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ATN Investigators Focus on Studies in Sleep, Nutrition and Metabolism

April 28, 2010

April 22, 2010

The Autism Intervention Research Network for Physical Health (AIR-P) held its second investigators' meeting April 13-14, 2010. The AIR-P network, a grant initiative of the Combating Autism Act, consists of the 14 centers that comprise Autism Speaks' Autism Treatment Network (ATN). The ATN Clinical Coordinating Center, which serves as the project lead for the AIR-P, hosted 49 participants from eight ATN sites to discuss research projects in sleep, nutrition and metabolism.

James Perrin, M.D., director of theATN Clinical Coordinating Center, and lead principal investigator for the AIR-P network, commented, “This meeting marks an exciting time in the advancement of research concerning medical conditions associated with autism. Although the ATN is at its heart a clinical care network, high quality clinical research is an integral part of building the evidence base to support our clinical mission.”

The AIR-P is a collaborative research network, funded through a $12 million, three-year grant to the ATN from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its focus is on clinical and intervention research in autism, and the development of clinical guidelines for screening and treating physical health concerns common to children with autism.

The AIR-P network launched with the funding of two studies, one evaluating the efficacy of non-medicinal (behavioral) sleep interventions, and a large study conducting a systematic examination of the nutritional status of children with ASD and its relation to medical conditions. In Fall 2009, the ATN announced the approval of four additional studies in the areas of nutrition, sleep, and metabolism. At the meeting, study leaders from the on-going nutrition and sleep studies reported on their progress to date, and all research teams met individually to discuss details for the implementation of the studies.

“We are particularly gratified to support a number of synergistic projects in nutrition and sleep which will support the development of evidence-based interventions, and support our on-going guideline development efforts,” said Dr. Perrin.

A new set of AIR-P study proposals are under review and it is expected that additional studies will be approved in early summer. Learn more about the ATN/AIR-P clinical research studies below:

Nutrition and related issues

To find out more about the Autism Treatment Network, or to get connected to a site in your area, visit To learn more about the AIR-P guidelines and research projects go to