NIH awards grants to fund autism research

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 23, 2009

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The National Institutes of Health has awarded more than 50 autism research grants, using more than $65 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Awards were based on the quality of the proposed study and how well it addressed short-term research objectives detailed in the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee's Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research. The IACC coordinates all efforts within the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services concerning ASD.

Collectively, the studies are considered to hold the best promise of revealing the causes of autism, effective treatments and possible means of preventing the disorder, according to Thomas R. Insel, MD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. The focus will be on researching specific genes underlying autism, possible links between traffic-related air pollution and ASD risk, and preventive intervention for infants who are at high risk of developing ASD because they have an older sibling with the disorder.

Much of the data gathered will be available to other researchers through the National Database for Autism Research.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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