New NIH funding for two Autism Centers of Excellence

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The National Institutes of Health has awarded $5.3 million in initial one-year funding to the latest two recipients of the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program. With these awards, announced on World Autism Awareness Day, these and nine other ACE centers around the country are now being funded for up to five years. The program was created in 2007 to launch an intense and coordinated research effort aimed at identifying the causes of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and finding new treatments.

ASDs are complex neurodevelopmental disorders that affect how a person behaves, interacts with others, and communicates and learns. The symptoms, skills, and levels of disability present in people diagnosed with an ASD vary widely.

“While progress in research on ASD has been rapid, complex questions remain about the causes of these disorders, how to detect them very early, and how to intervene most effectively,” said National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Dr. Thomas Insel. “Centers receiving ACE funding have marshaled the interdisciplinary expertise and technical resources needed to move the science forward as quickly as possible.”

The new ACE awards will fund two research networks, or consortia of research centers, each focusing on specific aims:

The ACE program was established to support collaborative, multi-disciplinary science aimed at exploring the causes and identifying the most effective treatments for ASDs. In addition to NIMH, the NIH institutes that support the ACE program are the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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