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International Meeting for Autism Research abstracts are online

Posted May 14 2010 3:09pm

INSAR, the International Society for Autism Research , hosts a conference each year. IMFAR, the International Meeting for Autism Research is the largest autism conference held.

IMFAR is being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (US) this year, May 20 to May 22nd. The conference abstracts give you an idea for the latest research trends.

You can search the program online . Alternatively, you can download the program or the abstracts as pdf’s.

Autistic researcher Michelle Dawson is listed as the anchor author on a study, Perception in Autism, 2006 – 2009: Updating the Enhanced Perceptual Functioning Model .

Dr. Lisa Croen from Kaiser Permanente has a paper on whether maternal infections are linked to autism. Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders . They find an increased risk due to bacterial infections in the second half , similar to results from a recent paper from Denmark.

Dr. Gail Windham’s group has a study, Autism and Distribution of Hazardous Air Pollutants at Birth in Southern California . This is a follow on to their study of Hazardous Air Pollutants in Northern California ( Autism Spectrum Disorders in Relation to Distribution of Hazardous Air Pollutants in the San Francisco Bay Area ) which is often cited in support for the mercury-causation hypothesis. The conclusion to the news study states: ” Examining HAPs in another region of California with higher concentrations and larger numbers did not replicate the original results. Metals as a group were not associated, but instead aromatic solvents yielded the highest risks”

Prof. David Mandell of the University of Pennsylvania has large number of papers. I follow his work since one of his areas involves under-represented groups such as minorities and adults. For example, one of his papers is Services Utilized by Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders .

There are a number of papers discussing regression. For example, about 33% of autistic children underwent some form of regression in this study . Dr. Swedo’s team at NIMH looked closer at regression in autistic children in Regression Histories in Young Children with Autism: Timing and Associations Out of 185 children whose parents were interviewed:

Among the 80 cases with significant regression, parents of 26 children indicated physical illness/medical issues may have been related to loss of skills, and 21 responses indicated an associated psychosocial stressor (in 7 of these cases, both illness and psychosocial stressors were reported). However, only 8 reports clearly indicated a sudden loss of skills. Five of the 8 cases with sudden loss included both loss of language loss and social engagement/responsiveness. Two of the sudden loss cases were reported to be associated with a physical illness/medical issue and 3 were reported to be associated with a psychosocial stressor (with 1 reported to have both).

Obviously, there is more. Much more. I’m still working my way through the program book. D’oC will be attending IMFAR and blogging here at LeftBrainRightBrain with support from the Autism Science Foundation.

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