MU Researchers Study Facial Structures, Brain Abnormalities to Reveal Formula for Earlier Detection of Autism
Aug. 18, 2008
"COLUMBIA, Mo. – Recently, Harvard researchers reported that children with autism have a wide range of genetic defects, making it nearly impossible to develop a simple genetic test to identify the disorder. Now, University of Missouri researchers are studying 3-D imaging to reveal correlations in the facial features and brain structures of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which will enable them to develop a formula for earlier detection of the disorder. The researchers anticipate their work also will reveal genetic clues that can direct additional research. Autism is a brain disorder characterized by a complex of social, communication and behavioral difficulties...
The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Duan, in collaboration with researchers at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, a $110,000 grant to create a facial imaging system that will make identical measurements of the faces of children with ASD. Additionally, the NARSAD Foundation, the world’s leading charity dedicated to mental health research, awarded Duan the prestigious Young Investigator Award and $60,000 to fund 3-D imaging of various segments of the brain in children with ASD. The projects also are supported by a $100,000 contribution from other MU sources and $30,000 in Research Scholar Funds...."