While I’m sure news about autism spikes in April during the annual awareness campaign, I doubt autism is absent from the news very often. Whether parents and advocates are lobbying for more services and funding, experts and non-experts are arguing over whether vaccines cause autism or celebrities are jumping onto the awareness bandwagon, it seems that autism is everywhere. Even if you are someone who avoids the news, autistic characters are on television, movies and in books.
Unfortunately, where autism isn’t found is in the context of breakthrough stem cell research.
I know three families who are living with autism and, given the growing prevalence of this condition, you may be able to relate. In honour of these parents and kids, and autism awareness month, I wanted to write a post about stem cells and autism to tout whatever remarkable research is taking place. Regrettably, I’m finding it difficult to locate that research. This blog at EuroStemCell may help to explain why.
Nevertheless, here are a few things that caught my eye:
At the University of Guelph, Assistant Professor John Vessey is investigating “Protein inactivation by agrochemicals as a mechanism underlying development of Autism Spectrum Disorder” with a New Ideas grant from the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine. If successful, “this proposal will identify the mechanism by which pre-natal pesticide exposure triggers autism spectrum disorder and provide a target for therapeutic development.”
This is an area of research that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is also funding. You can watch four videos on this topic.
Hopefully there will be more to report before this time next year.
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