AIR-P Network Activities

December 22, 2016

The Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P), led by Karen Kuhlthau, PhD, conducts research on evidence-based interventions to improve the physical health and well-being of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, with an emphasis on underserved communities. Two key goals of the AIR-P network are to provide opportunities to develop collaborations and partnerships with clinicians and researchers and to support junior investigators in developing their research efforts to improve medical care of children with autism.

The AIR-P provides opportunities for researchers from across the network to collaborate with each other as well as other CAAI sponsored programs such as LEND and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Training Programs. Successful partnerships with these programs have increased AIR-P presence at various scientific meetings, including abstracts at IMFAR and PAS, and papers submitted for publication. So far for 2017, AIR-P network members have submitted 8 abstracts for consideration at IMFAR.

The network provides ongoing opportunities to support investigators through a Request for Applications (RFA) mechanism, which has supported more than 25 research projects at more than $10M throughout the past 7 years. AIR-P recently funded three new research projects under RFA ATN-AIR-16-09: "Pilot to Proposal". This mechanism provides 15 months of support for the development and implementation of a study to show overall feasibility of the proposal and to provide adequate data demonstrating that expansion to a multi-center study will provide a clinically important effect. The pilot studies include: "Two-Phase Study of Probiotics for Quality of Life through GI and Emotional Stability in Youth with ASD and Anxiety: Single-Site Pilot Trial Followed by 3-Site RCT" by L. Eugene Arnold, MD at The Ohio State University; "Physical Exercise to Reduce Anxiety in Underserved Children with ASD" by Jean Gehricke, PhD at the University of California, Irvine; and "Clonidine and Trazodone for Sleep Disturbance in Children with ASD" by Jill Hollway, PhD at the Ohio State University.

Additionally, the network provides support to investigators interested in mining data from the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) Registry. We have developed a Request for Data (RFD), which allows individuals to submit a formal request to obtain summary data from the ATN Registry, which is supported in collaboration with AIR-P. Past analyses by external investigators have led to dissertations and manuscripts by trainees in pediatrics and psychology as well as other junior faculty members at various institutions. Individuals interested in learning more about the registry data should visit http://asatn.org/request/data.

The AIR-P continues to hold its monthly webinar series titled "Advances in Autism Research & Care (AARC)" which alternates autism research and care themes, and is available to all AIR-P/ATN network members, CAAI-sponsored programs, the entire LEND and DBP Fellowship networks, various other autism and pediatric organizations, collaborators, primary care providers, as well as autism advocates. Research webinars feature AIR-P investigators, often junior investigators, presenting their work in various stages of development while care focused themes cover hot topics in the field of autism and promote idea generation for future research. If you're interested in being added to the distribution list for information on these webinars, please email Audrey Wolfe, Research Coordinator, at awolfe2@mgh.harvard.edu. Archived webinars can be viewed by visiting the network's YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/asatnairpnetwork or by clicking the "Tools" link on the AIR-P website.

For more information on the AIR-P, please visit our public website: http://www.airpnetwork.org.