased parenting stress while those in community group showed an opposite trend, though the differences did not reach significant association with the P-ESDM intervention. Chinese toddlers with ASD receiving 26 weeks of P-ESDM via regular coaching sessions showed significant greater improvement than those receiving community interventions in multiple aspects of development including social communications. These findings add support to the importance of providing early screening, diagnosis, and immediate referral for evidence-based interventions to improve outcome of young children with ASD. Autism Res 2018, 11: 654-666. © 2017 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Lay Summary: The development of early screening and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in China has highlighted the importance of early intervention for young children with ASD. Our current study demonstrated that parent-implemented Early Start Denver Model (P-ESDM) via coaching from professionals improved developmental outcomes, especially in the language domain, and social communicational behaviors of Chinese toddlers with ASD. P-ESDM may help parents in China provide effective early intervention to their children with ASD via improving their skills when they are still at a waiting list for services or lack access to intervention, and has the potential to alleviate their parenting stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aur.1917DOI Listing
April 2018

What Are You Doing With That Object? Comparing the Neural Responses of Action Understanding in Adolescents With and Without Autism.

J Autism Dev Disord 2018 03;48(3):809-823

The MIND (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA, 95817, USA.

Understanding another's actions, including what they are doing and why they are doing it, can be difficult for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This understanding is supported by the action observation (AON) and mentalizing (MZN) networks, as well as the superior temporal sulcus. We examined these areas in children with ASD and typically developing controls by having participants view eating and placing actions performed in conventional and unconventional ways while functional magnetic resonance images were collected. We found an effect of action-type, but not conventionality, in both groups, and a between groups difference only when viewing conventional eating actions. Findings suggest there are not global AON/MZN deficits in ASD, and observing unconventional actions may not spontaneously activate the MZN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3338-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5826790PMC
March 2018

Implementation of the Early Start Denver Model in an Italian community.

Autism 2018 02 20;22(2):126-133. Epub 2016 Oct 20.

2 IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Italy.

Identifying effective, community-based specialized interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorder is an international clinical and research priority. We evaluated the effectiveness of the Early Start Denver Model intervention in a group of young children with autism spectrum disorder living in an Italian community compared to a group of Italian children who received treatment as usual. A total of 22 young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder received the Early Start Denver Model in a center-based context for 6 h per week over 6 months. The Early Start Denver Model group was compared to a group of 70 young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who received treatment as usual for an average of 5.2 h over 6 months. Children in both groups improved in cognitive, adaptive, and social skills after 3 months and 6 months of treatment. Children in the Early Start Denver Model group made larger gains in cognitive and social skills after 3 and 6 months of treatment. The Early Start Denver Model group made larger gains in adaptive skills after 3 months of treatment. Our results are discussed in terms of implications for intervention research and clinical practice. Our study supports the positive impact of the Early Start Denver Model in a non-English-speaking community.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362361316665792DOI Listing
February 2018

What will my child's future hold? phenotypes of intellectual development in 2-8-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Res 2018 01 27;11(1):121-132. Epub 2017 Oct 27.

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of California-Davis, Sacramento, CA.

