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

an excellent chance of untangling some of the complex causes of autism."

The UNC-Chapel Hill brain imaging study will not only examine the brain but also behavioral changes through MRI imaging and behavioral assessments at 6, 12 and 24 months of age. This study builds on two key research findings from the researchers involved in the IBIS Network. Subject children for this study are determined through the IBIS Network participants including clinical partners Washington University in St Louis, University of Washington in Seattle and Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as the Montreal Neurological Institute serving as data coordinating center). Depicted at http://www.unchealthcare.org/site/newsroom/autism, one Clayton North Carolina family participates in this study hoping to find that missing piece to the autism puzzle.

UNC researchers have previously found that children with autism have larger brains, from five to 10 percent larger at two years of age than children without autism, and this enlargement or overgrowth of the brain starts around the end of a child's first year of life. Also at the end of the first year of life, behavioral researchers led by Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, M.D., from University of Alberta in Edmonton, have identified the onset of the social symptoms associated with autism.,

"The generous support from Autism Speaks allows us to undertake an unprecedented study of the genetic underpinnings of early behaviors as they become evident in infants and toddlers with autism and will allow us to study the genetic basis for early changes in brain volume and neural circuitry concurrent with the emergence of autistic behavior," explained Dr. Piven Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities who directs IBIS at UNC-Chapel Hill. "It is our hope that this study will lead to a much deeper understanding of the pathophysiology underlying the development of autism, and will eventual
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert

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