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New studies suggest that autism and language development could be linked

In the August issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, two studies localize autism and developmental language disorder to the same position in the human genome. Autism is a disorder characterized by impaired social interactions. In contrast, children with developmental language disorder have problems with pronunciation, grammar, and verbal communication. Researchers have sometimes found it hard to diagnose children with one of these disorders because their symptoms sometimes overlap. The localization of both disorders to the same genetic region suggests that this overlap may be due a genetic relationship between the disorders. These results could also explain the fact that language and reading difficulties are more prevalent in siblings and parents of people with autism and, conversely, that autism is more prevalent in the families of children with the developmental language disorder. Although the researchers cannot say for sure whether genes are shared between the disorders, since the genes for the disorders have not been identified, the above evidence suggests they could be.


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Contact: Kate Beauregard
kbeaure@emory.edu
404-712-9985
The American Journal of Human Genetics
13-Jul-2000


Page: 1

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