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November/December 2011


In This Issue
Get in the 'Know' with our daily trivia
Free CME Webcast with Dr. Martha Herbert now online
Million Dollar Puzzle Piece Update
New study finds autoantibody-autism link
New eNewsletters slated for January
Reflections on the Fall Conference

ARI Shield Logo


Spring 2012 NY/NJ Conference

April 27-30
Newark Airport Marriott

Practitioner Seminars, General, Nutrition & Science Sessions


Win an iPad at our Networking Party Saturday April 29th 





Fall 2012 Conference
Hyatt Regency
Orange County, CA 
October 11-14  

Level 1 & 2 Practitioner Seminars, General, Nutrition & Science Sessions

Daily autism tidbits - join 'Did you Know?'

The Autism Research Institute is publishing tidbits on autism trivia, research, advice, and history on its homepage,, as well as our Twitter account and Facebook page.  A new tidbit will be uploaded daily, Monday through Friday.  


Dr. Edelson was quoted as saying, "After studying autism for over 30 years, I have seen a lot and I have learned a lot.  I am excited about sharing interesting bits of information with the autism community." Other experts in the field of autism will also contribute to the 'Did you know?' series.  


To read these daily posts, you can subscribe to ARI's Twitter account or Facebook page or on ARI's homepage

Free Online Webcast with CME: Autism as a Multisystem, Whole-Body Disorder


herbert Visit the ARI Conference site for a free preview of Martha Herbert, M.D., Ph.D.'s introduction to environmental factors and autism.  


Professionals can earn free Continuing Medical Education Credit for watching this educational activity. Watch now


Dr. Herbert is a Pediatric Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, a brain development researcher at the Harvard-MIT-MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, and the Director of the TRANSCEND Research Program (Treatment Research And NeuroSCience Evaluation of NeuroDevelopmental Disorders). She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Autism Speaks. Learn More  

Sell Puzzle Pieces to Support Research that Makes a Difference

As the holiday season approaches, a donation to the Puzzle Pieces project, in honor of someone with autism, would be a wonderful gift. The Puzzle Pieces project is a year-round opportunity to support badly needed autism research. So far we have forwarded $127,293.55 to the Autism Research Institute.  

A note from Puzzle Piece Chair, Lynda Huggins: 

My spouse Jim and I just enjoyed our 50th High School Reunion (we were high school sweethearts). A classmate created a wonderful Memory Book for each of us which included our picture from our senior yearbook, a current photo, contact information and whatever we wanted to write. I included information about the Million Dollar Puzzle and Jim said that at the top of his "bucket list" was solving the autism puzzle. We were surprised that several classmates told us that they have a personal autism connection or know of a child with autism. I had helped with many of the reunion arrangements, etc. I was so touched when our classmates announced that the balance of the money collected (after all bills are paid) will be donated to the Autism Research Institute!  

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Join Our Mailing List
From the Director:  
Our October conference in Las Vegas was a big hit, with more than 600 people in attendance.  It is something very special to see adults on the spectrum, parents, clinicians, and researchers all talking and sharing with one another.  We are truly all in this together.  


Mark your calendar: our next ARI conference is scheduled for April 26 to 29, 2012 at the Newark Airport Marriott, in New Jersey.


We are working on a new look and a revamped structure for ARI's popular website,  We will send out an e-blast as soon as it's up and running.
As the year draws to a close, I want to express gratitude for your ongoing support of ARI's work. For year-end gifting please visit our secure online donation page - all gifts submitted before midnight  Dec. 31 will count toward 2011 taxes. DONATE ONLINE NOW FOR 2011 TAX YEAR


In the midst of the holiday season, the staff and volunteers at ARI wish you a cheerful and pleasant celebration.


Take care,  

Steve Edelson, PhD, Executive Director
Autism Research Institute
UC Davis study points to genetic variant and autoantibodies linked to having a child with autism
ARI Conference speaker Dr. Judy Van de Water (right, pictured with a student researcher at UC Davis's MIND Insitute) was  co-principal investigator in a study that points to maternal immunity gone overboard as a factor in autism.
A study by researchers at UC Davis has found that pregnant women with a particular gene variation are more likely to produce autoantibodies to the brains of their developing fetuses and that the children of these mothers are at greater risk of later being diagnosed with autism.

