IDDRC Areas of Excellence
Autism research has been a major strength at UCLA for decades, with the earliest work on effective treatments from Ivar Lovaas
performed here as well the first characterization of autism as a social communication disorder rather than a result of
dysfunctional maternal bonding, work spearheaded by Marian Sigman.
The autism imaging program has also grown substantially over the years. Current funded imaging projects include:
The autism neuroimaging studies are interwoven with our autism genetics program directed by Dan Geschwind as well as a wide range of treatment programs,
from medication trials to social skills interventions to joint attention training.
- An examination of the effects of autism risk polymorphisms on functional brain activity and connectivity (PI Bookheimer, Co-PI Geschwind)
- a Center grant project (PI McCracken) examining the effects of Risperidone on brain function in children with severe repetitive behaviors in the autism spectrum
- a Center grant project (PI Dapretto) examining mirror-neuron activity in high functioning children with autism and their relation to autism phenotypes
- a project (PI Woods) examining the effect of treatment for anxiety reduction on brain activation
- a center grant project evaluating brain differences in children with autism who received intensive behavioral treatment as toddlers
- a project examining the effects of restricted interests and social stimuli on reward-based learning and brain activity, in relation to the OXTR autism risk gene