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Press Release

Contact:
Jonathan Potts
412-268-6094

For immediate release:
October 1, 2004

Carnegie Mellon Lecture Series Will Feature Pioneering Autism Researcher Marcel Just

PITTSBURGH—Marcel Just, the director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University, will discuss his groundbreaking research into the mysteries of autism at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, October 7, in the Adamson Wing of Baker Hall at Carnegie Mellon's Oakland campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Just's talk, "Illuminating the Enigma of Autism with Brain Imaging Research," is part of the University Lecture Series' Cutting Edge Café, which highlights leading-edge research being done at Carnegie Mellon or by Carnegie Mellon alumni. Just, the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology, is a pioneer in the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to study the physiological underpinnings of human thought. In July, he and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh published a study that found for the first time a biological basis for autism, a brain disorder that impairs verbal and non-verbal communications and social interactions. Using fMRI scans, the researchers found a deficiency in the coordination among brain areas in high-functioning autistics. This led the researchers to propose a new theory called underconnectivity theory, which holds that autism is a system-wide brain disorder that limits the coordination and integration among brain areas.

The lecture series is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of the Vice Provost for Education at Carnegie Mellon.

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