Identifying markers for treatment response to cognitive training in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Institution: University of California, Davis

Investigator(s): Julie Schweitzer, Ph.D., Marjorie Solomon, Ph.D., David Hessl, Ph.D., Andrea Schneider, Ph.D.

Program: Cogmed JM/RM

Background & Aim: Problems with attention, working memory and executive functioning are highly prevalent and impairing in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The problems with attention also negatively impact the success of traditional interventions for ASD and may serve as a behavioral marker to predict treatment response. Currently, pharmacological agents are the only treatments shown to address attentional/executive functioning impairments; however, a significant number of children with ASD experience significant side effects or do not respond to these medications. Fragile X Syndrome is also associated with working memory and attentional impairments, including correlations between levels of FMR1 protein (FMRP) expression and brain activity in individuals with FXS during working memory performance. This project will assess 1) if the degree and type (i.e., inattention versus hyperactivity/impulsivity) of ADHD parent ratings of children with ASD and 2) FXS versus idiopathic ASD status can predict response to a Cogmed.

Population & Sample Size: N = 48 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, with and without Fragile X Syndrome, ages 8-18 years of age

Design: Pilot