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The Daily brief: September 5, 2011

Out-of-state hospital venture | Stanford Hospital and Clinics has partnered with St. Rose Dominican Hospitals near Las Vegas, Nev. to expand the latter’s neurosurgery center. According to The Las Vegas Review-Journal, this is the first time Stanford Hospitals has ventured outside California for a clinical collaboration. The official announcement with more details is planned for Tuesday morning.

Autism topography | A study by Stanford scientists suggests that children with autism show particular physical patterns of brain organization, concentrated in areas that control communication and self-awareness. Dr. Antonio Hardan, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science and an author of the study, said in the future, MRI brain scans could be used in concert with this information to diagnose autism in very young children, before the disorder clearly manifests in their behavior. The long-term clinical result would be the ability to treat autistic children earlier in their lives, potentially reducing the developmental difficulties they face as they get older.

Overheard | “It’s like a human producing new hands every week. If you need to repair a watch, you’d grow little bitty hands. Or if you want to play the piano, you’d grow really long fingers.” — Biology professor Virginia Walbot on the growth and adaptability of corn plants, in a San Jose Mercury News article featuring her work on plant genetics.

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