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The National CADDRE Study: Child Development and Autism

The Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology were established in 2001 to investigate causes and correlates of autism. The focus of the current funding cycle is to conduct a multi-site collaborative epidemiologic study to investigate risk and causal factors for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and phenotypic subgroups of ASDs using a population-based case-cohort study design. Six sites (California, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Georgia) will collaborate to enroll 2700 children and their families over the 5-year study period. Each site will include approximately 150 children with ASD, 150 with other neurodevelopmental disorders, and 150 general population controls to address specific hypotheses in six broad domains: 1) phenotypic variation in ASD; 2) gastrointestinal features that may be associated with ASD, 3) candidate genes and genetic variation among individuals with ASD. and how they interact with environmental risk factors, 4) potential for parental infection, immune function, and autoimmunity to be associated with increased ASD risk, 5) potential for parental hormonal and reproductive characteristics to be associated with increased ASD risk, and 6) potential for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors to be associated with increased ASD risk. To address these goals, this study will conduct developmental assessments on the children and collect extensive data on the pre- and perinatal health and environment of the children and their parents via interviews, medical record review, and the collection of biologic samples. CIDD faculty and trainees will work closely with the project to conduct the developmental assessments.

For more information, please contact: Rebecca Pretzel, Ph.D., Psychology

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