Monday, April 7, 2008

UPMC gets state money for autism network

Pennsylvania has sent $250,000 to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to help establish the "Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network Site." UPMC will host one of 15 Autism Speaks sites in the nation. The site will include two clinics, one for birth to 7 and another for 8-15 year-olds. Pitt Professor Nancy Minshew says the program approaches autism for the stand point that it is a neurological disorder with medical complications. Many other programs see it as just a behavior issue. She says as the clinics open later this year they will not only treat patients but also gather data about symptoms and treatments and eventually post their results on web sites where parents of autistic children can find it. Minshew says the state grant represents a third of the start up funding for the effort. The rest comes from UPMC and from Autism Speaks. She says it was important to have the promise of the state grant in hand when Pittsburgh was being considered as a site because it showed there was a high level of commitment to the project. More funding is being sought.

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