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Focus On Childhood Developmental Disorders

 
  September, 27 2006 10:27
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A special focus issue on childhood developmental disorders, including specific language impairment and dyslexia, autism, and the mental retardation syndrome fragile X, is presented in the October 2006 issue of Nature Neuroscience. Four articles explore current knowledge about these disorders and suggest avenues for future research.

Childhood developmental disorders have a pervasive influence on the children affected, their families, and society in general. Because many of the symptoms manifest themselves in educational settings, schools also need to take into account the needs of these children. Studying childhood developmental disorders sheds light on what is 'normal' as well: autism may consist of a constellation of traits found in less extreme form in the general population, and language disorders are likely to provide clues about the evolution of language. There are also commonalities between different disorders traditionally considered separately; understanding these commonalities can shed light on the genetic and neural networks involved. Such information can help us to understand the pathways linking genes to specific neural circuits and to behavior in disorders like dyslexia. Researchers hope this will ultimately lead to treatments that go beyond symptom management.

[1] From genes to behavior in developmental dyslexia
Article #1.

[2] Time to give up on a single explanation for autism
Article #2.

[3] Fragile X syndrome and autism at the intersection of genetic and neural networks
Article #3.

[4] What developmental disorders can tell us about the nature and origins of language
Article #4.

Author contacts:

Albert Galaburda (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA) Paper [1]
E-mail: agalabur@bidmc.harvard.edu

Angelica Ronald (Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK) Paper [2]
E-mail: spjgarr@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Matthew Belmonte (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA) Paper [3]
E-mail: belmonte@mit.edu

Gary Marcus (New York University, New York, NY, USA) Paper [4]
E-mail: gary.marcus@nyu.edu

(C) Nature Neuroscience press release.


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