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Valsamma Eapen

Professor Valsamma Eapen
Professor of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of New South Wales & Chair, Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Sydney South West Area Health Service

    Immediate Past Position (till 2007): Professor of Child Psychiatry, United Arab Emirates University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Al Ain, UAE

Autism: Professor Eapen is a member of the Homozygosity Mapping Collaborative for Autism, which is an international group with Prof. Christopher Walsh at Harvard Medical School, USA, and several centres in the Middle East, looking for genes involved in brain development and neuro-developmental disorders using Homozygosity Mapping that has identified genes of interest in autism. She has also carried out epidemiological studies in developmental disorders including Pervasive Developmental Disorder in pre-school children in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (1,2,3,4). Another significant collaboration with the Institute of Virology, Vienna, Austria, is exploring the role of mitochondrial DNA in autism (5). In addition, Professor Eapen has been involved in other areas of research such as phenomenology and clinical management of developmental disorders including autism (6).

Her current focus of research is on early identification and in this regard she has initiated a study “Screening for Autism in Toddlers using the PEDS and CHAT-23 in the Australian Setting”. Discussions are also underway in collaboration with the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, Melbourne, for developing a programme of “Universal Surveillance, Early Identification and Intervention Program for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)”.

Other areas of her research interest include Tourette Syndome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, Social Anxiety in children, Schizophrenia and Metabolic Syndrome in adolescents.

Publications: Three books; several book chapters, and over 100 peer-reviewed original publications in international journals.

Some relevant publications
1. Eapen V., Mabrouk AZ., Zoubeidi T., Yunis F (2007). Prevalence of Pervasive Developmental Disorders in preschool children in the United Arab Emirates.  Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 53: 202-205
2. Eapen V., Zoubeidi T., Yunis F (2004). Screening for Language Delay in the United Arab Emirates. Child: Care, Health and Development 30(5): 541-549.
3. Eapen V., Yunis F., Zoubeidi T., Sabri S (2004). Problem Behaviours among 3 year old children in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Pediatric Health Care 18(4):186-191.
4. Eapen V., Zoubeidi T., Yunis F., Gururaj AK., Sabri S., Ghubash R (2006). Prevalence and Psychosocial Correlates of Developmental Disorders in 3-year old children in the UAE. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 61: 343-347
    5. Nowotny N, Zilahi E, Kolodziejek J, Al Haj MAM, Lussy H, Eapen V(2005).Studies on mitochondrial DNA sequences of autistic children from different geographic regions. Emirates Medical Journal 23;42-43
6. Eapen V., Gururaj AK (2005). Risperidone treatment in children with developmental disorders and ADHD. Primary Care Companion. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 7(5): 221-224