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The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill must now be passed by the Senate.

 

The House of Representatives has approved the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA). Video is available at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/HouseSessionPart274.  The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.

The original Combating Autism Act (CAA) of 2006 authorized nearly $1 billion of federal spending through 2011 on autism research, surveillance and treatment. It will sunset on September 30, 2011 unless reauthorized.  CARA will continue funding at current levels, authorizing $693 million over the next three years. The CAA also required the federal government to create an Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) and to develop a strategic plan to expand and coordinate the nation’s support for people with autism and their families. This will also continue under CARA. 

Congress is also currently working on a Continuing Resolution (C.R.) - H.J.Res. 79 - that contains a provision relevant to the Combating Autism Act, inserted in case the reauthorizing bill is not signed by September 30.  Although the main purpose of a C.R is to keep the government running after the end of the fiscal year on September 30, (so it is considered “must-pass” legislation) this particular C.R. also contains a provision that would extend the sunset provisions of the Combating Autism Act until the expiration of the C.R. on November 18.  Of course, if the CAA itself is signed into law, this would not be necessary; its purpose is to provide a temporary reprieve so that the IACC and other CAA programs continue beyond September 30 in the event the CAA is not signed into law by that time.   At this time, the C.R. has not been passed in either House or the Senate.  However, if it is enacted with the Combating Autism Act provision in place, the current IACC will be extended until November 18 or until the separate reauthorization becomes law. 

 

 

ASF Named #1 Nonprofit Start-Up By Philanthropedia/Guidestar: “A shining star to those interested in real science and evidence based interventions”

Date Published: 
August 30, 2011
Abstract: 

ASF has been named the number one startup nonprofit in the “Disabilities” category by Philanthropedia/Guidestar. GuideStar is a nonprofit organization working to help donors make smarter donations by connecting them with some of the highest impact nonprofits in a cause. The rankings are based on the recommendations of over six dozen experts in the field.

The Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and funding autism research, has been named the number one startup nonprofit in the “Disabilities” category by Philanthropedia/Guidestar.

GuideStar is a nonprofit organization working to help donors make smarter donations by connecting them with some of the highest impact nonprofits in a cause. The rankings are based on the recommendations of over six dozen experts in the field.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as one of the nation’s most promising nonprofits” said Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation. “We are committed to funding critically needed autism research and to using our resources where they will have the greatest impact.”

The Autism Science Foundation began funding research grants in its first year of operations and has increased its funding levels each year. Since 2009, it has funded nearly half a million dollars in research grants.

Guidestar reports the following about the Autism Science Foundation on its website:

  • ASF has made a great contribution to empirically valid information on autism spectrum disorders.
  • This group funds outstanding autism research that is totally science based. They are a shining star to those interested in real science and evidence based interventions.
  • We find this group to operate with the highest level of integrity. They also have extremely low overhead. Every dollar possible is put toward autism research.

All the information collected and research used by Guidestar to compile the rankings are available at http://www.myphilanthropedia.org/startups/national/people-with-disabilities/autism-science-foundation.

This month, the Autism Science Foundation issued a Request for Applications for 2012 Pre- and PostDoctoral Fellowships. www.autismsciencefoundation.org/applyforagrant.html.  In September, ASF will co-sponsor the KIDA Autism Summit in Irvine, California. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will give the keynote address. In October, ASF will sponsor the Rockland County Autism Symposium in Pearl River, New York.  Dr. Temple Grandin is the featured speaker at this annual event.

The Autism Science Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.

To learn more about the Autism Science Foundation’s programs visit www.autismsciencefoundation.org

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Contact Info:    

Dawn Crawford
Autism Science Foundation
dcrawford@autismsciencefoundation.org

Vaccines largely safe, U.S. expert panel finds

Source: 
Reuters
Date Published: 
August 25, 2011
Abstract: 

After a close review of more than 1,000 research studies, a federal panel of experts has concluded that vaccines cause very few side effects, and found no evidence that vaccines cause autism or type 1 diabetes.

The report, issued on Thursday by the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academies of Sciences, is the first comprehensive report on vaccine side effects since 1994.

Autism Risk for Siblings Higher Than Expected

Source: 
New York Times - Well Blog
Date Published: 
August 16, 2011
Abstract: 

According to a recent study published in the journal of Pediatrics, the younger sibling of a child with autism has nearly 20 times greater risk of developing autism than a child in the general population.

A Systematic Review of Medical Treatments for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Pediatrics, McPheeters et al.
Date Published: 
April 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Researchers at Vanderbilt University reviewed evidence regarding medical treatment of children 12 years old and younger with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It was found that risperidone and aripiprazole for treatment of challenging and repetitive behaviors in children with ASDs. However, there are significant adverse effects of these medicines, including severe impairment or risk of injury, preventing their wider use. There is currently little evidence present to evaluate the use of other medical treatments for ASDs—neither their positive nor their negative effects.

