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Largest Study Ever to Investigate Risk Factors of Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities Will Begin Enrolling Families in Bay Area and Across U.S.
Date:11/14/2007

egular screening of children for autism has raised the community awareness of the importance of early diagnosis of autism in order to help children and families," said Dr. Marc Lerner, MD, FAAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics' Chair of State Government Affairs for California. "What is now needed is research like the SEED study to understand the reasons behind the dramatic growth in the diagnosis of autism, which will help us to address prevention and treatment."

Factors that will be studied include family medical history; genetics; and socio-demographic, lifestyle and environmental factors. Study information will be obtained by conducting interviews and exams, reviewing medical records, collecting cheek swabs, and blood and hair sampling, according to Pilar Bernal, MD, medical director of Kaiser Permanente's Regional Program for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Kaiser Permanente maintains two autism centers -- one in San Jose, Calif., and another in Rancho Cordova, Calif., a suburb of Sacramento.

Kaiser Permanente's Northern California Regional Program for Autism Spectrum Disorders provides evidence-based care and specializes in early detection and treatment. Planning for the Northern California regional program began in 2001 and clinicians began opening centers of excellence in 2004. The program uses a multidisciplinary approach that includes pediatric care; evaluation, diagnosis and treatment; child psychiatry and child psychology; neurology; genetics; gastroenterology; nutrition, speech and language; and occupational therapy. The Northern California Regional Program provides education and support for parents through interventions that are evidence based; educates providers who work with children throughout Santa Clara County; and coordinates services for children and their families to ensure that services are family-centered and culturally competent.

Funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other SEED study sites are the Colo
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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