In the spring of 2002, as a new graduate student at the University of Washington, Raphael Bernier was charged with introducing his advisor, Geraldine Dawson, before her lecture to a room of about 40 people from the psychology department. To Dawson’s astonishment, Bernier sang his introduction to the tune of On Top of Old Smokey. “[It was] a pretty gutsy thing for a first-year student to do,” Dawson says.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Signs & Symptoms
Autism’s core symptoms accompany a constellation of subtle signs that scientists are just beginning to unmask.
In the late 1990s, after Daniel Geschwind had established himself as an expert on the genetics of neurological diseases, a personal connection abruptly pulled him into autism research. Since then, he has participated in dozens of studies probing the genetic basis of autism and related neuro-developmental disorders.
‘Eagle-eyed’ vision, characteristic of many people on the autism spectrum, stems at least in part from abnormal variations in the early stages of visual processing, according to two reports published in the January issue of Biological Psychiatry.
A child’s language ability correlates with the volume of his or her amygdala ― the small, deep brain region that is strongly associated with emotion processing ― according to an unpublished five-year longitudinal study presented Wednesday afternoon at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.
High-functioning children with autism may understand another personʼs intention when, for example, that person reaches for a glass of water ― a simple, goal-directed task ― without help from the mirror neuron system, according to research reported Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.
The molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity ― the ability of neurons to change the strength of their connections ― can vary across different inhibitory neural circuits as much as they can vary across excitatory neural circuits, according to research presented this morning at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.