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Parents Make Donations to National Autism Association for Cutting-Edge Research
Date:9/25/2008

NIXA, Mo., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Autism Association (NAA) has recently received generous donations totaling $30,000 for its Progress Research Fund from fellow parents within the autism community.

NAA expresses its sincere gratitude to Bruce and Kelly Vanicek for their $10,000 donation, as well as a contribution of $20,000 made by two other parents for a study being conducted by Gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield. NAA research chair and founding board member Lyn Redwood commented, "Dr. Wakefield was one of the first to take the concerns of parents who reported that their children suffered with gastrointestinal problems seriously." She added, "We are honored to be able to support Dr. Wakefield as he continues to pursue the etiology and effective treatments for those diagnosed with autism."

NAA's main research focus is on the environmental component of autism spectrum disorders, an often times overlooked area of investigation. The goal of NAA's Progress Research Fund is to financially support studies that hold real promise for understanding mechanisms of injury and restoring health to those with an autism diagnosis.

The organization is currently funding research into the effects of mercury exposure in the brains of infant primates. The primary investigator is Dr. Thomas Burbacher, a University of Washington researcher whose earlier work found that exposure to Thimerosal, the ethylmercury-based vaccine preservative, resulted in inorganic mercury deposits in the brain that were twice the amount of those following exposure to equal amounts of methyl mercury, the type commonly found in fish. Previous research has documented that inorganic mercury is associated with a neuro-inflammatory process, recently documented to also occur in the brains of children diagnosed with autism. Inorganic mercury has no discernable half-life and, once trapped in the brain, continues to damage brain cells.

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SOURCE National Autism Association
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