Circumscribed interests in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder can play an important role in forming new peer relationships based on shared interests. However, little is currently known about the circumscribed interests in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and how it compares with those of typically developing adolescents. In our recently published article, we investigated the circumscribed interests of adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Early interventions for children with Autism are supported by the best evidence available to date and yet they don't guarantee to help every child that receives a diagnosis. Why do some children benefit from these interventions and others don't? This is an important question as not only are interventions expensive, but they also require a lot of time and effort from children and parents.
In our new article, we reviewed the evidence for differences in learning and explore how learning strategies could be tailored to the unique abilities of children on the spectrum. We suggest that differences in treatment response may be due to differences in how individuals with ASD respond to, and learn form, reinforcers in the environment.
We're excited to spend a few days in New Orleans at the Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society. Ivy will be presenting her work on Frontostriatal Structural Connectivity in Autism Spectrum Disorder tomorrow, Thursday, February 2, 9:30-10:45 am (Poster # 58).
Dr. Signe Bray's work on brain development in children and adolescents is now online in Human Brain Mapping! Click here to read the abstract.
Data sharing in neuroimaging allows groups from all over the world to make use of unique data sets. We have a new paper out today that used anatomical, arterial spin labeling and functional data from the 'Pediatric Template of Brain Perfusion' study (http://palgrave.nature.com/articles/sdata20153). We found that although there were similar declining age effects on gray matter volume and perfusion, the spatial patterns of these changes were largely independent. This means that multimodal imaging is necessary to get a clear and accurate picture of how the brain matures, and also that models linking changes in volume with changes in blood flow and function are more complex than one might expect.
...for receiving an AIHS Postdoctoral Fellowship!
Congratulations to Dennis on passing his PhD candidacy exam!
Congratulations to Manu on winning 3rd place for best presentation at Neuron Night! She gave an interactive talk about her new research project: "The Effect of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Reward Learning in Autism Spectrum Disorder."
Thank you to the Branch Out Neurological Foundation (http://www.branchoutfoundation.com/) for organizing a great event!
Manu will be giving a talk about her current research on: "Neural correlates of variable learning in adolescents with ASD." You can hear her talk on November 15th from 1:00-2:45PM in SDCC 2 (Session #: 578).
Keelin will be presenting a poster on: "Typical emotional processing of special interest stimuli in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder." You can meet her on November 13th from 2:00-3:00PM.
...for winning this year's NSERC CREATE i3T Studentship and Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Master’s Scholarship!
Congratulations to Keelin for receiving the award for an outstanding poster presentation at this year's Brain Development conference organized by NeuroDevNet.
Her poster showed data from her master thesis on 'Typical emotional processing of special interest stimuli in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder.'
This summer, we went for a (steep? not so steep?) hike along the Ford Knoll Trail and had a delicious barbeque/picnic by Forgot Me Not Pond in beautiful K-Country.
The perfect farewell for our summer students and a well-deserved day off for all of us, especially for Keelin who successfully defended her M.Sc. thesis the day before! Congrats, again!
Christiane’s work on attention development in the brain is now online in Cerebral Cortex (click here or on the picture below to get your free copy).
We investigated age-related changes in attention skills in 4-7 year old children and how they are reflected in the changes in an important attention network in the brain. We found for one, that as expected, all the types of attention skills showed age-related improvements - the 7-year-olds were better at it than the 4-year-olds. Interestingly, we also found that being better in one specific attention skill went hand-in-hand with increased cross-talk within nodes of the brain network independent of the children’s age: selective attention. Selective attention is the type of attention that you need when you play "Where's Waldo?”. It is also important for reading or math skills, and the way it develops has implications for children who aren’t as good at it than others.
Christiane will be presenting a poster about her current research on: "Cerebellar functional connectivity predicts childhood ASD and ADHD traits".
Presentation time is Tuesday, June 28, from 12.45 to 14.45, though the poster will be up both Monday and Tuesday. Her poster # is 1107.
We're very happy that Manu's work on shape and volume differences in Autism Spectrum Disorder is now published in Neuropsychopharmacology. Feel free to check it out here or by clicking on the picture below. It's open access.
We collaborated with Dr. Mallar Chakravarty's group at McGill University who developed the MAGeT Brain algorithm for automated image segmentation. This allowed us to investigate volumetric and shape differences in a large pool of participants (N=757) taken from the Autism Brain Imaging Database Exchange.
We're very happy to have four motivated summer students in our lab this year! Kristina and Logan (middle and right, both Health Sciences) will be helping out with our ASD Learning study for which they will be using DTI and EEG. Anish (left, UAlberta) and Prayash (Biological Sciences) will be working with Christiane on our visual attention study.
Manu will be presenting her fMRI project at the 38th International Symposium of the Groupe de recherche sur le systeme nerveux central (GRSNC), "The neuroscience of decision-making".
Poster # 5, May 2 and 3, 12:45 - 14:00
...for receiving funding by the NSERC CREATE i3T Program! Christiane was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship and Dennis a graduate studentship.
The CREATE I3T Program is intended to prepare trainees to be future academic and commercial leaders, by providing them with cutting-edge technical skills and knowledge in Medical Imaging. Read more about it here.
Kari will be presenting a poster at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. You can meet her at the poster session on April 3rd, between 5-7 pm, where she will be presenting her work about associations between superior longitudinal fasciculus structure and attention skills in early childhood.