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wozeree
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08 Mar 2014, 6:38 pm

Is it a scientifically accepted fact that Autism is caused by brain abnormality? Because if that's true, why are people dependent on the opinions of doctors when sometimes even the doctors can't agree? Why don't they just scan everyone's brains for diagnosis?



dianthus
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08 Mar 2014, 6:47 pm

The research isn't quite there yet. I don't know if they will ever be able to diagnose just using a brain scan alone, but brain scans do show definite abnormalities and differences.

This is one of the most promising things I've come across:

http://healthland.time.com/2013/06/27/u ... -children/


Quote:
The scientists scanned the brains of 20 autistic children who ranged in age from 7 to 12 and also imaged 20 typically developing children of the same age for comparison. They found stronger connections within many critical brain networks in the autistic children, including those responsible for introspection, vision and movement.

They also saw more robust links in networks that help the brain to triage the flood of incoming information from both our bodies and our environment that assaults us constantly. Called the salience network, it’s responsible for determining which internal or external sensations need our immediate attention. Using a computer program that the researchers developed to make sense of the brain imaging data, they found that by mapping the salience network alone, they could accurately classify autistic or non-autistic children in their study 78% of the time — and could do so 83% of the time using data from other researchers.“That’s wonderful,” says Kamila Markram, the Autism Project Director at the Brain Mind Institute of the EPFL, a federal technology institute in Lausanne, Switzerland, who was not associated with the research, “We must move toward biological markers for autism and not just rely on interviews and observations by people.” Markram previously published animal research suggesting that hyperconnectivity may be involved in autism.

“That’s wonderful,” says Kamila Markram, the Autism Project Director at the Brain Mind Institute of the EPFL, a federal technology institute in Lausanne, Switzerland, who was not associated with the research, “We must move toward biological markers for autism and not just rely on interviews and observations by people.” Markram previously published animal research suggesting that hyperconnectivity may be involved in autism.



Waterfalls
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08 Mar 2014, 6:52 pm

Interesting. Seems like everyone agrees it is a brain abnormality, they just don't know exactly what that is enough to see it and diagnose it like a broken bone, rather they have generalities.

Maybe no one knows what autism is at all.

There certainly seems to be all kinds of disagreement what autism is.

Even though I agree it is a brain abnormality, you know, I get really very tired of being told that my brain is abnormal. I'd like to be able to like my brain or be proud of myself once in awhile instead of always walking around knowing my brain is abnormal.



Marybird
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08 Mar 2014, 7:09 pm

It is scientifically accepted but it is still a work in progress.
It is through studying the brains of people diagnosed with autism that a pattern in brain structure and function emerges, so it can be argued that doctors opinions and diagnoses are reasonably accurate.
I agree it would certainly be easier to get diagnosed by a blood test and brain scans, but I assume a lot more data and understanding of the data needs to be collected.
Once everything is sorted out, it would probably also be more accurate.
Of course, just understanding the relationship between the brain structure and behavior and what makes autistic experience different is fascinating.



Apple_in_my_Eye
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08 Mar 2014, 9:49 pm

Someone who remembers the history better than me could give a better answer, but ASD was once considered psychological. There was the "refrigerator mother" theory, for example. It might've been due to the failure of those models to help (psychological hypotheses are harder to kill than ghosts, so it's a miracle IMO that we're still not stuck with those ideas).

There was a guy named Bernard Rimland who I've read played a big part in bringing forth the idea that ASD was a physical, brain condition. I think the rate of seizure disorders being much higher than normal was one of his points.

So, it's not as if someone discovered an extra lobe in ASD brains and then invented the diagnosis. Unfortunately, things are still in a mushy, 'political'/rhetorical, no-one-really-knows-for-sure state, though it's better than in the past.



Sethno
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08 Mar 2014, 11:16 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYY2XGEmc1s


_________________
AQ 31
Your Aspie score: 100 of 200 / Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 101 of 200
You seem to have both Aspie and neurotypical traits

What would these results mean? Been told here I must be a "half pint".


wozeree
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08 Mar 2014, 11:46 pm

Sethno wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYY2XGEmc1s


Sethno, that looks really interesting. I couldn't watch the whole thing - not enough bandwidth - but I still don't understand, if he's got enough evidence of the MRI type - why are they not using that for diagnosis? Maybe he explained it past the point that I got to. It seemed like he was talking a lot about too many brain cells in the frontal cord and not getting rid of the bad ones, which seems like a better diagnoses tool then the interviews.



Last edited by wozeree on 08 Mar 2014, 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BornThisWay
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08 Mar 2014, 11:56 pm

Thank you for the link to Eric Courschene's work. It is a long interview, but I found it vitally important and it really was one of the first times I've seen an expert who counseled hope and understanding of autistic conditions.

The video is from 2011, but it is still relevant. The wikipedia entry on Courschene documents further development of his team's hypothesis that people with ASD have a unique trajectory of brain development characterized by an overgrowth and hyperdevelopment of neural tissues in the brain at an early age. Specifically noted are anomalies in the frontal cortex and the temporal lobe - areas which govern social communications, emotional expression and understanding, and executive funtion. All of which makes a lot of sense because these are the core issues for people with ASD. He also talks a bit about early intervention approaches while the brain is more responsive as being key to helping the autistic child grow into becoming a functional adult...instead of the 'it's broke, you're disabled. you need help' and it's permanent...a road to nowhere. He reflects an idea that I've had for a long time, that people on the Spectrum grow differently, our brains are hyperconnective and that's why some of us experience savantisms (rare) and why many of us (aspies and HFA's) have unique pattern seeking capacities and the ability to hyperfocus.

