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NIH Autism Research Network

The National Institutes of Health support two major research networks dedicated to understanding and treating autism:

The Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism (CPEA) Network conducts research to learn about the possible causes of autism, including genetics, immunological, and environmental factors, as well as diagnosis, early detection, behavioral and communications characteristics, and treatment of autism. Established in 1997 by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD) , the CPEAs are part of the international Network on the Neurobiology and Genetics of Autism.

CPEA Centers (9)

  • Boston University, MA
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • University of Rochester, NY
  • University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
  • University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • Yale University, New Haven, CT

Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment (STAART) Network As one of the responses to the Children's Health Act of 2000, NIH established the STAART Network. Although the Act called for at least five centers of excellence in autism research, the five NIH Institutes involved in the NIH Autism Coordinating Committee (NIMH, NICHD, NINDS, NIDCD, & NIEHS) funded eight centers, all of which focus on the causes, diagnosis, early detection, prevention, and treatment of autism. Each center supports three or more research projects, with at least one study focused on treatment. In addition, the centers engage in multi-site clinical trials and collaborate through meetings, interest groups, and data sharing.

STAART Centers (8)

  • Boston University, MA
  • Kennedy Krieger, Baltimore, MD
  • Mount Sinai, New York, NY
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • University of Rochester, NY
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • Yale University, New Haven, CT

Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks funded $20 million worth of autism research in 2006 in four categories: Pilot Study Awards, Fellowship Awards, Augmentation and Bridge Awards, and for the first time ever, awards were given for early treatment research. A grant also funded the development of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) Community Project which will launch in 2007.

Clinical Trials provides regularly updated information about federally and privately supported clinical research in human volunteers. gives you information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details.

Check the Clinical Trials website for a list of trials recruiting patients. Project overviews, patient eligibility, and contact information are provided for each clinical trial

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Spotlight Article

About half of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can be diagnosed soon after their first birthday.

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Ryan, Age 23