Feb. 22, 2002
Volume XXXV, No. 8


Of Note


Third annual autism conference set for Feb. 23


Autism is one of the top childhood developmental disorders, affecting 1 out of every 300 Texas children. Autism prevalence rates surpass childhood cancers, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Down's syndrome. While the disorder has no known cause or cure, researchers have made great strides in understanding the biology of autism and in implementing treatments for autistic children and adults.

Dr. Raymond Palmer, assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine, will present some of the latest findings at the third annual Medical Conference on Autism. Dr. Palmer is one of seven featured speakers. He will present his research on the growth rate patterns of autism in Texas over the last decade.

"The rate of autism in Texas has dramatically increased over the past 12 years," Dr. Palmer said. "Some would certainly call this an epidemic of grand proportions. It is something to take very seriously not only by those families who are affected, but also by physicians, educators and policy makers."

The conference is open to physicians, educators, policy makers and families of autistic children. It begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, in the Health Science Center auditorium. Participants can preregister online at www.sanantonioautism.org, or register at 7 a.m. the day of the conference. Registration is $55 for parents and physicians. Doctors have an optional $20 charge for continuing medical education credit. For more information, call (210) 828-8488.

The Health Science Center is sponsoring the conference in conjunction with the Texas Center for Autism Research and Treatment (TCART) and the Autism Society of America-San Antonio.

Dr. Palmer and colleagues are about to launch the largest autism trial ever done using an FDA approved drug to treat the disorder. An interdisciplinary team of researchers will begin the investigation in March. Faculty interested in collaborating on other Autism projects can contact Dr. Palmer at ext. 7-3043 or by e-mail at palmer@uthschsa.edu.