Tasmanian 3D Facial Imaging Study

December 14th, 2008

Season’s Greetings from Canada - where it really is winter!
Tasmania holds a very special place in my heart – I have been fortunate to visit twice: in 2002 and again in 2007. I am really hoping to be able to return again – perhaps even in 2009!
In the meantime, as some of you may know, we have been carrying out a unique study examining the facial features of individuals with ASDs and their family members. Although there are no obvious differences seen with the naked eye, the 3D digital facial imaging that we have done using a very special camera has shown that there are some subtle differences and these might give us clues as to what differences there might be in the development of the brain in people on the autism spectrum. Our findings were published earlier this year in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
We need more data to test this further, and we are inviting you to participate in this exciting and unique study.
Our special camera is in Tasmania only until the end of January, 2009, and then must be sent back to Canada. Our assistant, Philippa Cannan (Pip), has been trained in taking these images – which only take a few moments, once the camera is set up, and the subject is sitting “still”.
If you are interested in participating in the 3D facial imaging study, could you please complete a registration form. If you have any questions please email genetics@autismresearch.com.
At the same time, we invite you to participate in our Genetics and other Research Studies: many of the latter are on-line here at www.AutismResearch.com and involve the completion of different questionnaires, to be done at your convenience.
The Genetics Studies involve providing a small saliva sample in a special kit. The Genetics Studies not only help us to identify possible genetic differences that might contribute to ASD but, in combination with other findings, may help us to identify some environmental factors as well.
If you have already participated in the 3D imaging part of the study, please do complete the registration form, or contact me directly, and we will arrange to have saliva collection kits sent to you for the Genetics study.

Thank you so much for considering participating in this important and novel Research Study. I am hoping to be able to go to Tasmania during 2009, and will make sure to let people know as soon as my plans are made, so that I can meet as many of you as possible and discuss our research findings at that time. If you are interested in learning about our Research Registry or need any help completing the form, please contact us at autism@queensu.ca.

We would also sincerely appreciate your sharing this message with families you know!
For those of you who heard that upon my return from Tasmania in April 2007, I was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia - I rapidly went into remission, and all the chemotherapy sessions went very well. I`m doing great and looking forward to sharing an update on my brother, Jim with autism (who is now 56) and my other brother, Brian, who was recently diagnosed with ADHD. I will write about this at www.AutismConnects.com in the next couple of weeks. Our Mother is also doing very well - she was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2007 - so I am sure you understand why I haven`t been in contact much since my last visit.

I think fondly of everyone I met during March and April of 2007 and look forward to hearing from you and updates on your families.

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, Safe and Joyous Holiday Season and the Very Best for 2009.
Jeanette Holden, PhD