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Neuroimaging in autism spectrum disorder: Brain structure and function across the lifespan


Over the past decade, in-vivo MRI studies have provided many invaluable insights into the neural substrates underlying autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is now known to be associated with neurodevelopmental variations in brain anatomy, functioning, and connectivity. These systems-level features of ASD pathology seem to develop differentially across the human lifespan so that the cortical abnormalities that occur in children with ASD differ from those noted at other stages of life. Thus, investigation of the brain in ASD poses particular methodological challenges, which must be addressed to enable the comparison of results across studies. Novel analytical approaches are also being developed to facilitate the translation of findings from the research to the clinical setting. In the future, the insights provided by human neuroimaging studies could contribute to biomarker development for ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, and to new approaches to diagnosis and treatment.

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