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May 10th 2019
Welcome to the first AIMS-2-TRIALS newsletter, 
bringing you the latest from across the consortium
Researchers Reach Out
A space to exchange ideas and hear new perspectives
(credit: Trinity College Dublin)
AIMS-2-TRIALS researchers met with autistic people and their families at events across Europe during March. At Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, team members from the rare genetic conditions study led an event to foster two-way dialogue about the future of autism genomics. Speaking in Dublin, Amber Ruigrok of the AIMS-2-TRIALS communications team said, "Sharing our research is always important, but what’s even more important is to hear from the autism community, to really understand what they want."  
Scientist Louise Gallagher took to Twitter to share her enjoyment of the Dublin event
Autism genetics was also explored during a family focused event at the Institute Pasteur, Paris, where Eva Loth (left), Deputy Director of AIMS-2-TRIALS, and Richard Delorme, of the arbaclofen and pre-school studies, discussed the project's vision (image copyright: Institut Pasteur, Thomas Lang 2019).
Meanwhile in London, Tony Charman, leader of the European Autism Clinical Research Network, exchanged ideas with autistic people through the initiative Changing the Face of Autism Together. In his portrayal by an artist and a podcaster, Tony discussed the future of participatory research. "We have an ‘open door’ moment. [...] that can drive what the funders are thinking and what other colleagues are thinking and I would urge people to be ambitious."  
A portrait and podcast of Tony Charman (credit: NIHR Maudsley BRC)
Your Language Matters
Consider the language that you use, advises Simon Baron-Cohen
(credit: University of Cambridge)

The words that we use to describe autism need careful consideration. Speakers at last week’s INSAR meeting were advised to reflect on their use of language, by INSAR President Simon Baron-Cohen. Simon particularly encouraged scientists to think about the four “D” words: disease, disorder, disability, and difference. Each word may be appropriate in a given context, but if used without careful thought, may also risk offending autistic people. Similarly, the words "prevent", "eradicate" and "cure" may feel threatening and be inappropriate for aspects of autism that are part of neurodiversity. Simon discusses these language issues in more detail in his blog in Scientific American.

Autistic People in Your Research
Almost 100 people have applied to join the "Autism Representatives" group, which will involve the autism community in AIMS-2-TRIALS. The group will bring unique insights to inform and improve your research. To make the most of this opportunity, contact group co-ordinator Joyce Man. Ideas about the importance of the group were shared on Twitter during autism awareness week.
The rewards of participatory research according to Guillaume Dummas, Institute Pasteur
Research News
Neural connections involved in motor, sensory and visual processing differ between autistic and non-autistic people, shows research published in March from the Longitudinal European Autism Project (LEAP) study. The researchers suggest that altered connectivity may underpin autistic behaviours. Read more.
Researchers met in Nijmegen in March to discuss progress in their search for biomarkers. Carolin Mössang (centre), of the LEAP study, was one of many to share ideas as the group moves towards identifying biomarkers for further development.
Scientists Share New Findings
Researchers shared their latest results at the INSAR meeting in Montreal last week, with many talks, posters and a panel session on AIMS-2-TRIALS. Read a round-up of INSAR in next week's newsletter.
Website Launch
Following its launch in February, the project's website ( will continue to evolve with more photographs, videos and research updates. News will also be shared on Twitter @Aims2Trials and we encourage you to Tweet about your work, tagging the current account, not EU-AIMS.
Researchers, clinicians and autistic people on the website's homepage
Communications Team
The consortium's newsletter, website and Twitter are managed by the AIMS-2-TRIALS communications team, at the University of Cambridge. We can help you to promote your research, respond to journalists and reach out to the autism community. Tell us about upcoming papers and events well in advance, to give us time to plan media coverage. Email:
The communications team: (L-R) Tracey Parsons, Amber Ruigrok,
Simon Baron-Cohen, Deborah Oakley and Rosemary Holt.
Do you have updates or notices to share in future newsletters? Let us know.
Copyright © 2019 AIMS-2-TRIALS, All rights reserved. 
This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 777394. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA and AUTISM SPEAKS, Autistica, SFARI.


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AIMS-2-TRIALS · Communications Team · University of Cambridge · Cambridge, Cam CB2 8AH · United Kingdom

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