major effort to illuminate the neural systems underlying the unique neurobehavioral profile of WS as contrasted with other populations. With the advancing capabilities of noninvasive neuroimaging and neurophysiological probes, we will garner a more and more detailed account of the structures and mechanisms of the WS brain ( Damasio & Frank, in press). Also, we have recently obtained an autopsy brain specimen from a WS subject. This will allow us to extend our biological explorations to the microscopic level of cortical organization and neuronal morphology. Last, investigations on the genetic basis of WS are gathering speed, with the identification of the first certified family pedigree of WS cases. We hope and expect eventually to give a full account of cognition in WS from the molecular biological level to the behavioral level.
This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grants DC00146, HD26022, P50NS22343, PO1DC01289, the Axe Houghton Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation Research Network. Paul P. Wang is a William T. Grant Foundation fellow of the Pediatric Scientist Development Program. We are very grateful to the children and parents who have taken part in our studies of the Neuropsychological and Neurobiological Bases of Williams and Down syndromes. Diane Niles is parent coordinator for these studies. We thank the National Williams Syndrome Association, several Regional Williams Syndrome Associations, the Canadian Association for Williams Syndrome, and the Parents of Down Syndrome Association for their cooperation. We are grateful to Dr. Michael Rossen, Dr. Sally Doherty, Judy Goodman, Dr. Amy Bihrle, Naomi Singer, and Valerie Loewe for their help in these studies.
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