The University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the University of California Los Angeles and Wellcome Sanger Institute, has launched the Spectrum 10K project. Dubbed as the largest ever autism study in the UK, this research project has also been backed by famous comedian Paddy McGuinness, who is the father of three autistic children.
Spearheaded by Cambridge University’s Autism Research Centre, this autism study is aimed at investigating the effect of genetic and environmental factors on autistic people. The researchers are inviting 10,000 autistic people as well as their families to better understand the needs of people dealing with additional conditions such as anxiety, epilepsy, and depression.
As per Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen, this project was launched in response to the urgent need to develop a better understanding of autism. Even though by some estimates, the prevalence of autism in the UK is one in every hundred, there are still many mysteries surrounding autism spectrum disorder. This research also hopes to shed light on the interrelation between autism and mental health.
Autistic people from a variety of backgrounds such as different ethnicities, age groups, genders, and intellectual capacities are likely to take part in this study by way of filling out an online questionnaire and providing DNA samples. They are also free to invite their biological relatives, both autistic and otherwise, to take part in the project.