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Aging in Autism

August 25, 2022 - August 25, 2025

This project focuses on neurobiological aspects of aging in ASD that has promise of an immediate and direct impact on several of critical issues for this group. We hypothesize that individuals with ASD will have an exacerbation of deficits beyond normal aging, as evidenced in significantly lower scores on tests affected by aging (e.g., executive) along with neuroanatomical markers of dysfunction, and relative preservation of function sub served by more posterior brain regions (semantic memory and local detail processing). Our objective is to produce comprehensive cognitive, behavioral, and neuroimaging data on a set of well-characterized older ASD individuals who can be used as a reference for clinical diagnosis, therapeutics, and care plans.

What are the goals of the study?

As the first diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) adults are aging, it is important that we understand the impact of aging on autistic adults so that we may inform strategies for independent living and improved health. By studying the aging brain in autistic adults and non-autistic adults, we can create strategies to inform interventions and improve health.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Participants are asked to completed a 90 minute MRI that includes some functional tasks and some resting. Participants are also asked to complete about 3-4 hours of cognitive testing. Participants over the age of 40 are invited to come back every 2 years to repeat the testing.

How will this help families?

We are hoping to inform strategies for independent living and improved health for autistic adults as they age. This will hopefully alleviate some burden parents and caregivers carry as they are concerned about the futures of the autistic individuals they currently support.

Eligibility Criteria

We are interested in adults 40 years of age and older with ASD, those who suspect they have ASD, and those who don’t suspect they have ASD. We require the following: adults have a minimum IQ of 70, are right-handed, and have had no significant head trauma (loss of consciousness as a result of head injury in the last 10 years).

Contact Information

Shanna Delaney – sdelane3@asu.edu

 

Research Study Website
Autism and Brain Aging Lab

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