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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

  1. Elizabeth
    May 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Too bad that the focus of this press release or the interest of the press is on criticiIng and debunking ideas. There is groundbreaking research into the causes of autism and science of treatment yet here two theories that concerned parents have had are blown out of the water.

  2. Katie wright
    May 24, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I wish whomever wrote this post had actually seen the Hyman presentation.

    I asked why a dietary intervention study was conducted on children who do not need a dietary intervention. I asked why Hyman eliminated all ASD children with actual GI problems or autoimmune issues/ allergies. That is the population that should be studied. Instead Hyman chose to study only 14 healthy children.

    I also asked why author, mom and nutritionist, Karyn Seroussi was fired from the study for pointing out these flaws in the study design,

    no answers

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