Inside an Autistic Mind
Temple Grandin and Marcel Just
Grandin undergoes an MRI at CMU
Temple Grandin — one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2010 — has triumphed over childhood autism and gone on to change how the beef industry treats animals.
But how? That's what autism researchers want to know.
So when Discovery Channel asked if they could scan her brain for the show, she chose Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging (CCBI). CMU was her location of choice because of her high regard for Marcel Just's autism research.
"This gave us the opportunity to create MRI-based images of all of her brain's white matter, which is 40% of her brain, to assess connectivity in autism," said Just, the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and director of the CCBI. "It was just enough to initiate a scientific study involving many tens of people from which conclusions can be drawn."
For decades, CMU has been a leader in the areas of brain science, psychology, and learning research. And as part of the university's Brain, Mind and Learning Initiative, we are becoming an even more prominent player in these fields.
New research from Just, for example, provides an explanation for some of autism's mysteries, giving scientists clear targets for developing intervention and treatment therapies.
A professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Grandin is a world leader in the design of livestock handling facilities, and has designed such facilities throughout the world. In North America, nearly half of all cattle are handled in systems of her design. Many large corporations use her objective scoring technique to assess their handling of cattle and pigs, improving animal welfare.
She is known to be the world's most accomplished autistic adult, demonstrating through her lectures, her writing and her own success the potential of those with autism.
Her remarkable life has been documented in an award-winning HBO biopic, she has been featured on National Public Radio, on such television programs as Primetime Live and 20/20, and in national publications such as Forbes, U.S. News and World Report and The New York Times.
She has been a prolific author in the animal science field, publishing several hundred articles, technical papers and book chapters, and 10 books, including Animals in Translation, a New York Times Bestseller. She has received numerous awards from both industry and humane associations and five honorary doctorates. She also has authored books and produced several DVDs on the subject of autism.
Grandin received an honorary degree from CMU at the university's 115th Commencement, and served as the Department of Psychology's keynote speaker at the diploma ceremony.