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New Clinical Study Evaluates First Drug to Show Improvement in Subtype of Autism

Source: 
EurekAlert
Date Published: 
April 26, 2012
Abstract: 

In an important test of one of the first drugs to target core symptoms of autism, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine are undertaking a pilot clinical trial to evaluate insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in children who have SHANK3 deficiency (also known as 22q13 Deletion Syndrome or Phelan-McDermid Syndrome), a known cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Agent Reduces Autism-like Behaviors in Mice

Source: 
NIMH
Date Published: 
April 26, 2012
Abstract: 

National Institutes of Health researchers have reversed behaviors in mice resembling two of the three core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). An experimental compound, called GRN-529, increased social interactions and lessened repetitive self-grooming behavior in a strain of mice that normally display such autism-like behaviors, the researchers say.

Autism Science Foundation and UJA-Federation of New York to Launch Survey of Services Needs of Young Adults with Autism

Date Published: 
April 25, 2012
Abstract: 

ASF and UJA-Federation of New York, an organization dedicated to strengthening the Jewish people and inspiring a passion for Jewish life and learning, announced today that they will work together to launch a survey of the services needs of young adults with autism in the New York metropolitan area. The announcement was made by Travis Epes, chair of UJA-Federation’s Autism Committee at today’s fifth annual UJA-Federation of New York Hilibrand Autism Symposium.

(April 25, 2012—New York, NY)--The Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and funding autism research, and UJA-Federation of New York, an organization dedicated to strengthening the Jewish people and inspiring a passion for Jewish life and learning, announced today that they will work together to launch a survey of the services needs of young adults with autism in the New York metropolitan area. The announcement was made by Travis Epes, chair of UJA-Federation’s Autism Committee at today’s fifth annual UJA-Federation of New York Hilibrand Autism Symposium.

ASF and UJA-Federation will work with the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins University to design and implement the survey. 

The survey will gather data from three groups; independent adults 18-35 with autism, parents of independent adults with autism, and parents of adults with autism under guardianship. The goal is to learn more about what leads individuals with autism to have a meaningfully engaged day.  The survey will include questions about employment, leisure, and participation in spiritual activities.

“We want to learn specific information about the drivers of success, so that UJA-Federation and other philanthropic organizations can provide financial support to those types of activities, thus ensuring that the programs that lead to success become more widely available” said Epes.

The surveys are expected to be released in September.  To participate or to receive updates about this project, email contactus@autismsciencefoundation.org, indicating which of the three survey groups best describes your family situation.

Additional support for this project has been provided by the FAR Fund (www.farfund.org). 

About UJA-Federation of New York
For more than 90 years, UJA-Federation has been a central force for communal planning and philanthropy in the New York Jewish community. Through UJA-Federation, more than 60,000 donors pool their resources to help people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen Jewish communities around the world -- to address the issues that matter to us most as Jews and as New Yorkers, such as helping those affected by autism. Working with more than 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 60 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. Because we do the most good when we do it together. For more information, please visit our website at www.ujafedny.org.

About the Autism Science Foundation:

The Autism Science Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. In 2011, ASF was named the number one startup nonprofit in the national “Disabilities” category by nonprofit rating agency Guidestar. To learn more about the Autism Science Foundation’s programs visit www.autismsciencefoundation.org.

Contact Info:   

Dawn Crawford
Autism Science Foundation
dcrawford@autismsciencefoundation.org

Evidence behind autism drugs may be biased: study

Source: 
Reuters
Date Published: 
April 24, 2012
Abstract: 

Doctors' belief that certain antidepressants can help to treat repetitive behaviors in kids with autism may be based on incomplete information, according to a new review of published and unpublished research.

Autism science is moving 'stunningly fast'

Source: 
USA Today
Date Published: 
April 10, 2012
Abstract: 

Researchers today also say they're beginning to make progress, perhaps for the first time, in understanding the autistic brain.

What to Make of the New Autism Numbers

Source: 
Time Magazine
Date Published: 
April 9, 2012
Abstract: 

Evidence shows an increased number of autism diagnoses. There is the possibility that the increase in cases is entirely the result of better detection. Scientists must work to uncover the truth.

Study Warns Of Autism Risk For Children Of Obese Mothers

Source: 
NPR
Date Published: 
April 9, 2012
Abstract: 

A new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests that moms who are obese or have diabetes are more likely to have a child with autism or another developmental problem.

