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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

Gestational exposure questionnaire validation and feasibility study

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Walker, Cheryl

Description

Description

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have known heritable and more recently recognized environmental contributions. Identifying environmental factors involved in ASD etiology is thus a priority for researchers as well as for Autism Speaks. Progress towards this goal depends on collecting data on environmental factors that may have influenced the development and course of ASD during critical time windows. The objective of this research project is to address the Autism Speaks' targeted priority of discovering and characterizing risk factors for ASD, by developing, refining, validating, and feasibility testing a data-collection tool designed to assess medical and environmental exposures potentially relevant to ASD. Because epidemiologic, neuroanatomic, and animal studies support the prenatal and early life origins of ASD, this self-administered questionnaire asks parents to report exposures during peri-conceptional, pregnancy, and postnatal periods. This tool will cover broad exposures potentially linked to neurodevelopment and ASD, including medical history and procedures, maternal lifestyle and nutrition, exogenous chemicals and toxic compounds. The specific aims are: Phase 1: To select, validate, and refine medical and environmental exposure questions drawn from multiple studies for inclusion in a pilot instrument; Phase 2: To validate the instrument on a sample of 150 participants in the MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies - Learning Early Signs) prospective cohort of women and their at-risk pregnancies; and Phase 3: To assess the feasibility of this instrument by enrolling 200 families each from the CHARGE and AGRE studies and requesting that they complete it and provide feedback on the experience. There are currently no validated instruments for environmental exposure assessment during gestation or infancy that would be appropriate for widespread implementation in typical ASD studies. Access to a new, low-burden instrument will help make evaluation of environmental exposures more standardized and feasible for a variety of ongoing and new studies of ASD and other developmental outcomes. This will not only allow more widespread environmental data collection relevant to ASD, but will assist in combining environmental data across studies to more powerfully examine rare exposures, exposures with relatively weak effects, and interaction effects.

Funder

Funder

Autism Speaks

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

20262

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2012-2014

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 3SH. Support at least three studies of special populations or use existing databases to inform our understanding of environmental risk factors for ASD in pregnancy and the early postnatal period by 2012. Such studies could include: o Comparisons of populations differing in geography, gender, ethnic background, exposure history (e.g., prematurity, maternal infection, nutritional deficiencies, toxins), and migration patterns; and o Comparisons of phenotype (e.g., cytokine profiles), in children with and without a history of autistic regression, adverse events following immunization (such as fever and seizures), and mitochondrial impairment. These studies may also include comparisons of phenotype between children with regressive ASD and their siblings. Emphasis on environmental factors that influence prenatal and early postnatal development is particularly of high priority. Epidemiological studies should pay special attention to include racially and ethnically diverse populations. IACC Recommended Budget: $12,000,000 over 5 years.

Project Link

Project Link

Gestational exposure questionnaire validation and feasibility study (External web link)

Institution

Institution

University of California, Davis

State/Country

State/Country

California

Project Number

Project Number

7784

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Gestational exposure questionnaire validation and feasibility study | 187864 | 2012 | 7784
Gestational exposure questionnaire validation and feasibility study | 0 | 2014 | 7784

 
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