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Autism Speaks funds $5 million to studies on genetic and environmental risk factors for autism
Date:2/26/2009

NEW YORK, NY (February 26,2009) Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced that it has committed $5 million to investigate genetic and environmental risk factors for autism. The project will expand and link two large-scale, multi-site studies focusing on a collaborative prospective study of more than 2000 infant siblings of children with autism, who are at higher genetic risk for developing the disorder. Many of these infants will be followed from close to conception through early childhood. In a subset of high risk infants, detailed measures of brain development will be taken using state-of-the-art neuroimaging. This support will allow these two projects to expand data collection in each project during critical periods of development, including genetic, neurobiological, diagnostic and environmental information on families recruited. These studies will provide new insights into the genetic and environmental risk factors that contribute to autism, as well as contributing data useful to studies searching for the earliest possible diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This funding, made possible by an anonymous donation to Autism Speaks, is expanding two complementary multi-site, network studies both Autism Centers of Excellence funded through the National Institute of Health. The funding for this project represents one of the largest public-private partnerships focused on understanding the causes of autism to date. The Autism Speaks funding will support at least five years of these studies. A number of the researchers involved in these two projects are also members of the Autism Speaks- and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)-supported High Risk Baby Siblings Research Consortium. This cross-project collaboration represents a major expansion of the scope of the individual projects, and provides evidence of the enhancement of the interdisciplinary nature of projects o
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert

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