Biomedical Advances of Autism 2012
The American Chinese Medical Exchange Society (ACMES) held its second conference on autism, “Biomedical Advances of Autism 2012”, at Mclean Hospital on August 26th, Sunday, from10am to 6:30pm. More than 150 healthcare professionals and parents of autistic children from New England area and beyond participated this conference. The whole day conference featured three panel discussions and a keynote speech by Dr.Martha Herbert. The conference was a great success.The program started at 10:00am, moderated by Dr.Lichao Chen, Instructor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. Dr.Xuejun (June) Kong, the president of ACMES, offered opening remarks. She pointed out that as the fastest-growing complex neurodevelopment disorder, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continues to rise in its prevalence, now affecting 1 in 88 children in the US. It has become a huge healthcare burden and a global threat. Autism awareness, education, research and care have been one of the major focuses of ACMES through the years, its “North American Journal of Medicine & Science” has just published the second special issue on Autism, including 11 top-level peer reviewed articles written by autism experts such as Sidney Baker, Elizabeth Mumper, Maria Mody, Georgina Garcia, Richard Frye, Randall Rasmusson, Michelle Hartley-McAndrew and Rich Lord. She urged Autism clinicians, researchers, psychologists, educators and parents to work together to understand and cure autism in order to help millions of those affected and their families. Finally, Dr. Kong reiterated the mission of ACMES. As a non-profit 501C(3) organization, it is dedicated to medical education and medical exchange. She called for continued support from everybody.The keynote speaker Dr.Martha Herbert, Pediatric Neurologist of MGH/Harvard Medical School and a well-known autism expert just published a new book called “Autism Revolution”. In her keynote speech, she illustrated that her research and clinical practice led her to believe that autism spectrum disorder is systemic disorder. Environmental factors and their interactions with genes play a very important role in its pathogenesis and strikingly increased incidence. There are more than 100 genes found to be related to autism, however most of them are probably not playing a causative role. We are living in a toxic world, as she pointed out. There are as many as 287 kinds of toxic chemicals in umbilical blood, and among them 217 such chemicals have neurotoxic effects. These toxins cause immune dysfunction, GI disturbance, metabolic disorders, chronic inflammations and possibly a lot more harmful effects. In addition, the conference included three major panels: “Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture approach in Autism therapy” “Autism research and innovation” and “Biomedical advances of autism”, and more than 10 speakers and panelists offered their expertise and insight, covering topics including the newest treatment methodology and research findings from basic research, epidemiology and clinical trials, treatment strategies and toxic chemicals, food intolerance, auditory dysfunction and social deficit. These feature speakers include Harvard Professors Dr. David Lee and Dr. William Stone, Dr. William Shaw, CEO of the Great Plains Laboratory, Dr.Devin Houston, CEO of Houston Enzymes, Dr.Ming Tong,, Senior Medical Consultant & Director, Beijing Biopharma International, Sally Brockett, MS, Director of the IDEA Training and Consultation Center in North Haven, Connecticut, Dr. Carol Englender, private practitioner in Framingham, MA, Dr. Jing Liu, licensed acupuncturist and herbist, Chinese medicine consultant and research fellow of MGH, Dr.Weidong Lu, licensed acupuncturist and herbist, instructor of Harvard Medical School, Dr.Zhenzhen Zhang, acupuncturist and herbist. Panel moderators include Dr.John Zhang, the president of Massuchusetts Society of Chinese Medicine; Dr. Xiangyang Yu, Principal Investigator of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Dr.Yi Zhang, Pain specialist of MGH, Dr. Zhen Wu, Senior research scientist at Shire HGT. There was a unique art exhibit by a group of autistic children, attracting many visitors. After meeting, more than 50 attendees went to dinner with the speakers and organizers to continue the discussion.The 150 participants highly praised the conference. The message of “together, we can make a difference to cure autism”, and the calling for support from the community have been well received. This conference served as a great opportunity to learn and exchange ideas for Autism clinicians, researchers, psychologists, educators and parents.The meeting organizer ACMES attributes the huge success of the conference to all the invited speakers and panelists, and to co-organizers McLean Hospital Alternative Medical Center and Mass Society of Chinese Medicine. We also thank our sponsors such as the Great Plains Laboratory, New York Life Insurance, Yangzi River Restaurant and Sichuan’s Garden Restaurant for their support. Finally, we specially thank all the people engaged in the preparation of the event and many volunteers who selflessly contributed their time and effort.