There’s a new comparative physiology blog in the science blogosphere! I recommend you go check out Life Lines. It is nice to know that I’m not the only one out there.
I’m just about to head out to the office to clean out the last of our junk from the old office and move the last of the useable junk to the new office. Part of today’s task will be recycling 3 giant file cabinets full of papers that have accumulated in the room from past graduate students. Thank whatever deity you like that we live in the age of digital documents, because I love not having to deal with that crap. Anyway, since I’m on my way out, I don’t have time for a detailed discussion of this study that caught my eye: Relatives of individuals with autism tend to display abnormal eye movements. The investigators examined first-degree relatives (siblings and parents) of autistic individuals for sensorimotor impairments. From the press release:
When compared with controls, family members of individuals with autism tended to perform more slowly and less accurately on eye movement tasks, including those assessing saccades and smooth-pursuit eye movements. “The present findings document that first-degree relatives of individuals with autism demonstrate a unique pattern of oculomotor impairments similar to that previously reported in independent samples of individuals with autism, suggesting that these alterations within sensorimotor and cognitive brain circuitry may be familial traits,” the authors write.
They also found that family members were more prone to obsessive and compulsive behaviors, but that this was unrelated to sensorimotor impairments. I’ve downloaded the paper and will probably blog about it tomorrow.