Abstract

EJH Jones, L Mason, J Begum Ali, C van den Boomen, R Braukmann, E Cauvet, E Demurie, RS Hessels, EK Ward, S Hunnius, S Bolte, P Tomalski, C Kemner, P Warreyn, H Roeyers, J Buitelaar, T Falck-Ytter, T Charman, MH Johnson (2019) Eurosibs: Towards robust measurement of infant neurocognitive predictors of autism across Europe Infant Behavior and Development



Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social communication skills and flexible behaviour. Developing new treatment approaches for ASD requires early identification of the factors that influence later behavioural outcomes. One fruitful research paradigm has been the prospective study of infants with a first degree relative with ASD, who have around a 20% likelihood of developing ASD themselves. Early findings have identified a range of candidate neurocognitive markers for later ASD such as delayed attention shifting or neural responses to faces, but given the early stage of the field most sample sizes are small and replication attempts remain rare. The Eurosibs consortium is a European multisite neurocognitive study of infants with an older sibling with ASD conducted across nine sites in five European countries. In this manuscript, we describe the selection and standardization of our common neurocognitive testing protocol. We report data quality assessments across sites, showing that neurocognitive measures hold great promise for cross-site consistency in diverse populations. We discuss our approach to ensuring robust data analysis pipelines and boosting future reproducibility. Finally, we summarise challenges and opportunities for future multi-site research efforts.