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.
Over 1700 scientists, clinicians and family members are on site at the 9th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research in Philadelphia. At Wednesday’s press conference, David Mandell, Sc.D., welcomed the media to IMFAR and gave a broad overview of the research that would be presented. He explained how research into causes of autism benefits treatments. The pathways of research are growing stronger – identification of genes allows for the creation of animal models to understand the biological processes. Compounds and treatments can then be developed to correct the processes.
Some of the big stories that the media has picked up on include research by Brian Freedman, Ph.D. and the team at Kennedy Krieger debunking the myth of significantly higher divorce rates among families who have children with autism. His research showed that the percent of children with ASD living in a two-parent biological or adoptive household was close to the percent of children without ASD in such a family structure – 64 percent vs. 65 percent. That percent held even when the researchers took into account other factors that could have affected family structure, such as socioeconomic status or demographics.
Another study garnering at lot of interest was done by Susan Hyman, M.D. at the University of Rochester. Her team’s research showed that removing gluten and dairy from the diet did not improve the condition in the 22 children tested. While many families adhere to the gluten free casein free diet, Dr. Hyman’s team saw not favorable affects on attention, sleep and stool patterns.
The conference continues through Saturday. To read complete coverage from IMFAR, please visit http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science_news/imfar_2010.php