Recruiting Studies

Autism Care

Research
Education
Community
Policy

Research

“Future research needs to focus not only on the biological markers of ASD but also include data about functioning, participation, and environmental barriers and facilitators.”

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo  //  Developmental Pediatrician

 

MacART is laying the foundation for creating a systematic way of linking scientific research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at McMaster University to clinical practice at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

The physical proximity of McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences, and McMaster University has a number of characteristics that provides the rare opportunity for collaborative research. Taking advantage of existing university and clinical infrastructure and cross-appointments for clinicians at the university, ASD experts from these organizations are coming together to integrate ASD research into clinical practice.

The focus of MacART members’ research is in the areas of basic science, clinical practice, clinical research, epidemiology and statistical modelling, knowledge translation and exchange, and social science research. By promoting the collaboration of stakeholders across disciplines, MacART is reducing barriers to implementing research in clinical practice, with the goal of advancing autism care through meaningful research.

Learn more about our research HERE.

Education

MacART members are now supervising more than 50 research trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, and are engaged in the mentoring of junior and intermediate faculty members.

In the future, we intend to establish research and clinical training programs for students in McMaster’s undergraduate medical, health sciences, and psychology programs, and for residents and fellows in Pediatrics and Psychiatry.

By training and mentoring emerging researchers and practitioners, we will help to solidify their understanding of and commitment to using basic science to inform their clinical practice, and to use their clinical experience to help formulate research questions. It is our belief that involving these learners in MacART educational activities will promote their use of practices that advance autism care through meaningful research.

Community

“Our scientists are working collaboratively with local clinicians to generate the evidence needed to improve autism services. This symposium is a great example of McMaster’s community engagement efforts.”

Dr. Patrick Deane // President & Vice-Chancellor // McMaster University

 

The community engagement component of MacART strives to work with stakeholders and involve them as partners in every step of the research process.  By doing so, the questions that drive research begin to change. They become more meaningful because they address the real day-to-day challenges faced by children and their families, and the clinicians supporting them.

MacART aims to increase participation and involvement of members of the McMaster and Hamilton communities in the research process. With community members driving the research, new and relevant knowledge can be produced to bridge the research-to-practice gap in ASD and advance autism care through meaningful research.

Policy

“People whose lives are connected to the challenge of autism can share knowledge – from clinicians to educators to parents – and what an amazing opportunity that is. We have a real opportunity to translate challenges into research, and research into practice that will help families living with autism.”

Rob MacIsaac  //  President & CEO // Hamilton Health Sciences

 

Policies should be created using the best available evidence that make positive impacts on the lives of individuals with ASD, along with their families.

MacART’s founder, Stelios Georgiades, serves on both federal and provincial advisory committees about ASD treatment funding.  Along with the wide-ranging expertise of its many ASD experts, MacART is set to act as a highly credible source of evidence-based information to influence and inform public policy about the provision and funding of ASD diagnosis, treatment, and family supports.

MacART will continue to find ways to collaborate with policymakers to both learn more about the policymaking process, and to contribute our expertise and knowledge to inform policymaking, in order to advance autism care through meaningful research.

Recruiting Studies by MacART Members

 

Participate in our research! The list below shows active research studies and projects being conducted by MacART members and our collaborators that are currently looking for participants. There is information listed on who is eligible to take part and who to contact if you are interested to learn more.

 

BrothErs and Sister Involvement in health care TranSition for youth wIth Brain-based disabilitieS (BEST SIBS) Study

Funded by:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fellowship: Patient-Oriented Research Awards - Transition to Leadership Stream - Phase I

Researchers:

PhD Candidate Linda Nguyen, Dr. Marjolijn Ketelaar, Dr. Briano Di Rezze, Dr. Susan Jack, Dr. Jan Willem Gorter, in partnership with the Sibling Youth Advisory Council.

Study Description:

As children with disabilities grow up and become adults, they will move from their pediatric to adult health care providers. Health care transition can be a challenging process to navigate and youth often need help from their family members, including siblings. We are collaborating with the Sibling Youth Advisory Council who identified this research project as important in raising awareness about siblings’ roles. The purpose of this study is to explore and develop a deeper understanding of the roles and responsibilities held by siblings in supporting their brother or sister with a brain-based disability to prepare for health care transition. Information from this study can help to develop and tailor transition resources to support siblings.

