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Army research mission focused on autism

arch to use new materials, new techniques and treatments, basically to develop new ideas to save lives," said Col. Janet R. Harris, director of CDMRP. "By creating a process where scientists researching the disease can hear the issues of those persons affected by the disease, the scientific community and the advocacy community can partner to find and fund the best research."

The process of translating Congressionally appropriated dollars into meaningful and productive research outcomes began with a Stakeholders Meeting. Nationally recognized scientists and clinicians, who are leaders in the ASD research community, along with leaders of national advocacy organizations were invited to shape the focus of the ASDRP.

"This is a very unique opportunity to allow the scientists and advocates to focus on a common cause, improving the lives of children with autism, to produce research that will lead to making a real difference," said Peter Bell, executive vice president of Autism Speaks, who also has a 14 year old son with ASD. "Parents have been playing a significant advocacy role and changing the way experts view the disorder.

After outlining their hopes for an array of potential research areas in the Stakeholders Meeting, the next step for the ASDRP was to form an Integration Panel. This group of scientists and advocates determines the vision and mission of the ASDRP and how they might craft funding mechanisms to get the research answers to improve the lives of persons with autism.

Reynolds discussed her hopes for practical research with the Integration Panel.

"Families need help," she said. "We need to determine what is causing the sleeping disorders and the GI (gastrointestinal) symptoms that present in the majority of these children. We cannot just give these kids pharmaceutical interventions for their entire lives. We need effective treatments that address the root cause of the problems. With sleep and GI function opera
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Source:US Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs


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