ARI Monthly Enewsletter - View as Webpage
Monthly News | January 2021


Moving the autism field forward in times like these is tough. Yet, for nearly 55 years, we've hit the ground running each January, and, despite the challenges, we are determined to keep moving autism research and education forward as in the past. Planning has already begun for this year's research grant program, scientific meetings, and our international outreach, in addition to free, online webinar programs. We will continue to keep the autism community posted about our new initiatives and programs through our website,, and our e-newsletters. Stay tuned!
We know that ongoing disruptions continue to present difficulties for many and that these times are uniquely challenging for some individuals and families affected by ASD. We are deeply grateful to those who contributed to ARI during our 2020 year-end campaign, as well as those who have supported us throughout the years
Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D.
Executive Director
ARI News
New, 8-minute video provides a primer on underlying illness and ASD
In this brief overview, neurologist Margaret Bauman, M.D., summarizes symptoms and signs of frequent co-occurring medical issues that may go unrecognized in patients diagnosed with ASD.
Pandemic impact: ARI 2020 research grant recipients share gratitude online
Autism research must continue despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are pleased to announce our 2020 research grant recipients. Grants we funded in 2020
Learn about ARI's 2020 impact
The Covid-19 pandemic upended many lives this year, and the need to provide meaningful support while sustaining research is as important as ever. Despite the challenges of 2020, we continued our efforts to pioneer research, outreach, and cooperative efforts with other organizations worldwide.
Mourning the passing of pioneering researcher, Darold Treffert
Darold Treffert began studying autism in the 1960s, a time when it was still largely misunderstood. Dr. Treffert explored how the minds of people on the autism spectrum work. He was known for his celebration of the extraordinary achievements and abilities that come with savant syndrome and other points on the autism spectrum and wrote several books on the topic.
Research Updates
Participate in Research:
Seeking families who have boy and girl siblings diagnosed with ASD
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Autism Research Institute are investigating whether the reason why boys are more affected than girls is related to differences in intestinal bacteria.
We are seeking families to participate in this study who have both boy and girl siblings with autism. These families will be mailed stool kits with instructions and will be asked to collect samples. A brief medical history will be taken.
For additional information, and enrollment details, please contact Harland Winter, M.D., by phone 617-724-2004 or email.
Possible fat-related biomarker detected in very young children with ASD
Researchers in Japan report that they have identified a possible biomarker for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in very young children.

Noting that both low birth weight and obesity in infancy are known risk factors for ASD, Motoko Maekawa and colleagues hypothesized that ASD might involve abnormal fat-cell metabolism.
Restless Leg Syndrome may underlie insomnia in ASD
A new study suggests that sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may frequently stem from a condition known as restless leg syndrome (RLS).

Restless leg syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in the legs that lead to an overwhelming urge to move them. The symptoms are strongest in the late afternoon and at night and are most severe when people are resting.
Free Webinar 2/3:
Auditory Processing and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Tune in to learn about emerging research on the role of auditory processing in autism spectrum disorders.

Presented by Sophie Schwartz, PhD., Boston University Center for Autism Research Excellence
Free Webinar 2/24:
The Role of Neurotransmitters in GI Disorders Related to Autism
Tune in to learn about research exploring the role enteric neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin and oxytocin, play in the enteric nervous system (ENS).

Presented by Kara Gross Margolis, MD, Columbia University.
COVID-19 resources and coping stories
Did you miss last week's webinar on supporting individuals with anxiety and ASD during the pandemic? Watch the playback now on our COVID-19 Resource page.
Coping with COVID-19: ARI's Live Webinars, Social Stories Help Families Cope

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Thanks to You,
researchers are receiving precious funding!
Thank you for believing in the power of research and education. Without you, none of it is possible.

And thank you to all who donated during our year-end campaign.
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