Brain Stimulation Erases Autism for a Month

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StarTrekker
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15 Jan 2014, 3:50 pm

I found this article which indicates that steps are being made toward discovering a cure for autism, and that makes me very anxious. What do you think? If they succeed, what do you suspect will happen to people like us?

http://www.medicaldaily.com/brain-stimu ... ial-262152


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15 Jan 2014, 4:05 pm

Well I don't think they are making it very far on finding a cure based on that article. All that demonstrated is stimulating part of the brain can reduce anxiety and make one more perceptive to social norms for a temporary amount of time. Though It seems like there are quite a few holes in this study since it does not really provide any substantial evidence that the subjects actually perceived social norms any better.

For intstance the bit about the woman bringing her brother a cup of tea because he was studying hard.....its not necessarily a social norm to bring someone a cup of tea when studying. At best I think this brain stimulation might reduce some anxiety people with AS experiance especially social anxiety. There just isn't a lot of information in that article to form an opinion on.

The only way to cure autism would be to somehow find a way to change our autistic neurology to neurotypical neurology, which I just don't see happening any time soon.


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15 Jan 2014, 4:09 pm

It is too early to tell:

Quote:

Oberman points out that the dmPFC is not near the surface of the brain, so it is hard to target with great accuracy. The rTMS would have stimulated brain regions between the scalp and the dmPFC. This lack of specificity may have driven the changes without affecting mentalising. The next step is to increase the duration and intensity of stimulation and to monitor how long the observed improvements last.

"While the findings are interesting, the research is still in its very early stages," cautions Carol Povey, at the UK's National Autistic Society. She adds that it is essential that people with autism receive the support they need to reach their full potential.

It is the question if the targeting worked and what also could be affected.

To a more non-scientific note:
I like to make tea and do tasks like dish washing when I am feeling worse and having difficulty interacting at a high level.



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15 Jan 2014, 4:12 pm

Coming at things like this as an autism "cure" is the wrong way to go about it. Rather, the scientists involved would be better off considering it as "autism therapy," lessening the negatives of autism while leaving the basic neurology more or less unaffected. It's an easier, more realistic mark to shoot for, and is kinder to the individual with autism than saying that they have something wrong with them that needs to be cured.

I'd also point out that researchers are looking into using MDMA (commonly known as Ecstasy) as a therapeutic drug to increase empathy potential in people with autism, which seems to be capable of doing the same thing as the method used by the researchers in the OP's article, just with less directed electrical pulses directly through our grey matter.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/22/f ... ic-adults/



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15 Jan 2014, 4:17 pm

wetsail wrote:
Coming at things like this as an autism "cure" is the wrong way to go about it. Rather, the scientists involved would be better off considering it as "autism therapy," lessening the negatives of autism while leaving the basic neurology more or less unaffected. It's an easier, more realistic mark to shoot for, and is kinder to the individual with autism than saying that they have something wrong with them that needs to be cured.

I'd also point out that researchers are looking into using MDMA (commonly known as Ecstasy) as a therapeutic drug to increase empathy potential in people with autism, which seems to be capable of doing the same thing as the method used by the researchers in the OP's article, just with less directed electrical pulses directly through our grey matter.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/22/f ... ic-adults/


I pretty much fully agree.....and I was thinking the same thing concerning MDMA.


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15 Jan 2014, 4:23 pm

wetsail wrote:
Rather, the scientists involved would be better off considering it as "autism therapy," lessening the negatives of autism while leaving the basic neurology more or less unaffected.


I like that approach - combined with more acceptance from the NT community, so that it's okay for us to show up for work in comfortable clothes, wear earplugs, not be expected to to socialize on the job, and generally do things in a way that works for us, even if it's not the way everyone else does it.



Ilovemyaspiegirl
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15 Jan 2014, 4:51 pm

I don't think that ppl with Autism need a cure per se. I think that we the NT community that has children with autism need to learn to advocate for better understanding. But, if scientists do ever come up with a way to reduce certain aspects of autism that's great but, they won't be poking around in my daughters brain unless SHE is just so miserable that SHE wants that type of help. She's only 7 so wouldn't be capable of that type of decisions for a while though. I don't want to "change" her... I just want her to be happier.



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15 Jan 2014, 5:24 pm

I think they will use you as a guinea pig. give you a pill as an end result. maybe a few more. turn your brain into something as equal as an invelid, and than you will need a liver transplant.



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15 Jan 2014, 5:43 pm

It's just more snake oil.

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15 Jan 2014, 5:48 pm

The transcranial signals can only be effective if the electrodes pierce the skull, for this reason Enticott is only able to use adults with Aspergers because of consent and ethics.

If the research has any real benefit then it should be really tested on children with more nueroplastic brains. I agree with the sentiment expressed here that the researchers aren't much interested in the welfare of the individuals as they will claim the data is for the benefit of all people with autism etc



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15 Jan 2014, 5:57 pm

The experimental treatment only eased anxiety but "study participants showed no improvement at inferring the mental states of others when faced with a computer simulation. "It surprises me," said Enticott. "We are stimulating the region of the brain that is most closely associated with these tasks," but the test yielded none of the intended results." That is not curing Autism


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15 Jan 2014, 6:08 pm

I do not want a cure. Less anxiety? heck yeah!



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15 Jan 2014, 6:33 pm

Is this the same type of magnetic stimulation Alex's friend John Robison had that led him to feeling his perception and thinking seemed to be getting less autistic?


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15 Jan 2014, 7:19 pm

:lmao: Electrical pulses and coils on the head. Gimme a break. Once upon a time, a lobotomy was considered a serious neurological medical procedure.

If bringing someone a cup of tea is a medical miracle, I'd say you may have had deeper issues than Asperger Syndrome.

I've seen what 'electrical brain stimulation' has done for Carrie Fisher. I'm not impressed. :roll:



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15 Jan 2014, 7:39 pm

Willard wrote:
...I've seen what 'electrical brain stimulation' has done for Carrie Fisher. I'm not impressed. :roll:


Good Grief! Do you mean...

THAT'S how Princess Lea's hair got to look the way it did?

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EmeraldGreen
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15 Jan 2014, 8:50 pm

Wait - bringing someone who is studying a cup of tea? That could be EITHER an empathetic OR sympathetic response, couldn't it? I mean, plenty of Aspies would make tea for each other in a case like this, right??? These scientists are getting me confused between empathy and sympathy.


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