ATLANTA, GA (16 May 2014) — The Simons Foundation, Autism Speaks and the Autism Science Foundation today announced the launch of the Autism BrainNet registration site, It Takes Brains (www.takesbrains.org). Autism BrainNet is a consortium of academic sites funded collaboratively by the Simons Foundation and Autism Speaks to collect, store and distribute brain tissue resources necessary for researchers to understand the underlying neurobiology and genetics of autism.
The pace of autism research has been significantly hindered by a severe shortage of human brain tissue. Important discoveries have already been made thanks to generous donations of brain tissue from individuals with autism. This type of research could lead to a better understanding of the disorder, its treatments and its causes. To date, research has shown that the brains of people with autism seem to be structurally different — possessing different numbers and sizes of neurons — and appear to show increased inflammation compared with the brains of typically developing individuals. In addition, shared changes in gene expression have been identified in the brains of people with autism. However, none of these findings have received adequate replication, in part due to a lack of adequate samples….