AIR-P Research in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network
Children and adolescents with ASD may experience any of a variety of associated medical conditions which often are difficult to manage and poorly understood. The AS ATN/AIR-P pursues research to improve the quality of care for children with ASD and their families. Read about our research on how our network of researchers, doctors and clinicians develop evidence-based guidelines and tools for the diagnosis and treatment of autism and associated conditions:
PROJECTS LAUNCHED 2009 (2 STUDIES)
Diet and Nutrition in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An ATN Study
An observational study led by Susan Hyman, MD, of the University of Rochester. Participating sites included the University of Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute (S. Jill James, PhD), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center(Patricia Courtney-Manning, MD), and the University of Pittsburgh (Cynthia Johnson, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). The study proposed to determine the nutritional status of 450 children ages 2 to 11 with autism.
Parent-Based Sleep Education Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
A randomized control trial led by Beth Malow, MD, MS, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Participating sites included the University of Colorado (Ann Reynolds, MD), and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (Shelly Weiss, MD). The study proposed to determine the most effective education/behavior intervention in addressing insomnia in families of approximately 150 children ages 2 to 10 years old with autism.
PROJECTS LAUNCHED 2010 (4 STUDIES)
Bone Mineral Density in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
A cross sectional study led by Ann Neumeyer, MD, of the Lurie Center/MGH. The study proposed to determine whether 20 boys, ages 8 to 14 years old with autism, have lower bone mineral density than age-matched controls, and explored risk factors for low bone mineral density.
Markers of Iron Status and Metabolism in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
A cross-sectional, observational study led by Ann Reynolds, MD, of the University of Colorado in collaboration with the sites from the AIR-P Nutrition Study. The study proposed to evaluate associations between iron intake, iron status, GI symptoms, and novel markers of iron status, iron absorption and inflammation in 450 children ages 2 to 11 years old.
Defining the Relation of Sleep Disturbance in Autism Spectrum Disorder to Psychiatric and Behavioral Co-morbidities
A cross-sectional, analytical study led by Suzanne Goldman, PhD, and Beth Malow, MD, MS, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. This study used the AS ATN Registry to define the psychiatric and behavioral co-morbidities associated with disordered sleep across the spectrum of age, IQ, and functional status.
Prevalence of Creatine Deficiency Syndrome (CDS) in children with ASD and the impact of genotypic variability of CDS genes
A pilot, observational study led by Andreas Schulze, MD, PhD, and Alvin Loh, MD, of the Toronto ATN site. Participating sites included Lurie Center/MGH (Margaret Bauman, MD), and the Universityof Colorado (Anne Tsai, MD, Ann Reynolds, MD). The study proposed to identify the prevalence of CDS in 600 children with autism and assess the interaction of genotypic variability of the three known genes involved in creatine metabolism with the autism phenotype.
PROJECTS LAUNCHED 2011 (5 STUDIES)
The Autism Impact Measures (AIM): A New Tool to Measure Treatment Outcome in ASD
An observational study led by Stephen Kanne, PhD, at Baylor College of Medicine. Participating sites included Oregon Health and Science University (Darryn Sikora, PhD) and six collaborating ATN sites (Kennedy Krieger Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, University of Missouri at Columbia, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Vanderbilt University Medical School, Children’s Hospital, and University of Colorado Denver). The study proposed to test the validity and reliability of the AIM (a newly developed assessment tool that tracks parent-reported frequency of core ASD symptoms and the impact of those symptoms on function) and to further refine the measure using a large sample size of 400 children.
Maternal Cholesterol and Autism
A pilot, observational study led by Jean-Baptiste Roullet, PhD, and Robert Steiner, MD, of Oregon Health & Science University. Collaborating sites included University of Colorado Denver (Anne Tsai, MD, Ann Reynolds, MD) and Kennedy Krieger Institute (Elaine Tierney, MD). The study proposed to characterize maternal sterol metabolism in 100 mothers of children with autism including mothers at risk to have another autistic child.
Epileptiform Discharges and its Relation to Cognition and Behavior in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
A pilot, observational study led by Greg Barnes, MD, PhD, and Julie Paolicchi, MD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Collaborating sites included the Columbia University Medical Center (Reet Sidhu, MD, Erica Kovacs, PhD) and Lurie Center/MGH (Kathy Martien, MD, Kenneth Sassower, MD). The study proposed to test putative links between interictal epileptiform discharges, sleep, and behavior/cognition in 60 children ages 3 to 7 years old.
