The California Autism Twin Study (CATS)

Timeframe:  2004 - 2009

IAI scientists collaborated with researchers from Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente, the University of California, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute (M.I.N.D), and California CADDRE to study autism in California twins. The California Autism Twin Study (CATS) examined the behavior and learning styles of children with autism and their twins, some of whom were diagnosed with ASD. The study enrolled families throughout California in order to learn whether some characteristics of autism, including impairments in social interaction, language and learning are shared between twins.  This groundbreaking study found that among even among identical twins, the environment significantly affected the risk that a baby will develop autism.  These environmental factors start in the uterus. The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).