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      The savant syndrome: an extraordinary condition. A synopsis: past, present, future

      1 , 2

      Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

      The Royal Society

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          Abstract

          Savant syndrome is a rare, but extraordinary, condition in which persons with serious mental disabilities, including autistic disorder, have some 'island of genius' which stands in marked, incongruous contrast to overall handicap. As many as one in 10 persons with autistic disorder have such remarkable abilities in varying degrees, although savant syndrome occurs in other developmental disabilities or in other types of central nervous system injury or disease as well. Whatever the particular savant skill, it is always linked to massive memory. This paper presents a brief review of the phenomenology of savant skills, the history of the concept and implications for education and future research.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Emergence of artistic talent in frontotemporal dementia.

          To describe the clinical, neuropsychological, and imaging features of five patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) who acquired new artistic skills in the setting of dementia. Creativity in the setting of dementia has recently been reported. We describe five patients who became visual artists in the setting of FTD. Sixty-nine FTD patients were interviewed regarding visual abilities. Five became artists in the early stages of FTD. Their history, artistic process, neuropsychology, and anatomy are described. On SPECT or pathology, four of the five patients had the temporal variant of FTD in which anterior temporal lobes are involved but the dorsolateral frontal cortex is spared. Visual skills were spared but language and social skills were devastated. Loss of function in the anterior temporal lobes may lead to the "facilitation" of artistic skills. Patients with the temporal lobe variant of FTD offer a window into creativity.
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            Early infantile autism

             Leo Kanner (1944)
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              Paradoxical functional facilitation in brain-behaviour research

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
                Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B
                The Royal Society
                0962-8436
                1471-2970
                May 27 2009
                May 27 2009
                May 27 2009
                May 27 2009
                : 364
                : 1522
                : 1351-1357
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Wisconsin Medical SchoolMadison, WI 53726, USA
                [2 ]Behavioral Health Department, St Agnes Hospital430 East Division Street, Fond du Lac, WI 54935, USA
                Article
                10.1098/rstb.2008.0326
                2677584
                19528017
                © 2009

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