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IMFAR 2011 Press Conference

Today’s press conference was incredibly rewarding — and had an information density not generally found in nature. Any errors or omissions in the skin-of-my-teeth transcript below are mine entirely. -SR More info: IMFAR sessions and panels [PDF] The Autism Science Foundation live-tweeted the press conference: @AutismScienceFD LeftBrain/RightBrain: IMFAR 2011: The Press Conference (Part 1) Presenters: David Amaral, Ph.D., President, the International Society for Autism Research Eric Courchesne, Ph.D., UCSD Antonio Hardan, M.D., Stanford University School of Medicine David Mandell, Sc.D., Chairman of IMFAR Program Committee Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Ph.D., UC Davis —- David Amaral MIND Institute, INSAR president (INSAR is the host of IMFAR). IMFAR was first held in San Diego in 2001, with 250 attendees. Expecting 2,000 attendees this year. Autism is an incredibly complex, wide range disorder that affects 1% of children. List of co-morbid disorders is long and debilitating. Still little certainty as to what causes autism, which…

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TPGA Will Be Blogging IMFAR 2011

TPGA Editor Shannon Des Roches Rosa will be at IMFAR, the International Meeting for Autism Research, for the next four days. She’ll be blogging as much of the conference as she can, right here at The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, starting with today’s 11 AM PST press conference — so stay tuned! The number of IMFAR sessions and panels [PDF] is incredible. If you want to make a case for a specific session Shannon should report on, leave a comment and she’ll do her best. Thanks again to the Autism Science Foundation for the travel grant that made Shannon’s attendance possible. And if you’re actually at IMFAR, do find our roving editor and say hello, or DM her on Twitter: @shannonrosa.

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iPads and Autism Resources: Fundraising, Donations, Research, and Education

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.thinkingautismguide.com www.squidalicious.com www.blogher.com Leo playing Swapsies While so many of us are waiting for our iPad2s, many (too many) kids with autism and other special needs are waiting to get any iPad — any iPad at all. Families who want to buy iPads privately often don’t have the means (these devices are expensive!), and school districts and insurance companies often cite the lack of longitudinal studies supporting the effectiveness of iDevices in special education. To address both areas, I’ve been updating our iPad Apps for Autism spreadsheet with links to iPad Fundraising & Donations, as well as Research & Education links. I’ve pasted in the current listings below, but will be updating and expanding the list as more resources come in — or are brought to my attention (hint, hint). If you want to help a child get an iPad, look through the Fundraising & Donations…

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Mitochondrial Disease and Autism: Linked?

Emily Willingham daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com biologyfiles.fieldofscience.com Image by Countincr, from Wikimedia Commons Hannah Poling’s family entered the national spotlight when they revealed that Hannah’s autism-like symptoms may have been linked to a reaction to several childhood vaccines at once in combination with her mitochondrial dysfunction. Her case was not the first revelation of a possible mitochondrial disorder (MD)-autism spectrum disorder (ASD) link, but because of her ultimately successful vaccine injury suit, she became the avatar of the vaccines-cause-harm movement — which almost eclipsed the real scientific and therapeutic feature of her case: the mitochondria. About Those Mitochondria First, a little bit about mitochondria. A review paper, published in Molecular Psychiatry and open access, gives a fine and detailed overview, so my summary here is brief. The mitochondria do the heavy lifting for the cell’s energy needs. They take the chemical remains of what we eat and transfer that energy into molecules that…

Andrew Wakefield, Yesterday’s British Medical Journal Articles on His Fraud, and The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism

Liz Ditz http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/ http://lizditz.typepad.com/academic_remediation/ I have been thinking about this issue, and this post, for several days now, since a friend who is a science blogger sent on an email from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) about yesterday’s revelations alleging Andrew Wakefield’s fraud. I couldn’t speak or write about it, as the BMJ had strongly requested that the story not be made public (“embargoed”) until 4 pm January 5 2001 PST. That email had links to the full text of editorial, article, and references revealed yesterday. As I studied the material and references, one of the things that I kept in mind was the community that has grown up here at The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, and how we have managed to keep talking through differences of points of view and of opinion. I treasure that continued conversation and I believe it is one of the most valuable things…

A Sweet Way to Raise Funds for Autism Research

Here at the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, we’re about (a) having fun with our families (b) evidence-based approaches to autism (d) innovative fund-raising and (c) social media. So naturally we are participating in The Autism Science Foundation’s campaign, Recipe4Hope. There are a lot of needs in the autism community, but we believe that funding sound autism research comes high on the list. So won’t you join us? Every dollar donated to the Autism Science Foundation from now through December 31 will go directly autism research. This video (1 min 13 seconds) explains the campaign. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Autism Science Foundation, here’s a short statement of its goals: The Autism Science Foundation funds scientific research to find the causes of autism and to develop treatments that will make a difference in the lives of children, teens and adults. This holiday season, outstanding research is…

Understanding Autism: Gathering Autism Life Histories

Researchers from Columbia University have asked for our help in reaching out to parents on their project, which has such similar goals to The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. We hope that parents of children with autism who can participate, will. Thank you, -Shannon, Liz, Jen, & Emily, TPGA Editors Dear Parent, We are researchers at Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy studying autism. We are currently collecting life stories from parents about their experiences in recognizing their child’s autism, seeking professional help and navigating the system of services. The goal of this project is to gain a better understanding of the road to diagnosis. Parents have different experiences and observations of their child’s development and they have different personal resources with which they access care and services. Parents also differ in the type and extent of their support networks and social relations. And finally parents…