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Autism Speaks awards $770,000 for gastrointestinal research in autism spectrum disorders
Date:4/13/2011

New York, N.Y. (April 14, 2011) Recognizing that gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction affects many children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced a major Suzanne and Bob Wright Trailblazer Award for research into the biological mechanisms of GI disorders in ASD. Paul Ashwood, Ph.D., of the M.I.N.D. Institute of UC Davis, the lead Principal Investigator and his collaborators Alessio Fasano, M.D. at University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Paul Patterson, Ph.D. of the California Institute of Technology will receive $769,943 over a two year period to investigate the underlying biology of GI dysfunction in children with ASD, and in an animal model, test a novel probiotic therapy to restore function of the GI system.

Autism Speaks recently launched its Trailblazer Awards to support highly novel "out of the box" autism-relevant research. "GI problems are a common and distressing concern for many children and adolescents with ASD and their families," explained Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D. "These conditions are not only a strain on the health of the children affected, GI problems can seriously interfere with their ability to participate in and benefit from activities of daily life, education and therapeutic activities."

"This Trailblazer award provides us with a fantastic opportunity to delve deeper to understand the mechanisms that may underlie altered GI function in some children with autism," stated Paul Ashwood, Ph.D, Principal Investigator. "We will also explore the very exciting possibility that novel therapies could address this GI dysfunction in model systems."

Autism is behaviorally defined by impairments in communication, social interactions, and repetitive stereotypic behaviors. Many children with ASD also experience GI symptoms such as irregular bowel movements and abdominal pain. Seve
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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Autism Speaks awards $770,000 for gastrointestinal research in autism spectrum disorders
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