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(Vienna, 28-5-2010) Today the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, together with the Vienna Lectures Series of the City of Vienna, is organising a scientific symposium where the research and person of Hans Asperger will be examined constructively and critically.

Prof. Dr. Hans Asperger (1906-1980) was a paediatrician and Head of the Vienna Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine from 1962 to 1977. In 1944 he described for the first time "Asperger's Syndrome", a variant of autism which is now named after him. For some years the condition has been one of the most researched impairments internationally in the field of (child and youth) psychiatry, genetics and neurosciences. Despite Asperger's international renown, hardly anything is known yet about his biography.

Arnold Pollak, Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, took the initiative, as part of an event, to deal with the life and work of the paediatrician and also his conduct during the National Socialist period. Asperger's controversial work under the Nazi regime in particular has not yet been the subject of well-founded historical research. Pollak explains: "With yesterday evening and the symposium today I would like to deal with a 'piece of Vienna medical history' in order to show that internationally prominent Viennese personalities are acknowledged here and at the same time that there is constructive and critical examination of their past."

With international contributions the current status of autism research will be highlighted with particular consideration of Asperger's. On the one hand the focus is on the historical development of current autism diagnosis, i.e. the introduction of the diagnosis "Asperger's Syndrome" into the international classification of mental disorders in the 1990s. On the other hand it is about the current status of medical and (neuro)psychological research into this condition which is discussed a great deal in the media these days.

Asperger's Symposium
28 May from 9 am
Wappensaal (Coat of Arms Hall), Vienna Town Hall

in cooperation with the
Department of Culture of the City of Vienna
Univ. Prof. Dr. Hubert C. Ehalt