April 18, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - One of the world's leading experts in autism research, Nancy Minshew, M.D., will deliver the 2008 Glenwood Endowed Lecture at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
The free event is Wed. April 23, starting at 11:15 a.m. at the Alys Stephens Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Held during Autism Awareness Month, the Glenwood Endowed Lecture is hosted by UAB's School of Public Health.
The lecture is part of a daylong series of workshops focused on autism.
Minshew's lecture "Identifying the cognitive and neurological basis of autism: Single or primary defects?" will focus on the science behind how the autistic brain categorizes objects and why it sometimes fails to recognize faces. Other topics will include brain circuitry, autism genes and language and problem-solving abilities.
NEW VIEWS OF AUTISM
As reported cases of autism continue to rise, much public debate has centered on the causes of autism. The fields of medicine, psychiatry, neurobiology and public health are similarly interested in improved diagnosis and treatment of the disorder.
Minshew, a professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has led research showing that autism effects the functioning of widespread but selective regions of the brain and is not limited to those areas involved in social interactions, communication and reasoning abilities, as had been previously thought. Autism affects an array of skills and abilities, including sensory perception, memory and movement.
One way science has explored this new view is by analyzing brain scans of autistic individuals using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other imaging tools. Such imaging work is underway at UAB's Autism Brain Imaging Research Laboratory, part of the Department of Psychology and the Civitan International Research Center.
The Glenwood Endowed Lecture, now in its fourth year, is funded by Glenwood, the autism and behavioral health center of Alabama. For more information visit www.glenwood.org/. For workshop details visit www.soph.uab.edu/.