We examined phenotypes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) based on trajectories of intellectual development from early (ages 2-3 ½) to middle (ages 5-8) childhood in a recent clinically ascertained cohort. Participants included 102 children (82 males) initially diagnosed with ASD from the Autism Phenome Project longitudinal sample. Latent class growth analysis was used to identify distinct IQ trajectories. Baseline and developmental course differences among groups were assessed using univariate techniques and repeated measures regression models, respectively. A four class model best represented the data. Using the highest posterior probability, participants were assigned to High Challenges (25.5%), Stable Low (17.6%), Changers (35.3%), and Lesser Challenges (21.6%) groups. The High Challenges and Stable Low groups exhibited persistently low IQ, although, the High Challenges group experienced declines while the Stable Low group's scores remained more constant. Changers showed IQ improvement of > 2 standard deviations. The Lesser Challenges group had IQs in the average range at both times that were about 1 standard deviation higher at T2. In summation, 75% of the participants experienced some relative improvements in intellectual and/or other areas of functioning between ages 2 and 8 years. The Changers group demonstrated the most significant IQ change that was accompanied by adaptive communication improvement and declining externalizing symptoms. Only the Lesser Challenges group showed a significant reduction in ASD symptom severity, such that by age 8, 14% of them no longer met ADOS-2 criteria for ASD. All groups showed reductions in internalizing symptoms. Intervention history was not associated with group status. Autism Res 2018, 11: 121-132. © 2017 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Lay Summary: We examined how the IQs of children with autism spectrum disorder change between ages 2 and 8, and identified four patterns. Two groups exhibited persistently lower IQs. One group showed IQ increases of greater than 30 points with improved communicate abilities and declining disruptive behaviors. The final group had IQs in the average or better range at both time points, and 14% of them lost their diagnoses. Over half of the children experienced improved intellectual functioning between ages 2 and 8, whereas about 25% showed declines. Findings were not associated with intervention history.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aur.1884DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5961488PMC
January 2018

Grammatical Language Impairment in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Exploring Language Phenotypes Beyond Standardized Testing.

Front Psychol 2017 18;8:532. Epub 2017 Apr 18.

Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, StorrsCT, USA.

Linguistic and cognitive abilities manifest huge heterogeneity in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Some children present with commensurate language and cognitive abilities, while others show more variable patterns of development. Using spontaneous language samples, we investigate the presence and extent of grammatical language impairment in a heterogeneous sample of children with ASD. Findings from our sample suggest that children with ASD can be categorized into three meaningful subgroups: those with normal language, those with marked difficulty in grammatical production but relatively intact vocabulary, and those with more globally low language abilities. These findings support the use of sensitive assessment measures to evaluate language in autism, as well as the utility of within-disorder comparisons, in order to comprehensively define the various cognitive and linguistic phenotypes in this heterogeneous disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00532DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5394165PMC
April 2017

Neural correlates of language variability in preschool-aged boys with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Res 2017 Jun 16;10(6):1107-1119. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

Davis Health System, University of California-Davis MIND Institute: University of California, 2825 50th Street, Sacramento, CA, 95817.

Children with autism vary widely in their language abilities, yet the neural correlates of this language variability remain unclear, especially early in development. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to examine diffusivity measures along the length of 18 major fiber tracts in 104 preschool-aged boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The boys were assigned to subgroups according to their level of language development (Low: no/low language, Middle: small vocabulary, High: large vocabulary and grammar), based on their raw scores on the expressive language (EL) and receptive language (RL) sections of the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL). Results indicate that the subgroups differed in fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and radial diffusivity (RD) along the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) in both hemispheres. Moreover, FA correlated significantly with Mullen EL and RL raw scores, but not ADOS severity score, along the left and right ILF. Subgroups also differed in MD (but not FA) along the left superior longitudinal fasiculus and left corticospinal tract, but these differences were not correlated with language scores. These findings suggest that white matter microstructure in the left and right ILF varies in relation to lexical development in young males with ASD. The findings also support the use of raw scores on language-relevant standardized tests for assessing early language-brain relationships. Autism Res 2017. © 2017 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Autism Res 2017, 10: 1107-1119. © 2017 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aur.1756DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548458PMC
June 2017

Functional Connectivity of the Amygdala Is Disrupted in Preschool-Aged Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2016 09 29;55(9):817-24. Epub 2016 Jun 29.

MIND Institute and the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento. Electronic address:

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether functional connectivity of the amygdala is altered in preschool-age children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to assess the clinical relevance of observed alterations in amygdala connectivity.

Method: A resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging study of the amygdala (and a parallel study of primary visual cortex) was conducted in 72 boys (mean age 3.5 years; n = 43 with ASD; n = 29 age-matched controls).

