In 40 minutes, ASF summarizes the highlights in autism research from before diagnosis through adulthood. It includes new intervention studies, ways to better diagnose ASD, to understand symptoms, females, sexuality, employment, neurobiology, genetics, and gene x environment interactions. The major themes are the “H” word, or heterogeneity in symptoms across the spectrum, ways to make the broad spectrum smaller, and how big data approaches are helping make this happen. Thank you to families who participated in research and tireless autism researchers for lending their skills to answer the tough questions. And of course, thank you all for listening to these podcasts all year long. The transcript with all the references used will be posted on the ASF blog in the upcoming days.
This week the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee or IACC, finalized next year’s strategic plan on autism research. This podcast explains what the IACC does, who serves on it, and also, what ideas they have for maximizing use of the research dollar for ASD. It’s a long document and every taxpayer in the US does contribute money towards autism research, so it’s worthwhile to hear what the US government, researchers, stakeholders, service providers and individuals with autism thinks should happen to that money. If you want to read the whole, thing, go for it. You can download it here.
Three important meetings of researchers took place this week. First, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, or IACC, met for the first time in over a year to discuss the coordination of private and federal efforts in autism research and advocacy. Also, the Autism Sisters Project science committee met to figure out how they are going to find the female protective factor in autism, and what else the study can do when, and if, it is found. Finally, a group of researchers who study autism in high risk families, before a formal diagnosis can be made, met to understand how the brains of people with autism are connected. They also are working on new instruments to better diagnose both males and females with ASD. Finally, in a press release from Tuesday, the NIH announced a partnership that will substantially improve autism research.