The University of Pittsburgh will use $9.6 million from the National Institutes of Health to try to identify the earliest signs of autism and their underlying mechanisms.
The money awarded to Pitt's Center for Excellence in Autism Research will come over five years. Researchers will try to learn how people with autism solve problems and reason, said Dr. Nancy Minshew, the center's director and a professor of psychiatry and neurology. They will try to find genes contributing to autism.
The program consolidates two Pitt programs. One includes researchers from Carnegie Mellon University.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. It is grouped with similar disorders referred to informally as autism spectrum. Its underlying causes are unknown.
The research at Pitt will focus on the differences in the thought processes of people with autism and their brain development, including how faces and face emotion are recognized, how language is understood, how decisions are made and problems solved.
Researchers will study infants, their siblings, preschoolers and people up to 55 with autism who are verbal and have IQ scores between 80 and 120. The studies are accepting volunteers who want to participate. For information, call 412-246-5485 or visit email@example.com.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.