Autism Speaks and UNTHSC team up to meet needs of families affected by autism
By Alex Branch
There, Thomas Frazier, PhD, looked through glasses containing a tiny camera and moved his body in reaction to the movement of a virtual red ball rolling across the screen.
“It’s harder than I thought it would be,” said Dr. Frazier, Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest organization devoted to autism research and advocacy.
Dr. Frazier, Angela Geiger, the organization’s President and Chief Executive Officer, and Marianne Sullivan, Director of Community Outreach, got a firsthand look at research being conducted by Haylie Miller, PhD, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy.
The Health Science Center hosted Autism Speaks leaders at a community science event Oct. 4 that brought together more than 50 advocates, community members, clinicians and families affected by autism for a discussion about the latest advances in autism research.
Dr. Miller holds National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation grants that support her research investigating visuomotor integration in autism spectrum disorder, or the use of visual information to plan, execute and modify movement.
In the Human Movement Performance Laboratory, Dr. Miller and her team demonstrated how studying eye and body movements could help her team see the world as someone with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) does.
For people with ASD, walking down the street without bumping into others can be a challenge. Dr. Miller wants to know if that is because of differences in how they interpret what they see or a combination of factors.
“It’s very cool,” Dr. Frazier said. “It’s obviously a sensitive paradigm for understanding the interaction between vision and motor and how that could potentially be dysfunctional for people with autism or development coordination disorder.”
Geiger said she appreciated that the laboratory’s research activities were engaging for children with ASD who participate as research subjects.
“It felt a little like I was playing on a Wii up there,” Geiger said. “So it allows you to do data collection in a way that is not terribly invasive to the participant.”
The community event provided stakeholders with opportunities to network, learn about area programs and services, and hear from Autism Speaks leaders about their new mission statement.
By Alex Branch Janet Heath has a deeply personal interest in Alzheimer’s disease. Her mother suffered from it, as did her grandmother. Heath spent the last 10 years of her mother’s life trying to coordinate high-quality care as the disease took its terrible toll. That’s why Heath and ...Read more
Jul 17, 2018
By Jan Jarvis The first study of a blood test to detect Alzheimer’s disease within a primary care setting soon will be conducted at UNT Health Science Center. The simple test could be a game-changer in the diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s. If successful, it would be possible to ide...Read more
Jul 12, 2018
By Jeff Carlton Charles Taylor, PharmD, who has presided over a number of critical academic milestones as Dean of the UNT System College of Pharmacy, will become Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at UNT Health Science Center. Dr. Taylor said he was “excited, honore...Read more
Jul 11, 2018
The UNT Health Science Center, all clinics staffed by UNT Health physicians, and the Fitness Center will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, 2018, for the Independence Day holiday. The Lewis Library will be open, with abbreviated hours on July 3 and 4. Have a safe and healthy Independence Day!...Read more
Jul 3, 2018