The American Journal of Psychiatry has recognized USTAR Professor
Guido Gerig’s study on infant autism as one of its top papers in 2012.
Gerig’s study is one of seven articles the journal’s editors found
“particularly interesting and important” in its “2012 in Review”

A faculty member in the University of Utah’s Scientific Computing and
Imaging (SCI) Institute, Gerig and his colleagues studied 92 infants at
risk for autism by using diffusion tensor imaging. This technique
provides three-dimensional images in the brain of an infant—in
particular, white matter fiber bundles and connectivity that show
changes as a function of time. The team used these data to compare brain
development in the 28 infants who ultimately met criteria for autism
with the 64 who did not. Their findings suggest signs of autism appear
in the brain before presenting as clinical symptoms. What’s more, these
signs continue to change throughout infancy.

“The focus right now is early detection,” says Gerig. “We want to be
able to diagnose autism as early as six months. This is the only study
that studies high-risk babies and follows them over time.”

These findings, journal editor Daniel J. Pine says, increase the
possibly of “interrupting this evolving developmental cascade and
possibly even preventing the onset of autism.”

Gerig and his multidisciplinary team are working on research to help
improve the lives of children with autism. Gerig joined the University
of Utah as a USTAR professor in the SCI Institute in 2007 and is the
Director of the Utah Center for Neuroimage Analysis.

Read the original article in the Journal of American Psychiatry.

Learn more about Gerig’s research on early brain development.

This is collaborative research of Guido Gerig’s Utah research group as
part of the NiH/NICHD-funded multi-site ACE-IBIS network (Autism Centers
of Excellence – Infant Brain Imaging Study), with principal investigator
Dr. Joseph Piven, UNC Chapel Hill.

Find more information on the collaboration on UNC’s website and at the website for the Infant Brain Imaging Study.