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Calls to Action

Advancements Under the Combating Autism Act of 2006:

January 01, 2011
  • New prevalence studies published by the CDC reports that ASD now affects roughly 1% of children in the US (1 in 110) and an even higher percentage of boys.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism at their 18- and 24-month checkups. Today, scientists are exploring ways to identify ASD in the first year of life.
  • First randomized controlled trial of an intensive behavioral intervention for toddlers with ASD shows the intervention provided for 2 years resulted in significant increases in IQ, language ability, and adaptive behavior.
  • The discovery of a specific autism susceptibility gene involved in brain development is heralded by TIME magazine as one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2009. We now know that autism is related to genetic alterations which, either on their own or together with environmental factors, disrupt normal connectivity in the brain.
  • New genetic findings prompt large pharmaceutical companies to seriously invest in autism drug discovery research. Pfizer announces a major investment in autism drug discovery which includes a dedicated autism neuroscience unit.
  • Evidence-based guidelines for physicians are developed to screen, assess, and treat GI conditions in children with ASD.
  • A study reports that children with ASD have decreased levels of a molecule that is involved in immune regulation, and that too little or too much immune activity during the prenatal period can impair development of neurons. ASD is associated with a maternal history of autoimmune disease, specifically, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease.
  • The Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Chair of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee states the increase in prevalence should be taken very seriously, and that there is no question that there has to be an environmental component.
  • We now know there are multiple causes that contribute to different forms of ASD. Some types of ASD are largely genetically determined, but we know that many forms of ASD involve environmental risk factors. Genetic research will help guide our search for environmental risk factors, and vice versa.
  • CDC study shows close to 60% of children with ASD have IQs above 70 by age 8. Another study documented 167 cases of individuals with ASD who developed speech between 5 and 12 years of age.