Repetitive behaviors frequently impair functioning in school, socially, and behaviorally, yet our understanding of the neural basis of stereotype and repetitive behaviors in ASD and their treatment is limited. Recently, risperidone, a newer atypical antipsychotic, was observed to strongly reduce stereotypic behaviors in a sample of children with autism, and this improvement was maintained for up to 6 months of continued treatment.
The proposed study attempts to deepen our understanding of repetitive behaviors in ASD and inform treatment by examining the effects associated with risperidone treatment using functional MRI.
Our Hypothesis: We anticipate that successful treatment will be associated with greater normalization of the activity of key brain areas with risperidone.
Our Research Aims:
- Examine the benefits of risperidone administration on repetitive behaviors in a sample of children and adolescents with ASD and high levels of repetitive behavior assigned to risperidone or placebo in a controlled trial.
- Describe the effects of risperidone exposure on brain blood flow in children and adolescents with ASD using non-invasive fMRI perfomed on a subset of subjects in the clinical trial.
- To determine whether risperidone treatment "normalizes" brain activity in key brain areas in children and adolescents with ASD compared to placebo-treated ASD children and to normal controls, as measured by fMRI.
We invite your questions and interest in our research here at UCLA!