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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Children's Health and Autism

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Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that are caused by an abnormality in the brain. People with ASDs tend to have problems with social and communication skills and can have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to different sensations. Autism can begin during childhood and last throughout a person's life (Source: CDC)

Many of the current efforts related to autism focus on improving surveillance and investigation of potential risk factors of the disease. These pages are intended to provide an overview of some of the key autism projects underway in the Pacific Southwest, as well as links to additional resources. Several reports detailing recent changes in the prevalence of autism in California are also available.

Research and Surveillance

California  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • California Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE)
    Environmental Health Investigation Branch. California Department of Health Services. One aim of California CADDRE is to establish a comprehensive surveillance system to track children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) throughout the state. California CADDRE will also conduct several large studies with a culturally diverse population of children in California in order to investigate possible causes and risk factors associated with autism.
  • NIEHS Center at UC Davis
    Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention is a multi-disciplinary collaborative research organization established to examine how toxic chemicals may influence the development of autism in children. A number of projects are underway.
  • Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment Study (CHARGE)
    A case-control study of 2,000 children with differing patterns of development.
    Animal models are being developed and utilized to determine how early postnatal or perinatal exposure to known immunotoxicants and neurotoxicants in the presence and absence of immune challenge influences normal development of social behavior.
    Measurement of toxic compounds present in the blood of autistic and non-autistic children. Investigate how chemicals affect the developing immune and nervous systems.
  • UC Davis MIND Institute
    A network of parents, educators, physicians and scientists affiliated with the University of California, Davis. This site contains information about current studies in number of developmental disorders, including autism
  • California Department of Developmental Services (DDS)
    A department within the California Health and Human Services Agency, DDS provides a number of services for children with developmental disabilities, including autism. A copy of the DDS 2003 Autism Report is available as well as a number of links to additional resources.
  • Autism Tissue Program
    The Autism Tissue Program is a joint effort of the Autism Society of America (ASA) Foundation, the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and the M.I.N.D. (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute at the University of California, Davis

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    Networks with consortium bank at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, California.
  • UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART)
    CART was established in 2003 as part of the Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment (STAART) program funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). UCLA is one of 8 STAART Centers in the country and one of 10 Collaborative Programs for Excellence in Autism (CPEA) funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). A central theme of the Center’s research program involves understanding the origins of social, communicative, and language deficits demonstrated by individuals with autism. A second theme is a focus on the design and testing of experimental treatment interventions
  • Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism (CPEA)
    In 1997, the NICHD started a five-year, $42 million, international network of ten CPEA centers to unravel the mysteries of autism. The Neurobiology and Genetics of Autism Network has directed their genetics studies at families that have more than one child with an autism disorder. There are several laboratories in California conducting studies.
  • University of California at Irvine
    Genetic studies of autism.
  • Stanford Autism Genetics Program
    The Stanford Autism Genetics Program is a joint effort by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Genetics who are examining the possible genetic causes of certain forms of autism. Results from a 1999 study of 139 autism families are available, as well as information the studies currently underway.
  • Lucille Packard Children's Hospital Autism Imaging Study
    The aim of this study is to determine if there are differences in brain structures between autistic children and their nonautistic siblings.

Reports  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

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