Navigation Links
Link found between child prodigies and autism
Date:11/9/2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new study of eight child prodigies suggests a possible link between these children's special skills and autism.

Of the eight prodigies studied, three had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. As a group, the prodigies also tended to have slightly elevated scores on a test of autistic traits, when compared to a control group.

In addition, half of the prodigies had a family member or a first- or second-degree relative with an autism diagnosis.

The fact that half of the families and three of the prodigies themselves were affected by autism is surprising because autism occurs in only one of 120 individuals, said Joanne Ruthsatz, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University's Mansfield campus.

"The link between child prodigies and autism is strong in our study," Ruthsatz said. "Our findings suggest child prodigies have traits in common with autistic children, but something is preventing them from displaying the deficits we associate with the disorder."

The study also found that while child prodigies had elevated general intelligence scores, where they really excelled was in working memory - all of them scored above the 99th percentile on this trait.

Ruthsatz conducted the study with Jourdan Urbach of Yale University. Their results were published in a recent issue of the journal Intelligence.

For the study, the researchers identified eight child prodigies through the internet and television specials and by referral. The group included one art prodigy, one math prodigy, four musical prodigies and two who switched domains (one from music to gourmet cooking, and one from music to art). The study included six males and two females.

The researchers met with each prodigy individually over the course of two or three days. During that time, the prodigies completed the Stanford-Binet intelligence test, which included sub-tests on fluid reasoning, knowledge, quantitative reasoning, visual spatial abilities and working memory.

In addition, the researchers administered the Autism-Spectrum Quotient assessment, which scores the level of autistic traits. The prodigies' scores on the test were compared to a control group of 174 adults who were contacted randomly by mail.

Ruthsatz said the most striking data was that which identified autistic traits among the prodigies.

The prodigies showed a general elevation in autistic traits compared to the control group, but this elevation was on average even smaller than that seen in high-functioning autistic people diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

Autism is a developmental disability characterized by problems with communicating and socializing and a strong resistance to change. People with Asperger's are more likely than those with autism to have normal intelligence, but tend to have difficulties with social interaction.

The prodigies did score higher than the control group and the Asperger's group on one subsection of the autism assessment: attention to detail.

"These prodigies had an absolutely amazing memory for detail," she said. "They don't miss anything, which certainly helps them achieve the successes they have."

Ruthsatz said it was not the three prodigies who were diagnosed with autism who were driving this particular finding. In fact, the three autistic prodigies scored an average of 8 on attention to detail, compared to 8.5 for the entire group of prodigies.

On the intelligence test, the prodigies scored in the gifted range, but were not uniformly exceptional. While five of the eight prodigies scored in the 90th percentile or above on the IQ test, one scored at the 70th percentile and another at the 79th percentile.

But just as they did in the autism assessment, the prodigies stood out in one of the sub-tests of the intelligence test. In this case, the prodigies showed an exceptional working memory, with all of them scoring above the 99th percentile.

Working memory is the system in the brain that allows people to hold multiple pieces of information in mind for a short time in order to complete a task.

The findings paint a picture of what it takes to create a prodigy, Ruthsatz said.

"Overall, what we found is that prodigies have an elevated general intelligence and exceptional working memory, along with an elevated autism score, with exceptional attention to detail," Ruthsatz said.

These results suggest that prodigies share some striking similarities with autistic savants - people who have the developmental disabilities associated with autism combined with an extraordinary talent or knowledge that is well beyond average.

"But while autistic savants display many of the deficits commonly associated with autism, the child prodigies do not," Ruthsatz said. "The question is why."

The answer may be some genetic mutation that allows prodigies to have the extreme talent found in savants, but without the deficits seen in autism. But the answer will require more study, Ruthsatz said.

"Our findings suggest that prodigies may have some moderated form of autism that actually enables their extraordinary talent."


'/>"/>
Contact: Jeff Grabmeier
grabmeier.1@osu.edu
614-439-9033
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. New cells found that could help save peoples sight
2. Dr. Taub to give Estabrook Research Lecture at Kessler Foundation on Nov. 28
3. Alzheimers Signs Found in Brains of Young Adults With Gene Mutation
4. Bacteria Found in Other Products From Firm Tied to Meningitis Outbreak: FDA
5. Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation and TSRI partner in genomic breast cancer research
6. Green tea found to reduce rate of some GI cancers
7. Mechanism found for destruction of key allergy-inducing complexes, Stanford researchers say
8. Elevated formaldehyde levels found in day care centers
9. Harmful Chemicals Found in Day Care Centers, Study Says
10. Kessler Foundation scientists awarded New Jersey grants for brain injury research
11. Documenting womens experiences with chromosome abnormalities found in new prenatal test
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A ... 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the ... history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to not ... comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 ... their specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ... and all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June ... a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments ... of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an ... of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a ... Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets ... Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report to ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, Composite ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components and ... dumb structures such as vehicle bodies or conformally ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- According to a new market research ... Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, ... Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts to ... for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. This ... 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing at ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the function ... the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to keep ... in balance. Increasing number of ESRD patients ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: