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2010 International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR)

May 20-22, 2010
May 31, 2010

From Molecules to Medicine: Thoughts on the 2010 International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) from the Chief Science Officer

By Geri Dawson, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks

Press Release: Autism Speaks to Play Key Roles at the 2010 International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR)

View the IMFAR 2010 - Program on the the International Society for Autism Research site.

Autism Speaks Blog Posts

Updates from the Autism Treatment Network Registry: What Do We Know About Medical Issues in Autism?
Guest Blogger: Nancy Jones, Autism Speaks ATN/CTN program director
Since its inception, IMFAR has been pivotal in promoting interest in autism research and disseminating findings.

Families and Friends Network at IMFAR
Guest blogger Peter Bell is executive vice president for programs & services at Autism Speaks. He is also a founding member of the Diversity Committee for INSAR and will serve as the co-chair in 2010-2011.
From its inception, IMFAR was a meeting that attracted hundreds of scientists, researchers, clinicians and even students who were interested in advancing the knowledge base of what autism is and how they can help improve the quality of life for those who live with the condition

How does genetic research benefit people living with autism today? And why do scientists do autism research on mice?
Guest Blogger: John Elder Robison
Those are two of the questions I discussed researchers at this year's IMFAR autism science conference. We'll start with genetics, an area of study that's often misunderstood…

A World of Geeks - IMFAR 2010
Guest blogger: John Elder Robison
I have observed a lot of scientists at this IMFAR event. Different as they seem on the surface (different sizes, shapes, colors, emission of sounds and smells . . .) they all have this in common: Everyone here wants to find ways to help fix autistic disability. That said, “Fix” means different things to different people, depending upon their special interests.

IMFAR Perspective from a Weatherstone Fellow

Guest Blog: Jen Foss-Feig,Weatherstone Fellow
Exciting advances in understanding brain differences in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) were a major focus of the first day of this year's International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) meeting in Philadelphia.

When it Comes to Intervention for Autism, is Earlier Better?

Guest Staff Blogger: Alycia Halladay, Ph.D.
This was one of the major questions addressed at the International Meeting for Autism Research Meeting this week. Researchers from around the world – the U.S., UK and Canada, presented their research on the effects of early intense behavioral interventions to treat, and sometimes prevent, symptoms of autism spectrum disorders.

TechDemo 2010: Innovative Technologies for Understanding and Supporting Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Guest Bloggers: Matthew Goodwin, Ph.D., Katharina Boser, Ph.D. (co-chairs of the ITA Steering Committee) and Sophia Colamarino, Ph.D., Autism Speaks VP, Research
The second day of IMFAR brought the second autism Technology Demo sponsored by Autism Speaks' Innovative Technologies for Autism (ITA) initiative. One of the newest features of the conference, this unique event consisted of live demonstrations of 30 technologies being developed around the world to benefit a number of critical areas affecting individuals with ASD, their families, and the professionals who strive to better support them.

Two Family Meetings on Autism Subtypes Set the Tone for IMFAR
One of the challenges in pursuing the causes of autism spectrum disorders is the heterogeneity of symptoms and life history of the individuals affected.

Imaging Genetics at IMFAR
Guest Blogger: Ashley A. Scott-Van Zeeland, Ph.D.
An introduction to the cutting-edge field of neuro-imaging genetics kicked off the Invited Educational Symposium series for IMFAR 2010. Moderated by Dr. Lea Davis, attendees were treated to three presentations describing how the combination of neuroimaging and genetics could be leveraged to gain insight into autism.

Advocacy in Action
Guest blogger: Doug Compton is a parent advocate and a scientist
Today I attended the first day of the 9th annual International Meeting for Autism Research, after a five year hiatus. Today, we are over 1,600 strong in attendance, and the emotional feeling as a parent of a 17 year-old autistic teenager is overwhelming. The feeling as a scientist is less emotional, but equally overwhelming. The science is extensive and top notch. I attend scientific meetings regularly for my career, but not usually with a tear in my eye and big smile on my face.

Press Update from IMFAR
Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson, Ph.D., opened Friday's IMFAR session as the first speaker of the day. Dr. Dawson spoke about Autism Speaks research portfolio and advances being made.

Media Coverage

Studies Link Infertility Treatments to Autism (

Every parent of a child with autism wonders what might have caused the disorder. Does it secretly run in the family? Was there a toxic exposure during pregnancy? An infection in early infancy? Was the mother or father too old?

New Hope for Early Detection of Autism (
Brain scans of sleeping toddlers show differences in response to bedtime stories

An Autistic Child Doesn't Mean Parents Will Divorce (HealthDay News)
Study debunks conventional wisdom about couples split by condition-related stress

Autism:Small study challenges the impact of diet (

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York found that eliminating two things from children's diets -- gluten, which is found in wheat, and casein, found in milk products -- didn't affect how they behaved or slept, nor did it change their digestive habits.