Autism Science Foundation Announces 50% Increase in Pre- & Postdoctoral Grant Funding

Date Published: 
April 6, 2012
Abstract: 

Six postdoctoral and three predoctoral grants will be awarded to student/mentor teams conducting research in autism interventions, treatment targets, early diagnosis, biomarkers, and animal models. This represents a 50% increase over last year’s six pre- & postdoctoral grants.This year, ASF will fund $330,000 in fellowship grants. In three years of operations, the Autism Science Foundation has funded $790,000 in pre- and postdoctoral grants.

Nine new projects to be funded

(April 6, 2012 -- New York, NY)-- The Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding autism research, today announced the recipients of its annual pre- and postdoctoral fellowships.  Six postdoctoral and three predoctoral grants will be awarded to student/mentor teams conducting research in autism interventions, treatment targets, early diagnosis, biomarkers, and animal models. This represents a 50% increase over last year’s six pre- & postdoctoral grants.

“Last week, when the CDC announced a 23% increase in autism prevalence, the autism community demanded more research to understand what is causing autism and to develop better treatments for individuals with autism,” said ASF Co-Founder Karen London. “We are proud to be able to increase our research funding in response to this national health crisis and we are so grateful to all our donors and volunteers who have come together to support autism research and make this funding increase possible.”

This year, ASF will fund $330,000 in fellowship grants. In three years of operations, the Autism Science Foundation has funded $790,000 in pre- and postdoctoral grants.

“ASF attracts excellent applicants across the board, and the top choices are exceptional people representing a broad set of perspectives on autism science,” said Dr. Matthew State, Chair of the ASF Scientific Advisory Board and the Donald J. Cohen Professor of Genetics and of Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center & Co-Director, Yale Program on Neurogenetics.

Two projects are co-funded by the FRAXA Research Foundation and the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation. Additional direct funding for ASF’s pre- and postdoctoral grant program was provided by Bailey’s Team and the Rural India Supporting Trust.

The following projects were selected for 2012 funding:

Postdoctoral Fellowships:

  • Inna Fishman/Ralph-Axel Muller: San Diego State University
    Examining Connectivity Patterns of Brain Networks Participating in Social Cognition in ASD
  • Karyn Heavner/Craig Newschaffer: Drexel University
    Evaluating Epidemiological and Biostatistical Challenges in the EARLI Investigation
  • Haruki Higashimori/Yongjie Yang: Tufts University
    Role of Astrocytic Glutamate Transporter GLT1 in Fragile X
    Co-funded by: FRAXA Research Foundation
  • April Levin/Charles Nelson: Children’s Hospital Boston
    Identifying Early Biomarkers for Autism Using EEG Connectivity
  • Klaus Libertus/Rebecca Landa: Kennedy Krieger Institute
    Effects of Active Motor & Social Training on Developmental Trajectories in Infants at High Risk for ASD
  • Oleksandr Shcheglovitov/Ricardo Dolmetsch: Stanford University School of Medicine
    Using Induced-Pluripotent Stem Cells to Study Phelan McDermid Syndrome
    Co-funded by: Phelan McDermid Syndrome Foundation

Predoctoral Fellowships:

  • Nina Leezenbaum/Jana Iverson: University of Pittsburgh
    Postural and Vocal Development during the First Year of Life in Infants at Heightened Biological Risk for ASD
  • Jennifer Moriuchi/Ami Klin: Emory University Marcus Autism Center
    Gender and Cognitive Profile as Predictors of Functional Outcomes in School-Aged Children with ASD
  • Rebecca Simon/Karen Bales: University of California, Davis
    The Role of Serotonin in Social Bonding in Animal Models

Learn more about the projects selected for funding here - http://www.autismsciencefoundation.org/current-grantees.

The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) is a 501(c) (3) public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding to scientists and organizations conducting autism research. ASF also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. To learn more about the Autism Science Foundation or to make a donation visit www.autismsciencefoundation.org

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Contact Info:    

Dawn Crawford
Autism Science Foundation
dcrawford@autismsciencefoundation.org

Gene Studies of Autism Point to Mutations and Parents’ Age

Source: 
New York Times
Date Published: 
April 4, 2012
Abstract: 

Three teams of scientists working independently to understand the biology of autism have for the first time homed in on several gene mutations that they agree sharply increase the chances that a child will develop the disorder, and have found further evidence that the risk increases with the age of the parents, particularly the father.

IACC Releases Its 2011 Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research

Source: 
IACC
Date Published: 
April 2, 2012
Abstract: 

On April 2, in honor of the fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day and HHS Autism Awareness Month the IACC has released its annual list of scientific advances that represent significant progress in the field.