NIH to spend $60 million for autism

March 24, 2009 1:30:06 PM PDT
The National Institutes of Health today announced a major new initiative to get answers on the causes, and treatments for autism spectrum disorders. The money will come from the stimulus package approved by Congress earlier this year.

The four grant announcements will use different funding mechanisms to support a wide range of research topics over the next two years.

Those include developing better screening and testing tools, assessing the risks of autism from prenatal or early life exposures, clinical trials of early interventions, and adapting existing treatments for older children, teens, and adults with autism.

The research project was developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, with input from the scientific community, service providers, autism advocates, parents, and people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The endeavor is designed to answer 6 key questions:

-- When should I be concerned?

-- How can I understand what is happening?

-- What caused this to happen and can this be prevented?

-- Which treatments and interventions will help?

-- Where can I turn for services?

-- What does the future hold?

Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health says, "We have a growing sense of urgency to help the increasing number of children being diagnosed with ASD."

T

he program is expected to bring new jobs into the biomedical field, and establish platforms for ongoing medical research.

To see the NIH request for grant applications: click here.

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