Friday, July 20, 2012

Synesthesia and Savant

Julian Asher of Imperial College London and colleagues from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford have identified a possible link between ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and synaesthesia (the crossing of sensory systems). Researchers took genetic samples from 196 individuals of 43 families. They found 121 individuals who exhibited the synaesthetic trait of seeing a color in response to a sound. They performed a genetic analysis that tracked common "markers” and identified a region on chromosome 2, which has been associated with autism, as exhibiting the strongest link. Of interest, the autistic savant, Daniel Tammet, does have a combination of the two conditions (autism and synaesthesia), as do some other autistic savants.

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