An ambitious new research project, Spectrum 10K, launches today and will recruit 10,000 autistic individuals, as well as their relatives, living in the UK.
Spectrum 10K is led by researchers at the world-leading Autism Research Centre (ARC), the University of Cambridge, together with the Wellcome Sanger Institute and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and will study how biological and environmental factors impact on the wellbeing of autistic individuals.
There is an urgent need to better understand the wellbeing of autistic individuals. Spectrum 10K hopes to answer questions such as why some autistic people have epilepsy or poor mental health outcomes and others do not
-Simon Baron-Cohen, leading Spectrum 10K and Director of the ARC
In the UK, there are approximately 700,000 autistic individuals. The level of support needed by autistic individuals varies considerably. Many autistic people have additional physical health conditions such as epilepsy, or mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.
It is unclear what gives rise to the diversity within the autism spectrum or why some autistic people have better outcomes than others. The project aims to answer this question and to identify what support works best for each individual.
Individuals of all ages, genders, ethnicities and intellectual capacities will take part in Spectrum 10K. Eligible participants join by completing an online questionnaire and providing a DNA saliva sample by post.
Autistic participants involved in Spectrum 10K can also invite their biological relatives (autistic or otherwise) to participate. Information collected from the questionnaire and DNA saliva sample, and information from health records will be used to increase knowledge and understanding of wellbeing in autism.