ASF Announces 2011 Pre and Postdoctoral Trianing Award Recipients: Pre& Post Doctoral Funding Increased 22% in 2011

Date Published: 
March 21, 2011
Abstract: 

The Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding autism research, today announced the recipients of its annual pre and post doctoral fellowships. In all, $220,000 in grants will be awarded to student/mentor teams conducting research in autism interventions, early diagnosis, biomarkers, and animal models. This funding level represents a 22% increase over last year’s training fellowship grants.

(March 21, 2011—New York, NY)--The Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding autism research, today announced the recipients of its annual pre and post doctoral fellowships.  In all, $220,000 in grants will be awarded to student/mentor teams conducting research in autism interventions, early diagnosis, biomarkers, and animal models. This funding level represents a 22% increase over last year’s training fellowship grants.

“We are thrilled to be increasing our funding in only our second year of operations, and to be supporting such high quality grants”, said Autism Science Foundation co-founder Karen London.  “Outstanding research is the greatest gift we can offer our families. We are so grateful to all our donors and volunteers who have come together to support autism research.”

Grant applications were reviewed by members of the Autism Science Foundation Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) as well as by a Grant Review Panel comprised of leading autism researchers and other autism community stakeholders.

The following new projects have been selected for funding:

Post Doctoral Fellowships:

  • Jill Locke/David Mandell: University of Pennsylvania
    Implementing Evidence-Based Social Skills Interventions in Public School Settings
  • Portia McCoy/Ben Philpot: University of North Carolina
    Ube3a Requirements for Structural Plasticity of Synapses
  • Haley Speed/Craig Powell: UT Southwestern University
    Identifying Impairments in Synaptic Connectivity in Mouse Models of ASD
  • Elena Tenenbaum/Stephen Sheinkopf:  Women & Infants Hospital and Brown University.  Attentional Distribution and Word Learning in Children with Autism

Pre-Doctoral Fellowships:

  • Jessica Bradshaw/Robert Koegel: University of California at Santa Barbara
    Prelinguistic Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Infancy
  • Christie Buchovecky/Monica Justice: Baylor College of Medicine
    Identifying Genetic Modifiers of Rett Syndrome in the Mouse

Study Linking Autism, Vaccines Deemed an "Elaborate Fraud"

Date Published: 
January 5, 2011
Abstract: 

Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 MMR study, originally published and then retracted by the Lancet, has been called an “elaborate fraud” by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) after a lengthy investigation. BMJ concluded Dr. Andrew Wakefield misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.

Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 MMR study, originally published and then retracted by the Lancet, has been called  an “elaborate fraud” by the British Medical Journal (BMJ)  after a lengthy investigation. BMJ concluded Dr. Andrew Wakefield misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.

"It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief said in an interview on CNN. "But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May.

"Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession," BMJ states in an editorial accompanying the work.

The new examination found, by comparing the reported diagnoses in Wakefield's paper to hospital records, that Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about pateients in their study. The analysis, by award winning British journalist Brian Deer, found that despite the claim in the paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR, five had previously documented developmental problems. Deer also found that all the cases were somehow misrepresented when he compared data from medical records and the children's parents.

Media coverage of this story:

Video:
CNN: Retracted autism study an ‘elaborate fraud,’ British Journal finds -
http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/autism.vaccines/index.html

Traditional Media:
CNN:  Medical Journal: Study Linking Autism, Vaccines is "Elaborate Fraud" - http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/06/autism.vaccines/index.html
ABC News' Good Morning America: Fraudulent Vaccine Research Exposed - http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/fraudulent-vaccine-research-exposed-12553656
USA Today: Report Linking Vaccine to Autism ‘An Elaborate Fraud' - http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/autism/2011-01-06-autism06_ST_N.htm
LA Times: Wakefield's Paper Linking MMR Vaccine to Autism a Fraud - http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/05/news/la-heb-andrew-wakefield-01052011
MNT: Study Linking Autism To MMR Vaccine "An Elaborate Fraud" - http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/212899.php

Social Media:
Forbes: Thimerosal-Autism Link Was A Legal Theory In Search Of Science- http://blogs.forbes.com/danielfisher/2011/01/05/thimerosol-autism-link-was-a-legal-theory-in-search-of-science/?boxes=businesschannelsections
LB/RBBMJ editorial: Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent - http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/01/06/bmj-editorial-wakefields-article-linking-mmr-vaccine-and-autism-was-fraudulent/
ABC Nightline: For Doctor Accused of Falsifying Vaccine-Autism Link: What Consequences? - http://blogs.abcnews.com/nightlinedailyline/2011/01/for-doctor-accused-of-falsifying-vaccine-autism-link-what-consequences.html
LB/RBThe National Autism Association tries and fails to defend Andrew Wakefield’s fraud - http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/01/the-national-autism-association-tries-and-fails-to-defend-andrew-wakefields-fraud/