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Autism linked to mirror neuron dysfunction

y findings on mirror neuron dysfunction in one autistic child in 2000; Edward Hubbard, recent UCSD graduate now at the French National Institute of Health (INSERM) in Paris; and UCSD graduate student Joseph McCleery.

The team is now pursuing another, related line of research: Are mirror neurons involved in the ability to understand metaphors? Autistic individuals typically have difficulties with metaphors, often interpreting them literally, and the researchers believe this too may be connected to a dysfunctional mirror neuron system.

"Even as the clinical study of mirror neurons is giving us insights into autism and other disorders," Ramachandran said, "it is also giving us glimpses of a host of uniquely human and elusive mental capacities: making metaphors and passing on proverbs, to name just two."


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Contact: Inga Kiderra
ikiderra@ucsd.edu
858-822-0661
University of California - San Diego
29-Mar-2005


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