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  • Autism Council of Utah

Research & Advances

New: Changes associated with Autism risk may be detected as early as the second trimester.

Researchers at University of Utah Health have identified a link between autism and steroid hormone changes detected in the mother’s blood. These changes, which suggest increased estrogen activity, can be seen early in the second trimester. The pilot study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, opens a new direction in autism research.

Utah Autism Research Program

The Utah Autism Research Program studies autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), which include Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome (AS), PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Not Otherwise Specified). Autism may have many causes, but genetics appears to be important in at least some families. If we are able to recognize which families pass increased risk for autism from parent to child, we may be able to find genes (portions of DNA) that lead to autism. This will be a step toward better understanding of autism, and possibly toward better early detection and treatment.

Researchers need people who have an ASD and/or their families to be part of these studies. Taking part in a study can sometimes be helpful for families. However, people who have an ASD or their families should look very carefully at any research study before they agree to take part in it.

National Center for Medical Home Implementation

The mission of the National Center for Medical Home Implementation is to work in cooperation with federal agencies, particularly the Material and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and other partners and stakeholders to ensure that all children and youth, including children with special needs, have access to a medical home.  The National Center provides medical home resources, technical assistance and support to physicians, families and other medical and non-medical providers who care for children.  The National Center is housed in the American Academy for Pediatrics Division of Children with Special Needs.

The University of Utah invites you to learn more about SPARK, a new online research study sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.

The mission of SPARK is clear: speed up research and advance understanding of autism by creating the nation’s largest autism study. Joining SPARK is simple – register online and provide a DNA sample via a saliva collection kit in the comfort of your own home.

Register at or contact the University of Utah research staff at 1-833-474-7092. Together, we can help spark a better future for all individuals and families affected by autism.

Utah Registry of Autism and Developmental Disabilities (URADD)

Researchers are looking for causes of and possible treatments for ASDs and other disabilities. These studies are going on in Utah and around the nation. Since no one knows for sure what causes ASDs or what are the best treatments for these conditions, these studies are very important.

One kind of study uses information that has already been collected about people who have ASDs or other disabilities. These studies are known as epidemiological studies.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sponsoring a national network of large epidemiological studies looking at children with ASDs. URADD is part of this national network. More information about these studies and other studies sponsored by the federal government can be found at the CDC’s Autism Information Center.


All information provided on the ACU Web site is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute a legal contract between the ACU and any person or entity unless otherwise specified. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ACU. Information on the ACU website is subject to change without prior notice. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, the ACU makes no guarantees of any kind.

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