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Autism Speaks Awards Over $1.1 Million in Research Grants

March 14, 2012

Autism Speaks is pleased to announce more than $1.1 million in research grants for six high-priority studies. These urgent research projects include:

* A DSM-4/DSM-5 prevalence study that will assess how proposed changes to the diagnostic criteria of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will affect prevalence estimates and, by extension, eligibility for autism-related services (Yale University);

* A Suzanne and Bob Wright Trailblazer Award to study how selective noise cancellation technology can improve quality of life for the many persons affected by both autism and distressing sound sensitivities (Brunel University);

* A study on enhancing the benefits of parent-implemented early interventions (University of California-Davis/University of Washington), as part of Autism Speaks “Move the Needle” initiative, which seeks to lower the average age of autism diagnosis and expand the delivery of high-quality early interventions;

* An environmental health study to determine how certain flame retardants (PBDEs) interact with the immune system in ways that may interfere with prenatal development and increase autism risk (University of California-Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health);

* An international analysis of ASD prenatal risk factors using disease registry systems in seven countries (the International Collaboration for Autism Registry Epidemiology [iCARE]);

* An update of current estimates of autism’s economic costs, taking into account the economic costs and benefits of intensive preschool behavioral interventions and vocational interventions that increase independence during the transition to adulthood (University of Pennsylvania and Kings College London).

“These targeted research projects are focusing on questions that are important to our community – such as what is the effect of the DSM-5 on diagnosis, how does the environment affect risk for autism and what is the cost savings of providing early intervention,” says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson, Ph.D. “None of these projects would be possible without support from our community.  We are so thankful for that support.”

To find out more about these studies, follow the links above. To explore more Autism Speaks studies, please visit our Grant Search page.