Soroka Medical Center
Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC) is the only major medical center in the entire Negev, servicing a population of approximately one million people. Such centralized healthcare infrastructure greatly facilitates the recruitment of children with autism and their families for research efforts and enables us to extract relevant clinical records (e.g., birth records), which are of great value for identifying risk factors and for understanding early autism biology.
In addition, the existence of state-of-the-art research facilities including, genetic sequencing, molecular biology labs, MRI scanners, and overnight EEG exam rooms enables the collection of comprehensive data from each child with autism in a single medical center.
Creating A Full Picture
The Negev contains a diverse community of different ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, yet everyone receives clinical services at the same medical center. This unique situation enables us to collect un-biased data about autism that represents the true heterogeneity of the disorder in the Negev. Using this data we can perform a variety of cross-ethnic and cross-cultural studies regarding genetic and environmental risk factors as well as early neurophysiology. Such research is extremely rare on a global scale, yet is critical for identifying potential susceptibilities and strengths that are unique to specific ethnic groups and may be translated into new targeted clinical treatments for specific sub-types of autism.