Scientists announce creation

November 08, 2001

San Diego, Calif. - Autism experts around the world will establish the first and only scientific organization dedicated to researching autism spectrum disorders, marking perhaps one of the most significant steps in the quest to unravel this puzzling disorder. The society will be organized at the inaugural International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) conference being held Nov. 9 and 10 at the San Diego Convention Center.

The scientific community's newest society, the International Society for Autism Research (ISAR) will formalize its charter and elect its first president during the two-day autism research conference being held Nov. 9 and 10. Organizers of the society foresee ISAR as a major stimulus in attaining the highest quality interdisciplinary research on autism spectrum disorders by fostering collaboration among scientists and healthcare professionals. "Those of us who have focused our research efforts on autism spectrum disorders have not had the benefit of sharing and discussing our findings with each other in a forum dedicated to this disorder," said Sally Rogers, an autism expert and a psychologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry who is one of the founders of ISAR. "We absolutely must have a dialog to keep research, not only moving forward, but also to a much higher level."

The new society will support international research through the sharing of information, findings and new ideas. Organizers anticipated that once the society is formalized this weekend, members will immediately work to establish a scientific journal for publication of peer-reviewed research as well as an annual scientific meeting and a regular newsletter. Pending a vote of the founding members, membership will likely be limited to scientists and researchers who hold graduate degrees from accredited universities and who have either authored a peer-reviewed journal article related to autism, have extramural funding to carry out research related to autism or have other scientific credentials that can be submitted to the membership committee for review. "The formation of this new society signals a new era of cooperation and communication in the multidisciplinary research of autism," said David G. Amaral, research director at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and professor of psychiatry at UC Davis School of Medicine. "This is an extremely complicated neurodevelopmental disorder which will only be understood through the dedicated effort of the various types of researchers and clinicians who will be attending ISAR. I think this day will be a landmark in the treatment of patients with autism." More information about the IMFAR conference can be viewed at IMFAR's virtual newsroom at

The International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) is the first-ever scientific research conference specifically devoted to the topic of autism. The conference is underwritten collaboratively by the Cure Autism Now Foundation, the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR). Its mission is to provide a unique opportunity for researchers, advocates, health care professionals, service providers and others affected by autism to discuss and promote new research into the condition. In order to reach the IMFAR virtual newsroom, please log onto

Contact: Martha J. Alcott, UC Davis Health System, 916-734-9027, voice; 916-762-9846, pg

University of California - Davis Health System

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