$2.5 million awarded to research, treat & prevent autism

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Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Much remains unknown about the condition.

Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Much remains unknown about the condition.

STATE — Medical schools, universities, a hospital and a specialty medical center will share $2.5 million in grant funds to advance research, treatment and prevention of autism.

The Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism awarded grants for a variety of projects including: testing for genetic abnormalities, analysis of special transportation services for those with autism, and an examination of video as an intervention therapy.

“New Jersey continues to be a national leader in our commitment to find new and innovative ways to help New Jersey families affected by autism,” said state Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd. “These grants will help us better understand autism and allow families with special needs children to benefit from the excellent research New Jersey institutions offer.”

A primary goal of these awards is to foster innovations that lead to clinical impact and therefore improvements for individuals and families.

The grant awards are:

  • $400,000 to Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick to study autism-linked stress at the cellular level and initial testing of therapeutic strategies
  • $400,000 to Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway to study human stem cells from individuals with autism in order to determine metabolic abnormalities that may contribute to autism and have the potential to be reversed through the use of pharmaceuticals
  • $399,558 for the Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopment Health II in Gibbsboro to test for specific genetic abnormalities, assess for their clinical manifestations, and discover new biological causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and associated complications
  • $398,908 to Rutgers University Robert Wood Medical School in Piscataway to provide a new objective instrument that detects micro-movements present in social behaviors with the potential of leading to earlier diagnosis of autism, using the standardized structures of the Autism Diagnosis Observation Schedule (ADOS), a reliable instrument based on observation
  • $398,282 for Rutgers University’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure & Transportation in Piscataway to perform an assessment to aid adults on the autism spectrum in finding safe, accessible and appropriate paratransit transportation services
  • $397,547 to Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick to analyze early electroencephalogram (EEG) features to predict risk of ASD and Related Disorders in Premature and low birth weight infants
  • $125,899 to William Paterson University in Wayne to examine imitation from video in children with ASD with a controlled experiment to support, or not, the proliferation of video and touchscreen based imitation interventions for ASD
  • In addition to supporting research, treatment and prevention, the Department works to connect families affected by autism to programs and services.

The department’s Early Intervention System helps children reach their full potential by minimizing the effects of delays or diagnosed conditions, like autism, at the earliest stages. This program supports families with children from birth to age three who are in need of speech, physical therapy or other services necessary. For more information about these services, please visit: http://nj.gov/health/fhs/eis/index.shtml.

An important way the department connects parents to services is through New Jersey’s electronic Autism Registry. The registry refers families to the appropriate diagnostic, treatment and support services in their communities. The Autism Registry requires medical professionals to register the children they are diagnosing with autism. Approximately 12,400 children are registered.


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4 comments for “$2.5 million awarded to research, treat & prevent autism

  1. Eileen Nicole Simon
    July 17, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Thank you for the picture of the brain, and the areas known to be affected in autism. Where did you get the picture? The brain needs to be the focus of all research on autism. All of the chatter about causes is irrelevant unless resulting impairment in the brain can be identified.

    Cases of autism are related to widely differing causes. Distinctive areas of the brain are affected by genetic and non-genetic causes of autism. Respiratory depression at birth has been associated with autism for decades. How the brainstem is damaged by asphyxia at birth has been known for more than 50 years. PKU (phenylketonuria) and Downs syndrome are well-known genetic conditions associated with autism. How wonderful if mental defect in Downs syndrome could be prevented by a special diet, as for children with PKU.

    Journalists need to refer to the brain when they discuss all of the causes of autism that have been proposed. I suggest starting with Google to lookup brainstem, hippocampus, amygdala, basal ganglia, corpus callosum, cerebellum, and “underconnectivity” in the cerebral cortex. Then go to PubMed. Brainstem and basal ganglia damage caused by asphyxia at birth prevents normal maturation of the cerebral cortex. Lookup the research of Faro and Windle in PubMed.

  2. lilady R.N.
    July 16, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Autism is not medical and is not associated with the administration of an vaccine, any ingredients in vaccines or the timing and spacing of vaccines.

    Autism is genetic…i.e., you are born with it.

  3. Maurinemeleck
    July 15, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Autism is medical-study the immune system, oxidative stress, metabolic disorder. Actually look at the children who regressed following vaccinations. Seek answers to its cause, cure and end the epidemic. It’s medical, medical, medical. It’s man-made.

  4. Maurinemeleck
    July 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Oh for heavens sakes-when will they ever spend money and actually study the medical conditions of those with ASD

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