Data will enable researchers to identify brain markers of autism and better understand brain connectivity in this disorder.

New York, NY, July 15, 2016 – The Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE), a groundbreaking international collaboration that has transformed brain imaging research for autism, has released the second edition of its online database of brain scans. Referred to as ABIDE-II, this data will enable researchers to identify brain markers of autism and better understand brain connectivity in the disorder. ABIDE functions through free aggregation and open sharing of brain imaging scans of individuals with autism.

ABIDE-II is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and led by Adriana Di Martino, MD, Assistant Professor and Research Director of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center; and Michael P. Milham, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for the Developing Brain at the Child Mind Institute and Director of the Center for Biomedical Imaging and Neuromodulation at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research.

“Since its initial release in 2012, peer-reviewed papers using ABIDE data have been published at a rate of approximately one per month,” said Dr. Milham. “This is incredibly gratifying and shows how important this data truly is. Open access to large-scale datasets such as ABIDE create an environment and culture that foster reproducible science and collaborative discovery.”

ABIDE-II achieves multiple goals. The first is to increase the scale of autism brain imaging research; ABIDE-II doubles the size of the online database, to 2200 individuals. Second, the project broadens the information available; ABIDE-II includes data on mental disorders that commonly co-occur with autism. Finally, the project provides access to rare longitudinal data in autism, obtained by scanning the same individuals over time and revealing age-related changes in brain function.

“We’re honored to partner on this important work,” said Child Mind Institute President Harold S. Koplewicz, MD. “I know this data will lead to important breakthroughs in the field and ultimately change lives.”

The ABIDE-II effort builds on the model of global collaboration for open science established by the 1000 Functional Connectomes Project and its International Neuroimaging Data-sharing Initiative (INDI), founded by Dr. Milham. To date, ABIDE II has aggregated new datasets from 17 sites — nine charter institutions and six new members — overall donating 1044 datasets from 557 individuals with ASD and 587 controls (age range: 5-64 years). In addition to the imaging data, the participating labs have provided key diagnostic and clinical information, including intelligence tests, psychiatric assessments and other selected questionnaires.