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UCSD Wins $11 Million For Autism Research

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

The University of California San Diego got word this afternoon that it's been chosen as one of five special autism research centers around the United States.

The selection brings a grant of $11 million from the National Institutes of Heath .

UCSD Neuroscience researcher Karen Pierce says the program here will concentrate on finding ways to identify children with autism-related conditions much earlier than is now possible.

Pierce : We’ve gotten this money to try to figure out what babies with autism look like at 12 months. Currently the average across America is somewhere between three and four. So we're trying to figure out what it looks like at a considerably younger age, which is great because it means that the babies can get into treatment earlier.

When parents bring children in for their 12-month “well baby” check-ups, they'll fill out questionnaires. If the answers suggest a child might be autistic, researchers will conduct a battery of behavioral and medical tests, looking for “markers” that might confirm the diagnosis.

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