Studies that focus on the biological markers of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) complement those conducted on behavioural markers. Charting biological markers, such as physical characteristics, hormones, genetic features or brain function, will not only help in facilitating a more objective, and earlier, diagnosis of the ASDs but, importantly, will enhance our understanding of the biological basis of these conditions.
Do the brains of young infants who are later diagnosed with ASD show any early signs of differences? Our investigations in this area are trying to find an answer by measuring brain function in infant siblings of children with an ASD, as they are considered to be at high genetic risk of developing an ASD. We are comparing brain function of those siblings who will later be assessed as having an ASD with that of low-risk siblings.