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Autism: Functional brain mapping of exceptional calendar capacity

  • Nathalie Boddaert (a1), Catherine Barthélémy (a2), Jean-Baptiste Poline (a3), Yves Samson (a4), Francis Brunelle (a5) and Mônica Zilbovicius (a6)...
Abstract
Background

‘Autistic savants' are individuals with autism who have extraordinary skills. Brain mechanisms underlying such capacities are still unknown.

Aims

To map the exceptional calendar capacity of a man with primary autism.

Method

Positron emission tomography was used to map brain activity in a man who is able to associate a day of the week with the corresponding calendar date.

Results

During the calendar task, the left hippocampus, the left frontal cortex and the left middle temporal lobe were activated.

Conclusions

The cerebral circuit involved in this man's prodigious calendar skill is similar to that normally involved in memory retrieval tasks. These results suggest that the prodigious capacities may be sustained by memory processing.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Mônica Zilbovicius, Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, DRM, DSV, CEA, 4 Place du General Leclerc 91406, Orsay, France. Tel: +33 (1)0169 86 78 90; fax: +33 (1)01 69 86 77 28; e-mail: zilbo@shfj.cear.fr
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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Autism: Functional brain mapping of exceptional calendar capacity

  • Nathalie Boddaert (a1), Catherine Barthélémy (a2), Jean-Baptiste Poline (a3), Yves Samson (a4), Francis Brunelle (a5) and Mônica Zilbovicius (a6)...
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