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autism

  • Hubert_HERO

    Autistic Prodigies Since “Rain Man”

    Our evolving understanding of “the engineer’s disease.”

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    The Link Between Complicated Pregnancies and Child Prodigies

    Wondrous talent—like that of mathematical and artistic savants or child prodigies—is exceedingly rare. It occurs so unexpectedly one may be tempted to think of the phenomena as sui generis, so unusual that no rules or commonalities could apply across cases. However, research is steadily disclosing the mechanisms responsible: not merely that their upbringing provides a crucible […]

  • Kozubek-DNA-editing_HERO

    Gene Editing Must Reckon With the Unforeseen

    Almost exactly a year ago, I attended the International Summit of Human Gene Editing at the National Academy of Sciences. It was organized in part by Jennifer Doudna, arguably one of the inventors of Crispr-Cas9. It’s a new biotech tool—cheap, easy to use, and reliable—that allows thousands of scientists around the world to modify genes […]

  • autism emoticons_HERO

    How Autism Shaped the Modern Conversation

    On Facebook, iPhone messenger, and What’s App, conversation is often silent and devoid of body language. Emotions are condensed to icons on a screen: a happy face, a wink, or a kiss blown to a loved one through LTE and pixels. These emoticons (a portmanteau of “emotion” and “icon”) and emojis (everything else from crocodiles […]

  • foal Madigan squeeze

    How Odd Behavior in Some Young Horses May Reveal a Cause of Autism

    By gently squeezing maladjusted foals, veterinary researcher John Madigan recreates the experience of traveling through the birth canal, lowering the levels of certain neurosteroids and “waking up” the young horses.Joe Proudman / UC Davis As a toxicologist at the University of California, Davis, Isaac Pessah focuses on how different molecules regulate human brain function and […]

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    How a Mental Disorder Can Disappear from the World Overnight

    The dinosaur long ago renamed “Apatosaurus” is still often called “Brontosaurus.” stevegeer via iStock Over the past few decades, autism and Asperger syndrome have become prominent in the public consciousness, and that prominence has been reflected in popular art and entertainment. Autism, a mental illness characterized by repetitive behaviors and impaired social interactions, was brought […]

  • Eveleth_HERO

    Cracking the Social Code

    New approaches are helping autistic people understand “neurotypicals”—and vice versa.

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    Fame’s Troubling Ability to Turn Off the Brain

    Fame may be an unavoidable aspect of reality, an inherent part of the human condition, or just a quirk in the minds of some smart, social primates. In any case, it brings with it big problems. Here is the trouble with fame: It too often makes the recipient of it prone to hubris, and it even […]