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Gene Associated With Autism May Alter How Brain Functions
Date:11/3/2010

When the piano starts to play, the rest of the orchestra turns down the volume in order to hear the piano. In autism, perhaps the volume isn't being "turned down" inside the frontal lobe, making it difficult to shift attention to other things, he said.

"What they are really showing is when you have this risk gene, this part of the brain doesn't tune down in the same way it does in people who don't have it," Goldstein said. "That's consistent with what's seen in kids with autism. They have these very focused interests. They may very good at what they are doing, but they're not engaging others or the rest of their brain."

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on autism.

SOURCES: Ashley Scott-Van Zeeland, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow, Scripps Translational Science Institute, San Diego, Calif.; Gary Goldstein, M.D., professor of pediatrics and neurology, Johns Hopkins University and president and CEO, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore; Nov. 3, 2010, Science Translational Medicine


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