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 Jan Jarvis Andrew Weis grew up in a family of pharmacists. His father, mother and brother chose careers in pharmacy, as did he. “Pharmacy has been in my blood a long time,” Dr. Weis said. “Collectively my parents, brother and I have 175 years of pharmacy experience.” Hi...Read more
Oct 18, 2017
By Sally Crocker Opioid-related deaths decreased following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, according to a study led by a public health researcher from UNT Health Science Center. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, showed a 6 percent reduct...Read more
Oct 17, 2017
By Justin Sprick, GSBS student I was working as a personal trainer in my hometown of Odessa when an article caught my eye in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It was about using blood flow restriction exercise, which uses inflatable cuffs to reduce blood to the worki...Read more
Oct 13, 2017
By Alex Branch University and community leaders marked a major milestone in the construction of the new Interdisciplinary Research and Education Building, with an event celebrating the 5-story building reaching its final height. UNT Health Science Center President Michael R. Williams, new ...Read more
Oct 12, 2017