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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Two-Day Workshop United Top Experts To Discuss Environmental Toxins And Autism

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- National experts in environmental
health sciences and neuroscience came together on Thursday and Friday in
Bethesda, Maryland to create a "roadmap" for future research on the role of
environmental factors in the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders.

NAA and Safe Minds sponsored the event through a generous donation from
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Both parent-
led organizations have long advocated for increased research of the
relationship between exposures to toxins such as the mercury-based vaccine
preservative thimerosal and the development of neurological disorders.

Autism spectrum disorders were the primary focus of this symposium, but
the overall objective was to define a research agenda elucidating the
mechanisms by which toxicants may induce neural damage in the developing brain
and ways to reverse such damage.

NAA and Safe Minds gathered experts together to present the latest
research on heavy metal toxicity, biomedical pathways, epidemiology, clinical
treatments, and neurotoxicology. NIEHS presented its current investigations in
developmental neurotoxicology and a framework for funding the research.

After the presentations, the researchers set out to create a plan to
identify the cause, treatments and cure for autism. The creation of this
biomedical research roadmap was moderated by Dr. Ken Olden, immediate past
director of NIEHS.

Laura Bono, Chairman of NAA, said, "A united focus is needed to bolster
environmental research dollars and treatment options for Autism spectrum
disorders which now affect 1 in 166 children with 1 in 6 children suffering
from some form of developmental disorder. Recent investigations reveal
intriguing data suggesting environmental insults combined with genetic
vulnerability may be responsible for this devastating epidemic. The symposium
was our first real step in developing biomedical research desperately needed
for children suffering with autism and in securing NIH funding for support of
such efforts."

A number of non-profit autism and advocacy organizations participated in
the event along with officials from the Department of Health and Human
Services, the National Institutes of Health, and Congressional staff

"Autism groups coming together with important political figures,
government officials, scientists and NIH researchers marks a historical moment
for the autism community and underscores the critical job of helping the
children now," said Jo Pike, Executive Director of NAA.

NAA and Safe Minds plan to submit the roadmap to NIH and Congress with
specific requests for funding the important research.

For the meeting agenda and a full list of presenters at the NIEHS
Symposium, visit http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/niehsagenda.php

Contact: Jo Pike, NAA (SC) 843-206-8449
Rita Shreffler, NAA (MO) 417-725-6107
Wendy Fournier, NAA (RI) 401-632-7523
SOURCE National Autism Association
Web Site: http://www.nationalautism.org

Posted by Becca

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