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MEG of Language Impairment in Autism 

Language impairment is a devastating feature of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD); however, presence and severity of language impairment varies across the spectrum. The purpose of this project was to use brain imaging (magnetoencephalography) to identify the temporal stage of language processing, and the neural substrates thereof, that depart from typical development in children with autism. Using a battery of auditory processing and linguistic stimuli, the investigator sought to identify neural signatures or endophenotypes, with which to more specifically characterize language impairment in autism. Additionally, the use of characteristic brain-level endophenotypes was explored as a mechanism for tightening the connection between experimental and clinical laboratories. Experimental models of autism might be evaluated in terms of such electrophysiological (as well as behavioral) traits associated with ASD and thus provide a more specific approach for understanding the underlying neurobiology. Furthermore, such specific brain-level phenotyping may offer more specific measures for ongoing genomic efforts at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and elsewhere.