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Joan Beasley, PhD, Promoted to Research Professor

Institute on Disability (IOD) is proud to announce the promotion of Joan B. Beasley, PhD, to Research Professor at the University of New Hampshire. The promotion is granted to faculty who have a background in successful research, marked by maturity and experience that have earned them a national or international reputation in their field. UNH research faculty bring a substantial proportion of the university's external funding, mentor graduate students, and deepen scholarly life across campus.



Screen Time Associated with Increased Inattention and Hyperactivity and Lower Language Scores in Young Children

In a new study of 36-month-old children showed that between a control group, children with an autism diagnosis, and children with ADHD symptoms, children with more inattention and hyperactivity had more screen time. They also had lower language scores. The root cause is still unknown, and this could be correlation. Children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders had a negative association with screen time.

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NIH Awards $100 Million for Autism Centers of Excellence Program

AUCD Network Members Awarded

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a total of $100 million over the next five years to support nine Autism Centers of Excellence (ACEs). This endeavor funds large research projects to understand and develop interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Created in 2007, the ACE program is renewed every five years.



New Horizons of Discovery on Sex Differences in Autism

John Constantino, MD, for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

The sex ratio for autism, 3 boys for every girl, occurs long before the time of puberty and is observed in all populations around the world, but its cause has remained a mystery. The Washington University Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center has been hard at work for years trying to uncover the biology of this profoundly influential sex difference. This year, the IDDRC team joined the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative Collaboration on Sex Differences in Autism, an international effort to combine the technologies and work of a select group of scientists around the world to further advance understanding of the biological mechanisms that distinguish males and females in the recognition, expression, and incidence of autism.



Call for Research Project Proposals: National Research Consortium on MH/IDD at the University of New Hampshire

The National Research Consortium (NRC) on Mental Health in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (MH-IDD) is seeking innovation research grant proposals with a focus on improving the health and well-being of individuals with IDD-MH.



Engineering non-hallucinogenic versions of psychedelics to treat psychiatric conditions

By David E. Olson, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine

Psychedlic drugs like MDMA and LSD can promote neuroplasticity and help treat some mental illnesses in autistic adults. To lessen the risk of dangerous side effects, the Olson Lab created safer, non-hallucinogenic psychedelics that show promise in models.



Autism characteristics in individuals with Down syndrome

Amanda Dimachkie Nunnally, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, UC Davis Mind Institute

There is still much to be understood about the presentation of autism symptoms in individuals with Down syndrome, as some of the core characteristics of autism may overlap with intellectual disability. Individuals with Down syndrome and co-occurring autism tend to have more severe rigid and repetitive behaviors and greater challenges with social communication than do individuals with Down syndrome alone. However, the degree to which symptoms can be attributed to each condition remains understudied.



Decline in looking at faces may signal onset of autism in infants

By Devon Gangi, Assistant Project Scientist, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

A new study from UC Davis Mind Institute supports earlier findings that children who were diagnosed with autism at age 3 had a decreased level of eye gaze as infants compared to children without autism. This gives new insights into development trajectories and may help children get identified earlier.



Developing innovative methods to study the human genome

Medium or large changes to the genome are called structural variations (SVs). SVs are tied to many different diseases and conditions. Researchers at UC Davis Mind Institute are developing new models to understand and study SVs.



The role of maternal autoantibody exposure in brain development and behavior in autism

By Matthew Bruce

A recent collaborative effort by MIND Institute Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) investigators Judy Van de Water, Jill Silverman, and Jacqueline Crawley, as well as researchers from Canada and the United Kingdom, used an animal model to evaluate the effects maternal autoantibodies on offspring brain development.



KU Multidisciplinary Team Awarded Research Rising Grant

The University of Kansas (KU) has selected a proposal submitted by the KU Life Span Institute for funding under the Research Rising initiative. The goal of the project, Advancing Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research at KU, is to transform understanding of and support for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.



RTC:Rural - Participatory Curriculum Development for Health and Independent Living for Disabled People: A Qualitative Study of Participant Experiences

A host of RTC:Rural researchers worked with Center for Independent Living staff members through participatory curriculum development to create and update curriculum for in-person, web-based delivery. Engaging members of the intended audiences in the curriculum development process in this way is a relatively new approach to health promotion. Developing curriculum for and with disabled people had not previously been done, and is shown to be a valuable, worthwhile approach.



The Story Behind Maternal Autoantibody Related Autism (MARA)

Judy Van de Water

During pregnancy, twenty-three percent of mothers of children diagnosed with autism had the presence of "autoantibodies" that can attach to proteins in a developing fetus's brain, compared to less than one percent of mothers whose children do not have autism. The UC Davis MIND Institute Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) used a new technology to examine specific patterns of these autoantibodies and their effects and found that all eight antibody patterns were associated with an outcome of autism in a child. The hope is that testing for Maternal Autoantibody Related Austim (MARA) autoantibody patterns can be used to assess the likelihood of a child having autism, in order to help families to prepare for supports and services their child may need.



Columbia University Seeks Participants for Focus Group

Columbia University is seeking participants for a study that explores issues of trust in a type of medical research called "precision medicine research." The study looks at a person's genetics, environment, and lifestyle. It can help physicians improve prevention and diagnosis of diseases and develop new treatments.



Bringing Evidence-based Intervention Strategies to Autistic Students in Public Schools Statewide: The California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN)

The California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN) statewide initiative helps educators use evidence-based strategies with autistic students. A recent study from AUCD's IDDRC, UC Davis Mind Institute and San Diego State University found that teachers trained by CAPTAIN improved in their knowledge, attitudes, ad classroom ratings.

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