November 14, 2008

Autism Research Effort Gains More Support.

In an announcement released earlier today, the University of Illinois at Chicago will be joining the international research effort to study autism.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are taking part in an international effort to gather DNA samples from 2,000 autism patients and their families over the next three years.

The initiative, called the Simons Simplex Collection, is the first coordinated effort to create a database of information about families with only one autistic child.

Families eligible to participate in the study include those with only one child with an autism spectrum disorder, age four or older; one or more siblings without an autism spectrum disorder, age four or older; and unaffected biological parents who are willing to participate.

Eligible children with an autism spectrum disorder will receive a behavioral assessment and all family members will donate blood, a source of DNA. A small number of families with no siblings or siblings under the age of four may be eligible to participate in the study.

With the recent reports of researchers identifying potential autism-risk genes, it is good to see universities banning together to learn to find the cause.

Since autism affects each person differently, the study could prove to be an invaluable source of information.

Data gathered from the research will aid scientists from around the world who are searching for the causes of autism.

In addition to UIC, the Simons study is being conducted at Baylor University, Columbia University, Emory University, Harvard University, McGill University in Montreal, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Michigan, the University of Missouri, the University of Washington, Vanderbilt University, Washington University, and Yale University.

If you would like to more about how you can participate in the study, please contact Jackie Klaver at (312) 413-4512 or via email at

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