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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wendy Chung: Autism — What We Know (and What We Don’t Know Yet)

From TED 2014

April 28, 2014

In this calm and factual talk, geneticist Wendy Chung shares what we know about autism spectrum disorder — for example, that autism has multiple, perhaps interlocking, causes.

Looking beyond the worry and concern that can surround a diagnosis, Chung and her team look at what we've learned through studies, treatments and careful listening.


Why You Should Watch

At the Simons Foundation, Wendy Chung is working to characterize behavior, brain structure and function in people with genetic variations that may relate to autism.

She is the director of clinical research at the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, which does both basic and applied science to serve people affected by autism spectrum disorders. She's the principal investigator of the foundation's Simons Variation in Individuals Project, which characterizes behavior and brain structure and function in participants with genetic copy number variants such as those at 16p11.2, which are believed to play a role in spectrum disorders.

Chung also directs the clinical genetics program at Columbia University. In assessing and treating kids with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities, she uses advanced genomic diagnostics to explore the genetic basis of neurological conditions. She thinks deeply about the ethical and emotional questions around genetic medicine and genetic testing.

What Others Say

"She has a humanistic philosophy that animates everything she does. ... She's not only thinking on all cylinders, but also feeling on all cylinders."
— Hamilton Cain, parent of a patient, author of "This Boy’s Faith"

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