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Monday, October 10, 2011

Drexel's Autism Public Health Research Institute: To Study Environmental Exposure; Some Great Resources Found Via Facebook

"I do not suffer from autism, but I do suffer from the way you treat me."---Tyler Durdin

Straight From The Headlines: "Digging Furiously For Autism Answers." Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 9, 2011.

"Most of the local talent is at the Center for Autism Research at Children's Hospital (in Philadelphia), which in less than four years has grown into a powerhouse with more than 100 researches and staff running two dozen studies..."

"Drexel {University} is jumping in with a much smaller but ambitious Autism Public Health Research Institute, which is poised to lead in some other areas, beginning with environmental exposure. The long neglected field has suddenly become a priority as evidence builds that genes alone do not explain the disorder..."

"The goal is to figure out what flips the genetic switch that puts some infants on a path to autism. Only then can scientists begin to understand how the brain changes and what can prevent it, discover treatments, and devise cost-effective ways to teach hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren..."

"'Autism is like a snowflake,'" said Robert Schultz, director of the center at Children's. It's core attributes---mainly an inability to engage in normal interaction---are enough to define it. But the severity, symptoms, and timing of each case are different. So huge research samples are needed to discover what they have in common...'"

"'Autism was definitely something that we felt CHOP should be leading the world in" said Tom Curran, deputy scientific director.'"

The Center's goal is to have 10,000 volunteers take part in the research. To date, 1,500 have already signed up.