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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Brains for Research

Uncertainty is a major theme of The Politics of Autism.  The Wall Street Journal, Barbara Sadick writes of a major reason for this uncertainty, and about efforts to address it.
One reason autism research hasn’t made more progress is a shortage of brains available for study. Brain scans can only take researchers so far—they need to work with donated brains to gain a deeper understanding of the condition. 
That’s why four research institutions have formed the Autism BrainNet to reach out to potential donors. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about one in 68 children in the U.S.has autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, which involves impairments in social communication and repetitive behaviors, and is often associated with general intellectual disability and other medical conditions. 
Autism BrainNet is a consortium of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the University of California, Davis. It has launched an “It Takes Brains” campaign aimed at potential donors of both autistic and healthy brains.