The Study of Toddlers with Autism and Regression (STAR) Protocol – Screening for Treatable Disorders and Biomarkers of Inflammation and Immune Activation in the Plasma and CNS
An observational study led by Alvin Loh, MD, Evdokia Anagnostou, MD, Jessica Brian, PhD, and William Logan, MD, of the Toronto ATN site. Collaborating sites included Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute (S. Jill James, PhD) and Kennedy Krieger Institute (Deepa Menon, MD). The study proposed to determine if 50 children ages 18 to 36 months have increased signs of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress compared to children with autism and no regression.
Constipation and Toilet Training in Autism
A pilot, observational cohort study led by Peggy Marcon, MD, and Pam Green, RN, at the Toronto ATN site. This pilot study proposed to describe and develop an effective and clearly defined behavioral treatment protocol for 10 children ages 4-9, and to complement and enhance current medical treatment of constipation in children with ASD.
Projects Launched 2012 (5 studies)
Treatment of Overweight Induced by Antipsychotic Medication in Young People with ASD
A 3-year study to conduct a 16-week, double blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial of fixed dose metformin to decrease weight gain associated with atypical antipsychotic (AAP) medication in children with ASD. A total of 90 subjects (ages 6-17) will be recruited from the ATN Registry and other research/clinical databases. Evdokia Anagnostou, MD leads the project across the Toronto-based centers - Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab/ The Hospital for Sick Children/Surrey Place Centre. Collaborators include Ben Handen, PhD at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Jeremy Veenstra-Vanderweele, MD, PhD at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Mike Aman, PhD at Ohio State University/Eric Butter, PhD at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Iron Treatment of Sleep Disorders in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
A study designed to evaluate the effect of iron supplementation on restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement of sleep. The first phase is an open label trial of oral elemental iron for children with ASD and low ferritin levels. The second phase is a randomized placebo-controlled trial of oral elemental iron treatment for insomnia in children with ASD and low ferritin levels. A total of 180 children (ages 3-10) will be enrolled across four ATN centers. Ann Reynolds, MD at the University of Colorado Denver leads the projects in collaboration with Heidi Connelly, MD at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Shelly Weiss, MD at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital/ The Hospital for Sick Children/Surrey Place Centre, and Beth Malow, MD, MS, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Evaluation for Functional Causes of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Children with ASD
A one-year, single-site research effort lead by Kent Williams, MD at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The project proposes to gather pilot data to explore mechanisms associated with functional gastrointestinal disorders in children with ASD.
Evaluating the Impact of Emergency Room Services for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders
A 2-year, multi-site research effort lead by Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, MD, at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in collaboration with David Nicholas, PhD, at the University of Calgary, and Barbara Muskat, MD at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The investigators propose to examine emergency room (ER) accessibility and experience among children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Relationship between Gastrointestinal Disorders and Stress Reactivity, Immunity, and Blood Serotonin in Autism Spectrum Disorder
A 2-year, multi-site research effort led by David Beversdorf, MD, at the University of Missouri, Thompson Center, Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, MD, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Margaret Bauman, MD, at the Lurie Center/MGH. The investigators plan to examine factors related to immune markers and whole blood serotonin, and how stress response, gastrointestinal disorders, immunity, and the serotonin system interact in autism.
Projects LAUNCHED 2013 (3 STUDIES)
Development of a Manualized Wireless Toileting Alarm Intervention for Toilet Training Children with Autism
A study led by Daniel Mruzek, PhD, at the University of Rochester, Whitney Loring, PhD, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Eric Butter, PhD, at the Ohio State University. The investigators are leading a study of a standardized toilet training protocol involving a novel wireless moisture alarm and step-by-step manual for clinicians/parents.
Overweight and Obesity in ASD: Prevalence, Correlates, and Predictors of Weight Changes Over Time
A secondary analysis of existing AS ATN Registry data led by Eric Fombonne, MD, at Oregon Health & Science University. The investigator proposes to estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity, to test trends for recent cohort changes in age-specific prevalence and to examine the effect of specific baseline predictors on weight gains or changes.
Sleep Problems in Children with ASD: Examining the Role of Anxiety and Sensory Over-Responsivity
A secondary analysis of existing AS ATN Registry data led by Micah Mazurek, PhD, at the University of Missouri. The investigatorproposes to examine the relations among sensory over-responsivity, anxiety, and sleep problems in children with ASD at baseline, and to examine whether sensory over-responsivity and anxiety predict the occurrence of sleep problems over time among children with ASD.