Linking Genes, Brain and Behavior in Autism Spectrum Disorder

2/3/2014; 79 minutes

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is known to have a strong genetic component. However little is known about how autism risk genes relate to brain differences found in individuals with ASD and behavioral features of ASD. Susan Bookheimer, UCLA Brain Research Institute, reviews some of the primary genetic pathways that have been identified in autism, and presents research on how these genes affect brain development, specifically brain connectivity. New analytic techniques, such as graph theory applied to functional connectivity data, suggest abnormal development of specific connectivity patterns, including modularity and network efficiency, that help to explain the cognitive and behavioral differences associated with different autism phenotypes.

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