U.C. Davis conducts large autism study

0912-spark-autism-studyDavis, Calif. (KOVR) — Lucy was diagnosed with autism at just 18 months.

Lucy’s mother, Caroline said the last four years have been tough, but rewarding, “She’s worked really hard, and people would come to our house for hours.” And for the first time Friday, Lucy and her mom became part of a new study that could link autism to genetics.

The study aims to recruit 50,000 families to get a bigger sample which researchers say would help them gain a better understanding of what triggers autism.

Dr. Leonard Abbeduto says the process is simple. Families can enroll online and then mail out their saliva collection kits to a lab. Their DNA is then analyzed and stored for the study.

Lucy’s mom said she’s not aware of anyone who’s been diagnosed with autism from her side of the family, or her husband’s. She said, “Lucy is the first person diagnosed who we know of.”

Caroline said she hopes the new study will shed more light on the disorder she’s had so many questions about. “This could be a game changer to understanding what causes autism and now we can work to tailor treatments and prevention,” she added.

More information about the research study can be found at the SPARK website.

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