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Imaging the Brain in Autism

by Manuel F. Casanova Ayman S. El-Baz Jasjit S. Suri

Data compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates an alarming and continuing increase in the prevalence of autism. Despite intensive research during the last few decades, autism remains a behavioral defined syndrome wherein diagnostic criteria lack in construct validity. And, contrary to other conditions like diabetes and hypertension, there are no biomarkers for autism. However, new imaging methods are changing the way we think about autism, bringing us closer to a falsifiable definition for the condition, identifying affected individuals earlier in life, and recognizing different subtypes of autism. The imaging modalities discussed in this book emphasize the power of new technology to uncover important clues about the condition with the hope of developing effective interventions. Imaging the Brain in Autism was created to examine autism from a unique perspective that would emphasize results from different imaging technologies. These techniques show brain abnormalities in a significant percentage of patients, abnormalities that translate into aberrant functioning and significant clinical symptomatology. It is our hope that this newfound understanding will make the field work collaborative and provide a path that minimizes technical impediments.

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