An editorial published in the November 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) discusses the challenge of translating scientific research in autism into clinical practice, and presents a series of studies published over several months that address this 'translation gap'.
The translations gap, or the 'Valley of Death,' is a twofold challenge: first, translating the findings of laboratory research into a diagnostic test or method of intervention, which then must itself be studied, and second, using the information derived from evaluations of the new test or method to effect changes in patient care.
Tasked with bringing fresh, clinically relevant autism research to JAACAP, Editorial Board members Peter Szatmari, Tony Charman, and John N. Constantino solicited articles that "bridge the translations gap... by describing methodologically rigorous, newsworthy, and... clinically relevant scientific contributions" in the area of autism research. The resulting articles, published throughout 2012, address such topics as gender differences in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), biomarkers for ASD, developmental trajectories and daily living skills, caregiver burden, and evaluations of several intervention and screening models.
Lead author Dr. Peter Szatmari said of the autism series, "Translational science requires a different paradigm than traditional research and these articles provide an exciting insight into what is possible when we take that challenge seriously."
Source: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry