The Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is part of the ASD-Net consortium: Autism Spectrum Disorders across the lifespan – from a better etiological understanding, through valid diagnosis, to more effective health care
As part of “research network on mental diseases” a new research network (ASD net – Autism Spectrum Disorder across the lifespan: From a better etiological understanding, through valid diagnosis, to more effective health care) established recently. Within the ASD net we are focusing on diagnostics, treatment and health care in the field of Autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The research network consists of six university partners: Dresden, Berlin, Bremen, Leipzig, Mannheim und Marburg (http://www.asd-net.de/).
Prof. Dr. med. Veit Rößner director of our clinic is the head of a project (http://www.asd-net.de/?page_id=73), in which he in correspondence with his research associate Dr. phil. Nicole Wolff aims to develop and evaluate an economical and valid new screening tool. The new screening tool aimed not only in the establishment of a reliable ASD diagnosis but also in the determination of whether children or adolescents can receive an ASD diagnosis or the diagnosis of other complex behavioral disorders like for example attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a speech disorder, a mental handicap or anxiety disorder.
Prof. Dr. med. Stefan Ehrlich and his research associate Dipl. Psych. Joseph King (both from the Translational Developmental Neuroscience Lab) are also taking part in the ASD net, working in close cooperation with Prof. Dr. Peter Kirsch from the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim. In addition to clinical parameters of success they analyze with the help of functional magnet resonance imaging (fMRI) how the combination of oxytocin and social skill training (SST) modulates behavior and cognition and whether specific neurobiological mechanisms underlie the treatment.
Error processing and implicit learning in autism
Extensive developmental disorders like autism manifest themselves in impairments in social, communicative and motor abilities. These deficits are particularly conspicuous in children with childhood onset autism. To acquire these abilities, cognitive control- and correction processes in the brain, e.g. error processing, play an important part. Besides that, the so called implicit learning, the ability to recognize coherences and regularities without a particular intention to learn, or a conscious attentional focus, is also important. Studies have shown, that these processes are impaired in autistic individuals. Reasons therefor remain however unclear.
We investigate how error processing and implicit learning in children with childhood onset/atypical autism (age 12-17) are altered in comparison to healthy children.
Research Group: AG Beste
Neuronal networks of information and emotion processing
Autism spectrum disorders are among the most frequent psychiatric disorders in youth and adulthood. They are characterized by deficits in communication and social interaction as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors. Impairments in motor skills are common.
To date, our knowledge about the mechanisms and causes of autism spectrum disorders is limited. Even though autism is often perceived as a disorder of childhood, it persists over the entire life span. Approximately 50% of the people affected are of average or above-average intelligence (high-functioning autism).
Currently, we are investigating neuronal correlates of impairments in processing of social information and in reward processes in adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and supplementary questionnaires.
Reserach Group: AG Ehrlich