One thing that comes up over and over on these boards is the difficulty many of us have with over stimulation, our confusion and our difficulty in communicating with others, and for many of us the frustration we feel about our capacity to cope with the world. This guy and his approach may be really important.



Last edited by BornThisWay on 09 Mar 2014, 12:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

vickygleitz
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08 Mar 2014, 11:58 pm

Even though I agree it is a brain abnormality, you know, I get really very tired of being told that my brain is abnormal. I'd like to be able to like my brain or be proud of myself once in awhile instead of always walking around knowing my brain is abnormal.[/quote]

Your brain is EXTRAORDINARY!



wozeree
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09 Mar 2014, 12:02 am

vickygleitz wrote:
Even though I agree it is a brain abnormality, you know, I get really very tired of being told that my brain is abnormal. I'd like to be able to like my brain or be proud of myself once in awhile instead of always walking around knowing my brain is abnormal.


Your brain is EXTRAORDINARY![/quote]

Yeah, I don't agree that Autism Card is a 2. It's a Queen Baby! Play that card!



BornThisWay
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09 Mar 2014, 12:09 am

wozeree and vickigleitz...autistic brains ARE extraordinary...and the bottom line is that we have to stand up and express/show our worth to ourselves and to the world. Some of us have been told far too often that we're broken and that nothing can 'fix' us. Yes, people whose brains are on the spectrum are different...and that is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if one can not communicate, or understand, or express the things we wish to say, learn and tell...then there's the rub. It's a challenge to find the balance between self-acceptance, self-value and the desire for self-improvement.



vickygleitz
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09 Mar 2014, 12:32 am

Yeah, I don't agree that Autism Card is a 2. It's a Queen Baby! Play that card![/quote]

The neuroroyalty card? absolutely!



dianthus
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09 Mar 2014, 12:41 am

I would not put a lot of stock just yet in Eric Courchesne's findings. His research methods have been criticized and may not be scientifically sound.

For example:

Quote:
JAMA should be ashamed of themselves for publishing this Courchesne study. Courchesne examined the brains of 7 children with autism and 6 controls. Yes, this study is entirely based upon 13 people. Courchesne found that the autistic brains had more neurons in the pre-frontal cortex than the control brains. He describes these findings as, “an incredibly important discovery that tells us something started going wrong in prenatal life in children with autism.” This is both an unbelievable and unbelievably self-serving statement filled with hyperbole and grandiosity.

What Couchesne’s study actually tells us is that 6 ASD children had more prefrontal cortex neurons than 7 typical children. There were no aged matched controls! 2 of the 7 “ASD” children did not even have an official ASD diagnosis! 5 of the 7 ASD kids were on anti-psychotic drugs. We have idea how these drugs affect developing brain tissue. 1 of the control children had been taking Concerta and klonopin. Another control had had an organ transplant and was on immunosuppressive drugs for lengthy periods of time. There are only 5 controls not, as far as we know, on various prescription drugs. The fact that this study was actually published only proves how low the bar is for ASD genetic and brain research. There are not enough hours this day to list all the incredible, innovative environmental research studies regularly rejected by autism research journals. A 7-person biomedical study would NEVER be published by JAMA, I promise you.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/11/auti ... rther.html



Quote:
Nicholas Lange, an associate professor of psychiatry and biostatistics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, cautioned that the study was small. He also said more needs to be learned, including whether excess neurons in the prefrontal cortex occur only in autism or in other developmental conditions, or even in any typically developing kids, as well.

Some of the kids with autism had many extra neurons, but not all had brains out of the normal range for weight, as would be expected. "The relationship between increased neuron count, brain overgrowth, and increased brain weight in autism is complex," Lange wrote in accompanying editorial.

Conducting postmortem brain tissue studies is a lengthy process because there are few brains available to study, Courchesne said. Eight of the 13 children whose brains were studied had drowned.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/hea ... 51128494/1



Quote:
"I know that sample," says Lange, who is on the advisory board of the Autism Tissue Program, which manages some of the samples in the study. "It's of varying quality, from poor to acceptable."

Amaral questions the premise that most children with autism have large brains. In an unpublished imaging study of 180 children, including 114 with autism, aged 2 and 3 years, his team has found that only about ten percent have larger-than-normal brains. What's more, some work suggests that about 15 percent of children with autism have abnormally small brains3.

"As an anatomist, I would find it very, very, very surprising that those kids who have brains in the same size range as typically developing kids have increased numbers of neurons as portrayed in this paper," Amaral says.

http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/news/ ... y-suggests



Last edited by dianthus on 09 Mar 2014, 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

wozeree
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09 Mar 2014, 12:46 am

vickygleitz wrote:
Yeah, I don't agree that Autism Card is a 2. It's a Queen Baby! Play that card!


The neuroroyalty card? absolutely![/quote]

Well my avatar is catsup king. Kinda fits.



Sweetleaf
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09 Mar 2014, 1:02 am

BornThisWay wrote:
He also talks a bit about early intervention approaches while the brain is more responsive as being key to helping the autistic child grow into becoming a functional adult...instead of the 'it's broke, you're disabled. you need help' and it's permanent...a road to nowhere.


Why would being disabled and needing help due to having autism(which is currently known as a life long condition) necessarily a road to nowhere? With proper help and accommodations and all that people with autism do have a better chance of becoming functional adults...but some are going to struggle even with help and accommodations. Lack of help or consideration for having autism can contribute to co-morbids I am pretty certain...

Obviously the extreme of 'you have autism so you cant ever do anything or become a functional adult' isn't good but the extreme of 'ha you don't have any kind of disability, nor do you need help and certainly no need to deal with the reality that its a life long condition due to different neurology" also bothers me.