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Vision Abnormality Seen in Close Relatives of Autism Patients
Date:8/2/2010

imilar to them in age, gender and IQ but weren't close relatives of people with autism.

More than 50 percent of the family members of people with autism showed different signs of abnormal eye movements, Sweeney said. In the general population, about 5 percent of people might have the abnormalities, he added.

Essentially, the study suggests relatives of people with autism share an abnormality in the brain that, for them, didn't fully develop into autism.

Sweeney acknowledged that the study doesn't shed light on exactly how responsible genetics are for autism. Still, the findings fit in with research "that suggests the problems in autism are much more the results of genetic than environmental factors," he said.

The study also provides evidence that the genes thought to carry the risk for autism specifically affect parts of the brain such as the cerebellum and frontal cortex, Dawson said.

The study findings are published in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

More information

For more on autism, try the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

SOURCES: John A. Sweeney, Ph.D., director, Center for Cognitive Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago; Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., chief science officer, Autism Speaks, New York City; August 2010, Archives of General Psychiatry


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