An Overview of Autism and Parkinson's Disease

George Wagner (Psychology)

Autism is a disorder that emerges in childhood, often before a child is three years old. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that affects adults and increases in severity as people age. What do these two disorders have in common? That is one question we will explore in this seminar. We will begin by examining autism from its genetic and neuroanatomical basis to its symptoms and therapy. We will discuss important issues and theories about the origins of autism. Additional topics will include symptoms and epidemiology of autism, animal models of autism, and theory of mind. Finally, we will discuss the similarities between autism and Parkinson’s disease, a disease normally associated with aging. We will explore the possibility that the origin of Parkinson’s disease may be very early in life and, in many ways, quite similar to autism.

Course Number: 
01:090:101 section 92 index 13089