Results: The ASD group showed significantly weaker connectivity between the amygdala and several brain regions involved in social communication and repetitive behaviors, including bilateral medial prefrontal cortex, temporal lobes, and striatum (p < .05, corrected). Weaker connectivity between the amygdala and frontal and temporal lobes was significantly correlated with increased autism severity in the ASD group (p < .05). In a parallel analysis examining the functional connectivity of primary visual cortex, the ASD group showed significantly weaker connectivity between visual cortex and sensorimotor regions (p < .05, corrected). Weaker connectivity between visual cortex and sensorimotor regions was not correlated with core autism symptoms, but instead was correlated with increased sensory hypersensitivity in the visual/auditory domain (p < .05).

Conclusion: These findings indicate that preschool-age children with ASD have disrupted functional connectivity between the amygdala and regions of the brain important for social communication and language, which might be clinically relevant because weaker connectivity was associated with increased autism severity. Moreover, although amygdala connectivity was associated with behavioral domains that are diagnostic of ASD, altered connectivity of primary visual cortex was related to sensory hypersensitivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2016.05.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003422PMC
September 2016

Persistence of megalencephaly in a subgroup of young boys with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Res 2016 11 8;9(11):1169-1182. Epub 2016 Jun 8.

UC Davis MIND Institute and the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Sacramento, California.

A recurring finding in autism spectrum disorder research is that head and brain growth is disproportionate to body growth in early childhood. Nordahl et al. (2011) demonstrated that this occurs in approximately 15% of boys with autism. While the literature suggests that brain growth normalizes at older ages, this has never been evaluated in a longitudinal study. The current study evaluated head circumference and total cerebral volume in 129 male children with autism and 49 age-matched, typically developing controls. We determined whether 3-year-old boys with brain size disproportionate to height (which we call disproportionate megalencephaly) demonstrated an abnormal trajectory of head growth from birth and whether they maintained an enlarged brain at 5 years of age. Findings were based on longitudinal, structural MRI data collected around 3, 4, and 5 years of age and head circumference data from medical records. At 3 years of age, 19 boys with autism had enlarged brains while 110 had brain sizes in the normal range. Boys with disproportionate megalencephaly had greater total cerebral, gray matter, and white matter volumes from 3-5 years compared to boys with autism and normal sized brains and typically developing boys, but no differences in body size. While head circumference did not differ between groups at birth, it was significantly greater in the disproportionate megalencephaly group by around 2 years. These data suggest that there is a subgroup of boys with autism who have brains disproportionate to body size and that this continues until at least 5 years of age. Autism Res 2016, 9: 1169-1182. © 2016 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aur.1643DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5292980PMC
November 2016

Sensory symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder, other developmental disorders and typical development: A longitudinal study.

Autism 2016 07 22;20(5):572-9. Epub 2015 Sep 22.

University of California, Davis, USA.

Sensory symptoms are prevalent in autism spectrum disorder but little is known about the early developmental patterns of these symptoms. This study examined the development of sensory symptoms and the relationship between sensory symptoms and adaptive functioning during early childhood. Three groups of children were followed across three time points from 2 to 8 years of age: autism spectrum disorder, developmental delay, and typical development. At each time point, parents filled out questionnaires regarding their child's sensory symptoms and adaptive functioning. At the initial time point, parents of children with autism spectrum disorder reported more sensory symptoms in their children than parents in the typical development group. Parents in the autism spectrum disorder group reported more sensory symptoms than parents in the developmental delay group within smell, taste, and auditory domains. While the typical development group decreased in reported sensory symptoms across the study period, the clinical groups demonstrated no significant change across assessment points. Sensory symptoms for all groups were not independently predictive of adaptive functioning when verbal mental age was also included in the model. The young age range at the initial assessment and pattern of results suggest that sensory symptoms are present early in the etiology of autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders and remain stable over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362361315599755DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4918912PMC
July 2016