Scottish Rite Supports the Search for the Cause of Autism
The Scottish Rite is located in Hamilton's west end at 4 Queen Street South.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition that typically arises during childhood. It is the most common form of any neurological disorder or severe developmental disability of childhood. While some areas of development may be delayed in children with ASD, they may also exhibit skills and talents that are well beyond their years.
ASD can impair a child’s social interaction, communication, language development and behaviour. To date, there is no cure for ASD, but researchers at St. Joe’s are getting closer to understanding its root cause through a project funded in part by the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation of Canada.
Since it was founded in 1964, the Foundation has supported research into the causes of intellectual impairments, like autism, with the hope of finding answers, treatments and cures to these Puzzles of the Mind. Researchers have long known that the basis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is genetic. With the first grant from the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation of Canada in 2010, Dr. Marc Woodbury-Smith established a pilot study at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton that identified three areas where the autism gene could be located.
In collaboration with colleagues from the Centre for Applied Genomics in Toronto, Dr. Woodbury-Smith is using gene sequencing and genetic linkages to better understand the cause of autism and uncover the genes responsible and their location within the human genetic code. Their findings will help to unearth the root causes of ASD which may help to improve treatment options and perhaps one day, enable us to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
The Scottish Rite Foundation recently granted additional funds for 2013 and 2014 which brings their generous support of autism research at St. Joseph’s to more than $122,000. It’s estimated that it can take up to ten years to move a scientific discovery from lab bench to bedside so this continuing support from the Scottish Rite is essential to the furthering of autism research at St. Joe’s. We are deeply appreciative of The Scottish Rite Foundation’s grants that are enabling Dr. Woodbury-Smith and his team to find answers for the growing number of Canadian children living with ASD, and their families.
Members of the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation (SRCF) presented Dr. Woodbury-Smith with further financial support early in 2014. Presenting a cheque for $34,675 are, from left to right, Frank Fordham SRCF Valley Representative, Hamilton Valley; Terry Mclean Director SRCF and Lieutenant Grand Commander, Supreme Council; James Stewart MWS Hamilton Sovereign Chapter Rose Croix.
On the far right, our Foundation's Jill Kennedy and Dr. Marc Woodbury-Smith
gratefully receive this generous gift on behalf of St. Joe's.