According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 58 individuals in Maryland is diagnosed with an autism disorder. As this patient population ages, the heightened need for clinical evaluation, care and treatment for adults with neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism, intellectual disability, epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) inevitably grows as a result. Currently there are two regional centers in Maryland that focus on treating autism in children – Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Klag Center, but there are no centers for adults with the disorder.

To meet this intrinsic need, the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), and the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (TS Alliance) have joined together to launch first-of-a-kind centers in Maryland to treat adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as autism.

Under the direction of Dr. Peter Crino, Professor and Chair of Neurology, the two centers – University of Maryland Center for Adults with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (UMCAND) and the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Center of Maryland (TSCCM) – will provide clinical evaluation, care and treatment for this growing patient population.

Currently, TSC and Fragile X Syndrome (FSX) are seen as the most common genetic disorders linked to autism. At least two children born each day will have TSC, with roughly 50,000 in the United States and 1 million worldwide, according to the TS Alliance.

Dr. Crino is a highly regarded expert in tuberous sclerosis complex, and the TSCCM will serve as a model for the establishment of disease-specific programs for a broad range of neurodevelopmental disorders. The centers ultimately will expand to provide behavioral treatment and other needed services.

Using the clinic as a portal for discovery, the research goals are to identify genetic causes of autism, epilepsy, and intellectual disability; to better understand and identify environmental risks; and to use precision-medicine to develop new therapies.

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