Oakland, CA – Kaiser Permanente is about to conduct what some call the largest study on the causes of autism called the Autism Family Research Bank. The integrated managed care consortium will collect biological, and health information from 5,000 people with autism including both their biological parents, making this study participant total a staggering 15,000.
Autism participants must already be Kaiser Permanete member and under the age of 26.
“This is an opportunity for the families who are affected by autism to really contribute their expertise and experience and help find answers,”
Lisa Croen, director of the autism program at Kaiser’s Division of Research in Oakland and the study’s principal investigator told news outlet SF GATE
“It’s definitely a huge scientific contribution in enhancing our understanding of autism, what causes it, how to treat it in the future and possibly even prevent it.”
The Simons Foundation, a charity that focuses on health and social welfare issues, founded the study with a $4.6 million grant. The grant will fund family recruitment, collection of genetic data, medical data, and environmental data. All personal information will be left out to protect the privacy of the families.
To participate all families will have to give a blood or saliva sample as well as answer a short set of questions on family history and other important factors. Those factors will include age of the parents, environmental exposers during pregnancy, early post-natal phase, immunological abnormalities, and health concerns such as seizures.
Risch, an adjunct investigator for the Kaiser’s Division of Research commented on how lucky the study is to have access to so much of the needed information already through medical records.
Data collection is expected to take three years and once completed, all data will be made available to other qualified researchers.
Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead
Source: Victoria Colliver on the SFGate website: Kaiser to look for autism’s causes in large-scale study