Brain changes in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders are due to an interaction of “hardware” (structural changes) and “software” (functional changes) that are influenced by body physiology. Behaviors defining autism and other conditions can come from various versions of these interactions. Treatment depends on a) identifying biologically distinct subgroups and b) identifying “software” that we can modify when it makes sense to increase constructive options. We are interested in alleviating the components of suffering of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders so the creativity can more fully express itself. Some children are significantly improving their quality of life; this mandates studying and optimizing treatments now.
TRANSCEND stands for Treatment Research and NeuroSCience Evaluation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. We aim to contribute to identifying and improving treatment approaches by optimizing measurements that can identify treatment targets and detect changes from treatment. Our program includes:
TRANSCEND Brain Research Program
TRANSCEND Body Biomarker Program
TRANSCEND Treatment Research Program
TRANSCEND-LADDERS Whole Baby Study of Infants at High Risk for Autism
TRANSCEND, based at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging of Massachusetts General Hospital-Charlestown and with a second location at the MGHfC Lurie Family Autism Center in Lexington, MA, is a collaborative network of similarly thinking researchers who are linking their efforts in a common framework to unite measures across multiple levels including brain structure (MRI), brain function (EEG, MEG, NIRS, fMRI, autonomic measures), metabolism (metabolomics, biochemistry, immunology, toxic body burden) along with genetic and behavioral measures.
Our program is based on the model that by coordinating and integrating FUNCTIONAL as well as STRUCTURAL MEASURES across BIOLOGICAL and COGNITIVE levels while investigating processes of change, improvement and recovery, the full potential of TRANSLATIONAL research can be achieved for neurodevelopmental disorders.