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Attention, Genes, and Developmental Disorders$
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Kim Cornish and John Wilding

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179941

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179941.001.0001

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Specific Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Attention

Specific Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Attention

Chapter:
(p.355) 9 Specific Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Attention
Source:
Attention, Genes, and Developmental Disorders
Author(s):

Kim Cornish

John Wilding

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179941.003.009

Chapter 9 addresses the complex issues that face research on neurodevelopmental disorders. These include the complexities of gene expression and taxonomies of cognitive processes, shared phenotypes, disorder heterogeneity, and methodological pitfalls. The chapter also discusses how commonalities in behavioral problems, notably persistent inattentive and distractible behaviors, can often mask important disorder-specific differences in cognitive impairments and executive dysfunction. Such commonalities in behavioral symptoms do not necessarily imply identical cognitive mechanisms or etiology. Attention profiles need to be empirically investigated using developmentally sensitive cognitive paradigms that can tease apart attention across varying subcomponents. In a discussion of attention signatures the authors note that age-related changes are apparent, and the available data provide a glimpse of how genes interact with the developing brain to produce such disorder-specific signatures. Future research needs to continue to chart developmental trajectories of attention at the behavioral and cognitive levels, but also to recognize the critical but hitherto unexplored role of the environment in producing the phenotypic end-state we associate with different neurodevelopmental disorders.

Keywords:   gene expression, autism, research design, cross-syndrome research, negative priming, Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, William syndrome, 22q11 deletion syndrome

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