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Examining the Federal Response to Autism Spectrum Disorders: Government Oversight Committee Meets Today

Date Published: 
May 20, 2014
Abstract: 

Today at 9:00am the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform meets for a hearing entitled "Examining the Federal Response to Autism Spectrum Disorders". A live stream of the hearing is available at http://oversight.house.gov/hearing/examining-federal-response-autism-spe...

Click here for a letter to the commitee from ASF President Alison Singer.

It Takes Brains: Autism BrainNet registration site launches

Source: 
Medical Xpress
Date Published: 
May 16, 2014
Abstract: 

The Simons Foundation, Autism Speaks and the Autism Science Foundation today announced the launch of the Autism BrainNet registration site, It Takes Brains (www.takesbrains.org). Autism BrainNet is a consortium of academic sites funded collaboratively by the Simons Foundation and Autism Speaks to collect, store and distribute brain tissue resources necessary for researchers to understand the underlying neurobiology and genetics of autism.

Tuberous Sclerosis, Fragile X Share immune Changes

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
May 6, 2014
Abstract: 

Two autism-related disorders — fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex — share disruptions in the immune system despite major differences in the individual genes affected, reports a study in Molecular Autism. An abnormally regulated immune system is linked to some forms of autism, but exactly how genetic changes in the immune system contribute to autism is unclear.

Risperidone Use in Children with Autism Carries Heavy Risks

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
April 28, 2014
Abstract: 

Risperidone, the first drug approved for children with autism and the most widely used, improves some children’s behavior but can have severe side effects, suggests an informal analysis of the drug’s use. These side effects can include weight gain, drowsiness, hormonal changes and, in rare cases, involuntary movements.

Autism: What We Know. What is Next?

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
May 1, 2014
Abstract: 

This project begins a conversation concerning what we know and what we need to learn about autism and related developmental disorders. SFARI’s chief scientist, Gerald Fischbach, wrote the original draft, with the intent of providing an outline of recent research advances and suggestions about next steps. The document incorporates several different methodologies, ranging from molecular biology to behavior, in hopes of building bridges between them. We hope it will serve as a valuable resource for experts in autism research and also as a helpful guide for those just entering the field.

Neither the claims about what we know nor the questions raised are complete lists. Autism research is advancing rapidly. In our hopes that “What we know” will become a living document, we invite you to suggest additions, deletions, corrections or wholesale rearrangements. Please email your comments to WWK@sfari.org. And please check back for future iterations of this document as it expands and evolves.

The PDF version of this document can be found here. 

Release of 2013 IACC Strategic Plan Update

Source: 
IACC
Abstract: 

The 2013 Strategic Plan Update provides an accounting and overview of the funding and scientific progress in the autism field since the release of the first IACC Strategic Plan in 2009. The 2013 Update describes recent advances in the scientific understanding of ASD, provides information on the progress of each of the 78 IACC Strategic Plan objectives, highlights areas of need and opportunity, and identifies overarching themes that will be important for future advancement of ASD research. In this final version, you will find a single, streamlined table for each Strategic Plan Question that displays both cumulative 5-year funding and notes regarding progress of each objective, which we thought would be helpful to readers.

The 2013 IACC Strategic Plan Update and related materials are available on the IACC website, www.iacc.hhs.gov:

Convergence of Genes and Cellular Pathways Dysregulated in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Cell
Date Published: 
April 24, 2014
Abstract: 

A substantial proportion of risk for developing autism spectrum disorders (ASD) resides in genes that are part of specific, interconnected biological pathways, according to researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who conducted a broad study of almost 2,500 families in the United States and throughout the world. The study was published in The American Journal of Human Genetics. The researchers reported numerous copy number variations (CNVS) affecting genes, and found that these genes are part of similar cellular pathways involved in brain development, synapse function and chromatin regulation. Individuals with ASD carried more of these CNVs than individuals in the control group, and some of them were inherited while others were only present in offspring with ASD.

SFARI's Wendy Chung at TED2014: What We Know About Autism

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
April 28, 2014
Abstract: 

Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative director of clinical research, Wendy Chung, addressed the TED2014 Conference in Vancouver, Canada, on March 18, delivering a speech called What We Know About Autism.

The speech, geared toward a lay audience during Autism Awareness Month, is clear, informative and highly accessible, and addresses a host of current questions and concerns in the mind of the public: Is autism an epidemic? Do vaccines cause autism? What is the state of autism science? Are treatments on the horizon?

