The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding a large prospective study that may shed light on genetic and environmental factors that contribute to autism spectrum disorders, as well as identify early biological signs of autism (http://www.earlistudy.org/).
The Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) will enroll as many as 1200 mothers of children with autism from the start of a subsequent pregnancy and then monitor the resulting children until the age of 3 years. The women will be asked to complete surveys and provide biological samples; such samples also will be collected from the children, who will undergo periodic assessments for autism.
Kuehn BM. Autism Study. JAMA. 2009;302(4):375. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1046