Thursday, October 04, 2007

Large Children's Health Study Cites Autism as One of Key Target Areas

The National Institutes of Health today announced federal funding for 22 research centers which will collect data and recruit families to participate in a study designed to examine the effects of environmental and genetic factors on children's health. Researchers will be looking to understand how these factors relate to children developing autism, birth defects, heart disease and obesity.

The announcement's citing autism as a key national health issue would appear to reflect the mainstream concern that autism spectrum disorders have become in government research circles.

The National Children's Study will follow a sample of 100,000 children from across the United States from birth to age 21. The study will be "seeking information to prevent and treat some of the nation's most pressing health problems, including autism, birth defects, heart disease and obesity," the NIH said in a statement.

The goal is to create a sample of children that reflects the makeup of the nation's population. A key aspect of the project, based on the statement released today, is to bring staff on board who can recruit people in communities around the country to participate in a government study. Yvonne Maddox, deputy director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in today's statement: "Building trusting relationships with community leaders will be critical to the success of the study's recruitment efforts," and noted that researchers will work to build relationships with local community groups and health care providers, to explain the potential benefits of the study.

"The National Children's Study is poised to identify the early antecedents of a broad array of diseases that affect both children and adults. Such insights will lead to the means to successfully treat and even prevent conditions that to date have defied our best efforts," Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, the NIH director, said in a statement.

Congress set aside $69 million for the project this year. The research study is adding 22 new study centers to an existing base of seven research centers set up in 2005. In addition, the NIH unveiled a list of 105 study locations in 2004.

The 22 locations announced include:

  1. Providence County, Rhode Island: Brown University with National Opinion Research Center and Women and Infants Hospital .
  2. Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania and New Castle County, Delaware: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with Drexel University, Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, Schuylkill County Commissioners, Pottsville Hospital/Warne Clinic, University of Delaware Christiana Care, and A.I. DuPont Institute Hospital for Children.
  3. DeKalb County, Georgia and Fayette County, Georgia: Emory University with Morehouse School of Medicine and Battelle Memorial Institute.
  4. Baltimore County, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University with Drexel University, Battelle Memorial Institute, and Children’s National Medical Center.
  5. Wayne County, Michigan: Michigan State University with Henry Ford Health System, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Michigan Department of Community Health.
  6. Nassau County, New York: Mount Sinai School of Medicine with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and School of Public Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, and Battelle Memorial Institute.
  7. Cook County, Illinois: Northwestern University with University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, National Opinion Research Center, and Children’s Memorial Hospital.
  8. Macoupin County, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri: St. Louis University with Southern Illinois University (Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing), Washington University School of Medicine, and local office of Battelle Memorial Institute.
  9. Sacramento County, California: University of California, Davis with Sacramento Department of Health and Human Services and Battelle Memorial Institute.
  10. San Diego County, California: University of California, Irvine with San Diego State University; University of California, San Diego; California State University, San Bernardino; Loma Linda University, and California State University, Bakersfield.
  11. Honolulu County, Hawaii: University of Hawai'i at Manoa with Kaiser Permanente; Johns Hopkins University; and University of California, Irvine.
  12. Worcester County, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts with Clark University, National Opinion Research Center, and Harvard University.
  13. Ramsey County, Minnesota: University of Minnesota with National Opinion Research Center, Health Partners Research Foundation, and St. Paul-Ramsey County Department of Health.
  14. Hinds County, Mississippi: University of Mississippi with Tougaloo College, Jackson State University, Mississippi Department of Health, and Community Outreach for Health Awareness.
  15. Valencia County, New Mexico: University of New Mexico.
  16. Rockingham County, North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Duke University, Battelle Memorial Institute, and McMillan and Moss Research.
  17. Marion County, West Virginia and Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh with National Opinion Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, and University of West Virginia.
  18. Bexar County, Texas: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
  19. Cache County, Utah: University of Utah with Utah State University.
  20. Los Angeles County, California: University of California, Los Angeles with RTI International; Cedars Sinai Medical Center; and University of Southern California.
  21. King County, Washington: University of Washington with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle/King County Public Health Department.
  22. New Haven County, Connecticut: Yale University.

Also see:

Study of Social and Environmental Factors in Autism Subject of High-Profile NIH Grant

Federal Research Grants Show Intensified Effort to Find Autism Clues, Treatments, NIH Says

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