What We Know About Autism ends with a call to action, urging families impacted by autism to join the Interactive Autism Network, an online community of families that provides them with current information on autism resources and scientific advances. IAN also provides families with the opportunity to contribute to research and clinical trials directed by qualified scientists.

Department of Defense Autism Research Program Funding Opportunities for Fiscal Year 2014

Source: 
Department of Defense Autism Research Program
Date Published: 
April 28, 2014
Abstract: 

Defense Health Program
Department of Defense Autism Research Program
Funding Opportunities for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14)

The FY14 Defense Appropriations Act provides $6 million (M) to the Department of Defense Autism Research Program (ARP) to support innovative, high-impact autism spectrum disorder research. This program is administered by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) through the Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).

Defense Health Program
Department of Defense Autism Research Program
Funding Opportunities for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14)
 
 
The FY14 Defense Appropriations Act provides $6 million (M) to the Department of Defense Autism Research Program (ARP) to support innovative, high-impact autism spectrum disorder research.  This program is administered by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) through the Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).
 
 
 
Clinical Trial Award – Pre-application due date June 10, 2014, if invited to submit full application it is due October 7, 2014
 
Investigators at or above the level of Associate Professor (or equivalent)
·       Supports research with the potential to have a major impact on the treatment and/or management of ASD.
·       Preliminary data relevant to the proposed project are required.
Pre-application is required; application submission is by invitation only.
·    Behavioral and other non-pharmacological therapies
·    Pharmacological treatments in autism or well-defined subgroups of autism (e.g., genetic, phenotypic, co-occurring conditions)
·    Dissemination/Implementation of established, efficacious behavioral interventions
·    Therapies to alleviate conditions co-occurring with ASD (e.g., sleep disturbances, gastro-intestinal issues, aggression, depression, anxiety)
·    The Maximum funding for the entire period of performance is $1,000,000 in direct costs (plus indirect costs)
Maximum period of performance is 5 years
 
Idea Development Award - Pre-application due date June 10, 2014, if invited to submit full application it is due October 7, 2014
 
Investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent)
·       Supports the development of innovative, high-impact ideas that advance the understanding of ASD and ultimately lead to improved outcomes.
·       Preliminary data are required.
·       Multiple Principal Investigator (PI) Option:  Up to three investigators may collaborate on a single application, each of whom will be recognized as a PI and receive a separate award.
Pre-application is required; application submission is by invitation only.
·     Environmental risk factors
·     Mechanisms of heterogeneous clinical expression or response to treatment of ASD, excluding new gene discovery
·     Mechanisms underlying conditions co-occurring with ASD (e.g., sleep disturbances, gastro-intestinal issues, aggression, depression, anxiety)
·     Novel therapeutics using valid preclinical models
Psychosocial factors promoting success in key transitions to independence for individuals living with ASD
·    Maximum funding for the entire period of performance is $335,000 in direct costs (plus indirect costs)
·    For multiple PIs, the combined funding for all PIs for the entire period of performance may not exceed $335,000 in direct costs (plus indirect costs)
Maximum period of performance is 3 years
 
All applications must conform to the final Program Announcements and General Application Instructions that are available for electronic downloading from the Grants.gov website.  The application package containing the required forms for each award mechanism will also be found on Grants.gov.  A listing of all USAMRMC funding opportunities can be obtained on the Grants.gov website by performing a basic search using CFDA Number 12.420.
 
Pre-applications are required and must be submitted through the CDMRP electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP) (https://eBRAP.org).  Applications must be submitted through the federal government’s single-entry portal, Grants.gov.  Requests for email notification of the Program Announcements release may be sent to help@eBRAP.org.  Email notifications of funding opportunities are sent as a courtesy and should not be used as a sole source of notification; applicants should monitor Grants.gov for official postings of funding opportunities.
 
For more information about the ARP or other CDMRP-administered programs, please visit the CDMRP website (http://cdmrp.army.mil).
Point of Contact:
CDMRP Hel Desk
301-682-5507 
help@ebrap.org

FDA: Beware of False or Misleading Claims for Treating Autism

Source: 
FDA
Date Published: 
April 25, 2014
Abstract: 

The FDA issued a warning today that several companies are making false or misleading claims about products or therapies that claim to treat or cure autism. The so-called treatments, such as “chelation” therapy or mineral treatments, carry significant risks, FDA says. Please be aware of the FDA's warning and follow their tips to help you identify false or misleading claims.