IC Directors' Meeting Highlights
December 29, 2005
I. Autism: A Window on the Social Brain
Dr. Insel began his presentation by summarizing what we know about autism, such as its onset age, heritability, prevalence, gender breakdown, etc., and what constitutes autism by definition:
Then, after introducing and describing the range of autism spectrum disorders, he updated the group on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IAACC) (see http://www.nimh.nih.gov/autismiacc/index.cfm), which NIMH staffs. He also summarized the Autism Research Matrix, developed at the first Autism Summit Conference in November 2003, and brought the group up to date on recent autism and autism spectrum research involving genes, cells, systems, and behavior.
Dr. Insel described exciting research in eye-tracking methods that relies on highly specialized technology. He closed by describing recent advances in neuroanatomy and research in the circuitry of the social brain, especially as the latter might relate to pathways for processing language. He noted that Dr. Alex Martin’s NIMH intramural lab is involved in research related to the circuitry of the social brain and demonstrated a video used in that research to determine if subjects/viewers attribute social meaning to inanimate objects. He also mentioned an article in the October 26, 2005, Wall Street Journal, by Lee Gomes, entitled “Robotic Toys May One Day Diagnose Autism.”
II. OPASI Update
Dr. Kington discussed the mission of OPASI and the proposed vision of the fully-staffed office as presented at the Leadership Forum in early fall. Dr. Kington said that the Office should be up and running in 2 to 3 months and that a national search for its Director should begin within the next 6 to 10 months. He noted that the OPASI Ad Hoc Working Group (WG), under the auspices of the NIH Steering Committee, will extend its tenure in order to —
The WG will clearly define the critical concept of the CF, which is now envisioned as follows:
The discussion that followed led to such observations as the need for —
Dr. Kington called for IC Directors to provide —
This page was last reviewed on September 27, 2006 .
National Institutes of Health (NIH)