UC Davis Health Clinical Studies

HELP SPEED UP AUTISM RESEARCH

Join SPARK Today

SPARK, a new online research initiative, aims to advance our understanding of autism by transforming the research landscape. SPARK, a landmark research partnership, will connect researchers to a large group of individuals with autism and their biological families. SPARK is a free online study with a simple mission: to speed up research and advance the understanding of autism • SPARK aims to be the largest study of its kind with the goal of building a community of 50,000 individuals with autism and their families across the nation • The entire autism community is encouraged to participate, including adults and children diagnosed with autism, as well as their biological parents and siblings • By dramatically increasing the number of research participants, SPARK aims to help facilitate research that has not yet been possible An important part of SPARK is the collection of DNA so it can be analyzed to expand our understanding of the role of specific genes in the development of autism. SPARK will ask you to share basic information about your medical and family history, and if you choose, a DNA sample using a saliva collection kit.

Genetic Database
Any, age all individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD)

The BRAIN Study

Studying different patterns of brain development in children

Autism is a very complex disorder, and it is likely that various subtypes exist. For over 10 years, investigators at the MIND Institute have been trying to define different subtypes or “phenotypes” of autism in order to develop the best treatments for each type. As part of this effort, we have been examining the brains of children with autism and age matched typically developing kids to see if there are different patterns of development and organization. In our previous work, we have found that about 15% of boys with ASD have a large brain form of autism. Besides a big brain, we have found that these kids have a different behavioral profile than other kids with ASD. On average, they showed fewer gains in IQ and language by age 5. However, some children with ASD and a big brain showed gains instead. The primary goal of this project is to further study the large brain ASD children compared to other children with and without ASD.

Other
Any, age 24- 42 months

Study of anxiety treatments in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

How can therapy or medication better alleviate symptoms of anxiety and/or autism?

We hope to learn more about anxiety as it uniquely manifests in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and determine how best to alleviate anxiety in children with autism. Forty to eighty percent of children and preadolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit clinically significant anxiety symptoms, which are associated with increased social deficits, depression, irritability, and stereotyped and self-injurious behaviors. While it is clear that anxiety symptoms represent a substantial problem for those with ASD, important issues that could inform treatment remain unresolved. We seek to better characterize anxiety in autism and determine whether therapy or medication can better alleviate symptoms of anxiety and/or autism.

Other
Any, age 8-14 years old
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