Alice Kau of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development says the National Institutes of Health created the Autism Centers of Excellence Program in 2007 to begin an intense and coordinated research program into the causes of autism and to find new treatments.
"The Autism Centers of Excellence program allows NIH institutes to leverage their resources to support the large collaborative efforts needed to advance the broad research goals for autism spectrum disorders research," Kau says in a statement. "This year, the program has expanded to such areas as children and adults who have limited, or no speech; possible links between autism spectrum disorders and other genetic syndromes and potential treatments and the possible reasons why autism spectrum disorders are more common among boys than girls."
The funded programs include:
-- University of California, Los Angeles, which uses brain imaging technology to chart brain development among individuals having genes suspected of contributing to autism spectrum disorders.
-- Emory University in Atlanta, which investigates risk and resilience in autism spectrum disorders, such as identifying factors associated with positive outcomes or social disability.
-- Boston University, which uses brain imaging in an effort to understand why some with autism do not learn to speak.
-- Yale University in New Haven, Conn., which investigates the poorly understood nature of autism spectrum disorders in females.