Approximate Study Period:

March 2020 - April 2021

Recruitment Information:

Recruitment information can be found in this video and the CanChild website.
Eligibility criteria: Siblings are eligible to participate if they are 14 to 40 years old, have a sibling who is 14-21 years old with a child-onset neurodisability (for example, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or spina bifida), speak English, and living in Ontario.
If interested in participating or for more information, please contact: Linda Nguyen, nguyel7@mcmaster.ca.

 

A randomized placebo-controlled trial of ARBaclofen vs. placebo in the treatment of children and adolescents with ASD

Funded by:

Ontario Brain Institute, Brain Canada

Researchers:

Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou, Dr. Julia Frei, Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo, Dr. Robert Nicolson, and Colleagues.

Study Description:

The Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders (POND) Network is researching genes, the brain, and behaviour to find potential treatments in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We are currently investigating whether arbaclofen may help improve social functioning in children and teens with autism. We are looking for children and teens between 5 and 17 years old diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and able to tolerate bloodwork. This 18 week long study (9 visits) is comparing arbaclofen against placebo for improving social and global function, and communication. The most common side effects are sedation (tiredness) and upset stomach.

Approximate Study Period:

August 2019 - August 2021

Recruitment Information:

Please see the recruitment poster (PDF).
Eligibility criteria: children and teens between 5 and 17 years old, who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and able to tolerate bloodwork.
If interested in participating, please contact: Alessia Greco, algreco@mcmaster.ca.

 

Investigating the acceptability of the Family Check-up (FCU) program for caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Funded by:

Hamilton Health Sciences Research Strategic Initiatives

Researchers:

Dr. Teresa Bennett, Dr. Vivian Lee, and Colleagues.

Study Description:

The Family Check-up is a brief, evidence-based, assessment-driven intervention that uses a strength-based and motivational interviewing approach to engage caregivers in the prevention and treatment of child emotional and behavioural problems (EBP). Although this intervention has been well studied in the United States, Dr. Bennett and other MacART members are the first research group to investigate the utility of the FCU program in Canada, in addition to its acceptability for families of children with ASD and EBP. This feasibility project will provide invaluable insight into the critical components to consider when implementing and adapting established intervention for a new population (i.e. ASD) as well as areas that require additional consideration when embedding a new intervention into a new healthcare system.

Approximate Study Period:

January 2019 - Ongoing

Recruitment Information: Eligibility criteria: Caregiver(s) of child 6-17 with ASD diagnosis; concern about child emotions and/or behaviours; child is functionally verbal; family comfortable reading/speaking English
If interested in participating, please contact: Julie Gross, grossj@mcmaster.ca.

 

The Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders (POND) Network

Funded by:

Ontario Brain Institute

Researchers:

Dr. Stelios Georgiades, Dr. Teresa Bennett, Dr. Joseph Beyene, Dr. Jane Foster, Dr. Geoff Hall, Dr. Caroline Roncadin, Dr. Karun Singh, Dr. Noam Soreni, Dr. Peter Szatmari, Dr. Marc Woodbury-Smith, Dr. Margaret Fahnestock, and Colleagues.

Study Description:

To accelerate the discovery of biomarkers that will enhance understanding of ASD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and intellectual disability, Tourette Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and Down Syndrome. The project will also accelerate the translation of these discoveries into novel, effective and personalized treatments aimed at improving the lives of affected children and their families. Since its inception, 472 participants with ASD have had behavioural and cognitive assessments, imaging, and electrophysiology studies. More children and their families will be recruited in the future.

Approximate Study Period:

October 2011 - March 2023

Recruitment Information:

Please see the following PDFs for more information: POND Network BrochurePOND Network Flyer
Eligibility criteria: Confirmed ASD diagnosis; 21 years, 11 months of age or less
If interested in participating, please contact: Alessia Greco, algreco@mcmaster.ca, or Carolyn Russell, crussel@mcmaster.ca