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Sept. 29: Groundbreaking Findings on Autism To Be Presented at Carnegie Mellon International Symposium

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Ken Walters                            
412-268-1151                      
walters1@andrew.cmu.edu

Groundbreaking Findings on Autism To Be Presented
At Carnegie Mellon International Symposium

PITTSBURGH—Today's autism research draws on a variety of scientific disciplines, from genetics to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to neural development. At the 35th Carnegie Symposium on Cognition, "Development and Brain Systems in Autism," 16 of the world's most prominent autism researchers will present their latest groundbreaking findings on the disorder and discuss the direction of future study that will continue to improve scientists' understanding of autism.
    
The symposium, hosted by the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, will take place Oct. 17-18 in the Adamson Wing, Baker Hall.
    
"As scientific inquiry sheds more light on the fundamental nature of autism, the work being done in particular fields, such as genetics and brain imaging, begins to inform investigation and discoveries in other relevant areas," said Marcel Just, the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon, who is one of the symposium's organizers. "The presentations at this symposium will highlight the value that these interdisciplinary approaches hold for future autism research."
    
The symposium will provide a comprehensive overview of cutting-edge autism research and how different disciplines inform research in other areas. A number of fascinating projects will be discussed, including a follow-up study of Hans Asperger's original patients from the 1940s, along with a description of the brain basis of the social difficulties in autism, and an investigation of how autism emerges in a child's behavior even before the child is diagnosed.  
    
"The researchers presenting at this symposium are the pre-eminent investigators in the field," Just said. "Their investigations provide surprising new answers to several of the longstanding puzzles of autism. For example, how is someone very competent at visual perception tasks, yet rather awkward socially? How is it that a year-old toddler seems within the normal range, but shows clear symptoms of autism at the age of two? How is it that each part of the brain of a person with autism is rather typical, but the system as a whole behaves atypically?"
    
For more information, and to view the symposium's complete program, please visit the Web site: http://www.psy.cmu.edu/autismsymposium.

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