Autism Research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Is Among Time Magazine's Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs

12/11/2009

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Autism research led by scientists at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has been named one of the top ten medical breakthroughs of 2009 by Time Magazine.

On the magazine's website on Dec. 8, Time cited the largest-ever genetic study of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), published in April in the journal Nature, by a group led by Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Genomics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. That study identified DNA variations that account for as many as 15 percent of all ASD cases. Because the gene region affects how brain cells connect with each other in early childhood, the research significantly advances the understanding of how autism originates.

"We are proud of this research discovery, and are glad to see it receive this recognition," said Philip R. Johnson, M.D., chief scientific officer at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "It provides a starting point for translating biological knowledge into future autism treatments."

The autism gene research from Children's Hospital, which included two studies in the same issue of Nature, received extensive news coverage, including the CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, BBC, Reuters, the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and other news outlets in the U.K., India, Australia, Germany and China. Hakonarson's main collaborator was neuroscientist Gerard D. Schellenberg, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, with other scientists participating from 14 additional centers.

To see Time's description of new research on autism, click here:

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1945379_1944376_1944404,00.html

About the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 441-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

CONTACT: Rachel Salis-Silverman of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, +1-267-426-6063, Salis@email.chop.edu