Friday, September 17, 2010

Autism Weekend Roundup: Genes and Hollywood

A couple of things showed up in my daily news search about Autism that I thought I would share. 

1.  Another Genetic link to Autism has been found, for 1% of those with autism tested.  The Center for Addiction and Mental Health is reporting that that boys with autism, or at least 1% of those tested, are missing a specific gene, PTCHD1, from their X chromosome they get from their mother.  It is believed that PTCHD1 has a role in the neurobiological pathway that delivers information to cells during brain development.  Girls are shielded, because they have two X chromosomes.  While the numbers are low, it is yet another genetic link for Autism.  I think the gene tally is up to 23 now? 

If you are telling yourself that it's a long shot, keep in mind that Autism is a behavioral diagnosis, not a medical diagnosis.  There are a number of possible causes for the behavior, all having to do with the brain.  That is why there are so many genes that can cause the same or similar behavior. 

2.  Benefit for Autism:  The Associated Press has reported Comedy Central's plans for a star-sudded autism benefit on October 21st.  Steven Colbert, Larry David, Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, Steve Carell, Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, Joe McHale, John Oliver, Chris Rock, and a number of others are participating. 

This is awesome, and I'm glad so many famous people will be participating in raising funds for autism schools and special programs.  Honestly, there is a reason why I love comedians more than "serious" actors..  Comedians tend to have real hearts, and are not afraid to show it. 

3.  Keeping up with the film industry, AMC has announced plans with the Autism Society of America for a movie night for children with Autism.  There are 126 participating theaters for the event, though the link in the article is broken.  You can find a list of participating theaters here.  If memory serves, AMC did this last year, and my wife and I were upset we found out too late.  Don't miss the event!

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