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Autism Studies Presented at Mid-Atlantic Research Consortium Meeting
Date:5/8/2009

y when recognizing people's faces.

In a third broad area, basic science studies, Mary Blue, Ph.D., of Kennedy Krieger Institute, presented the results of animal studies that shed light on how autism operates in humans. By altering the flow of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain, Blue showed that mice behaved less socially, had impairments in fine motor functions and increased repetitive behaviors. The changed animal behaviors, said Blue, shared similarities with some behaviors seen in children with ASDs, and greater knowledge of the relationship between brain chemicals and behavior might suggest future treatments for children.

Melissa Parisi, M.D., Ph.D., of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development, provided a federal government perspective on the research findings. Parisi, who heads up the NIH branch that supports the various IDDRC programs, noted that all the centers are multidisciplinary, with an emphasis on quickly translating scientific discoveries into clinical treatments. Referring specifically to autism research within NIH, Parisi added, the overall plan "addresses overarching questions for families, such as what treatments work, and what does the future hold?"

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking second in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents.
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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