Dr. Van de Water explains the findings: "This study increases our understanding of how a gene previously linked to autism risk may also play a role in the production of antibodies to fetal brain proteins," said Judy Van de Water, an immunologist and the study's co-principal investigator. "The MET gene codes for a promoter that tells the cell how much MET to express on the surface of the cell. The MET receptor acts as a kind of safety switch that regulates the immune system.  This regulation helps to prevent the mother's immune system from making antibodies that target the brain of the developing fetus.  However, even with this loss of regulation, a second 'hit' is still needed to make the antibodies to self proteins, as the MET mutation is not enough on its own.  We will continue our research to better understand the trigger for maternal anti-fetal brain antibody production."

Learn More 

ARI Sponsors New E-Newsletters for Russian Initiatives and the Hearing/Visually Impaired
  • Russian Initiatives: Last month the Autism Research Institute sponsored a weekend meeting at the University of Chicago with scientists working in the U.S. who were born and trained in Russia. They discussed various ways to help families with autistic children in Russia, and found commonality with one another regarding research endeavors.  Before the first of the year, ARI plans to set up an e-newsletter to keep anyone interested informed about our initiatives in Russia. Pre-subscribe to ARI's Russian Initiatives e-newsletter 
  • Hearing and/or Visually Impaired: Next month ARI will publish a new e-newsletter dedicated to those on the autism spectrum who have hearing and/or visual impairments, and it will be edited by Drs. Margaret Creedon and Steve Edelson. This e-newsletter will give ARI the opportunity to update the autism community about relevant information related to hearing and/or visual impairments, as well as to provide a forum for discussion. All ARI e-Newsletter subscribers will receive this information. 
Fall Conference: Las Vegas Reflections

ARI Shield LogoThank you ARI! Your dedication to helping our kids and keeping parents educated, never fails to amaze and humble me.  Great conference! A must for any parent with a child on the spectrum. There really is nothing that comes close to spending 3+ days immersed in the science." C. Arnett

"Wonderful to be with others who believe we need to put it all together. Behavior, medical, sensory needs, language, Joining forces with the data to back it up - these issues are treatable! Enjoyed this event very much." Thank you, Susan Wood  - Fort Worth, Texas

"This is the 4th ARI conference I've attended over 10 years, I walk away with more than hope. This is real information to effectively treat our children's autism symptoms. My son is alive and doing well because of ARI THANK YOU!" Janice Smith, Rimforest, CA

"This conference was both mind-blowing (as a nurse) and so hope-filling! The experts broke things down and made this complex world of health care manageable to navigate through!  All were relatable and accessible. It truly felt like a partnership of researchers, physicians, a myriad of integral therapists and parents ALL working for the greater good without bias and ego! I will definitely be returning and feel privileged to have been a part of this group for this time!" Sarah Beth Morris

"I laughed, I cried, I got angry at my son's IEP, but mostly I got a huge dose of hope and inspiration to take back and reinvigorate my assault on the regression that Autism has inflicted on my son. The information at this conference is more than golden, it's priceless. Because of the information, I will be adding and subtracting some very important supplements to my son's  regimen, as well as taking a  list of questions/concerns to my  doctor for review." Thanks ARI, Kim Snyder

"I loved the conference, it had information that was valuable to someone who is new to understanding the spectrum, but there was also so much that I will have to return next year so I can learn the rest of the stuff they were talking about." Harmonie Wheeler, Bluffdale Utah

"I am so thrilled to have been able to attend this ARI Conference!  It was an invaluable experience to learn from the top experts in the field of autism and to be among those sharing in the same fight to help their children have the best future possible." Thank you, Elise Guerrero

"I left the conference with a renewed sense of purpose and energy." Vicki Carsrud

"This is a can't-miss conference for your health and your child's. It's just that simple. I am both a doctor and a mother to a son with autism. With his diagnosis, I became aware of just how "stuck in the dark ages" most of the medical community is about autism. The ARI conferences opened a whole world for my son - one where the latest medical research and real life patients have shown that autism is treatable! My son is thriving, as a direct result of what I learned here. I would recommend this conference to anyone who loves someone with autism." r. Cheryl Serr

"This is one of the best conferences I have attended. Full of useful information I could use the day I got home. Well organized, close to monorail, loved the exhibits for technical supplement info and samples/discounts, cash food nearby, a.m. coffee, excellent price ... all made this doable for a financially stressed family to help their child quickly." Dave Randal

"I attend most of the autism conferences I can get to on the West Coast, and this by far has been the most informative and interactive conference I have ever been to!" Emoke

"Well organized and thoughtfully put together. Returning to the ARI for the 11th year is a must!" Dr. Denise Tarasuk

Videos and audio files from the Fall 2011 conference will be available on the web site in the weeks to come - we will send an announcement when they are available for viewing.

Watch free video webcasts from the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 ARI Conferences 


Donate to support free online streaming of the ARI Conference 

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