the autistic look-physical features to autism

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ASdogGeek
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26 Jun 2010, 12:11 pm

Hello everyone sorry I have been away for a while. So I hav e been doing some reading and I came across an article talking about common physical features of autistic individuals (physical) this caught me intrest could there be an autistic look?

Quote:
Social and language issues dominate most of the discussion about the features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A neglected area of study are the physical feature characteristics that have been known to be associated with ASD. Unlike some of the diagnostic physical changes in disorders such as Down Syndrome, physical features found in ASD are often subtle and missed by most clinicians.

Ozgen and colleagues from the Netherlands, UCLA and the UK recently published a case-control study of physical features in children with autism. They compared 224 children with ASD and normal intelligence to a matched pair child without ASD. A portion of the assessment was completed by raters blind to the diagnosis of the child.

The assessment included a variety of quantitative and qualitative assessments. For example, in the quantitative assessment category, boys (but not girls) with ASD had a smaller BMI indicating a lower weight to height ratio.

The most common structural (morphological) features found in the ASD children included:

* Sandal gap toes (59%)
* Facial asymmetry (46%)
* Abnormal non-frontal hair whorl (39%)
* High narrow palate (37%)
* Attached ear lobes (35%)
* Hypermobile joints (33%)

Some morphological features were found in the ASD that were absent in the 224 controls including:

* Brachycephaly
* Mouth asymmetry
* Eyes asymmetry
* Ear lobe crease
* Macrostomia (large mouth)
* Limited facial expression
* Open mouth appearance
* Abnormal whorl
* Prominent lower jaw

The authors note these minor physical characteristics were more common among the boys than girls in the study. These types of features have been described in other populations with copy number variations (CNVs). CNVs are an alteration of the genome with a complete loss of a gene copy, gain of a copy or disruption of a dosage-sensitive gene.

The authors note that these physical characteristics are unlikely to be incorporated into diagnostic features. However, they note that the features might be helpful in identifying relevant subgroups for further study. It is important to not bring too much attention to these features in individual children. Some features may add a level of social scrutiny to an already challenging clinical problem.





What are your thoughts? Do you have any of these and how many? I know I have sandal toe, open mouth appearance. attached earlobes, limited facial expressions not sure about the rest
autismfeatures web page link



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26 Jun 2010, 12:29 pm

Oh most certainly, i can fit both of my fists in my mouth



Kiran
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26 Jun 2010, 12:35 pm

i have hypermobile joints, a light version of ehler-danlos syndrome.


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26 Jun 2010, 12:38 pm

I love the history of phrenology and the work of Francis Galton and Cesare Lambroso on facial typography. There is some interesting and accomplished work, which has to be separated from some deeply unpleasant politics and the association with eugenics. I did some artwork using facial composites that I found very satisfying.

I would like to produce a photocomposite Asperger's face - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averageness - to see if there are any recognisable features.



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26 Jun 2010, 12:52 pm

I don't have sandal gap toes but I have a noticeable gap between my second and third toe on each foot. All my other toe abnormalities gradually went away when I switched to only wearing Vibram FiveFinger shoes, but the gap between my second and third toes remained so it appears to be part of me and not a shoe deformity.

Doesn't everyone have facial asymmetry? I remember reading some woowoo book in the seventies talking about what you could tell about a person by cutting an image of their face in half and then doubling each side and comparing the two images. One was supposed to be an image of your "evil shadow face" or something like that. All the images in the book looked dramatically different and when I tried the method they advised in the book (looking into a mirror while holding a second mirrot to bissect the image and get one half of your face doubled into a complete face) I found that my face, too, looked very different on the two halves. But the book insisted that *everyone* had this quality of asymmetry. Or do the autism researchers mean extremely noticeable facial asymmetry?

I had a high narrow palate. The orthodontist broke my upper jaw to spread it wider because all my teeth wouldn't fit in my mouth otherwise.

I had to look up some images and then pull out a mirror to check but I do not have attached ear lobes.

I do have extremely hypermobile joints. I had to quit climbing anything high because it is dangerous -- after so many dislocations, my tendons are extra loose and I dislocate randomly so it's not safe for me to climb high things anymore and I have to be extra careful on stairs (because they also make me dizzy in addition to the danger of a dislocation on stairs.) It's interesting to see the facial expressions of others when they hear the popping sound of me putting a joint back in socket.


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26 Jun 2010, 1:52 pm

Whenever researchers start breaking out the measuring sticks and calipers to study physical differences between Autistics and "Normal" people, it raises serious questions.

The most annoying thing about these studies is that though they always publish their findings, the actual details of the research study itself more often than not seems to be very difficult to get hold of. We are left with only an abstract, and blogger's and news reporter's interpretations of it.

For this particular study, the abstract can be seen here: springer

But to read the actual research itself, you have to be a registered member trough an approved institution. No mere layman is allowed to see it.

There are however, some supplemental papers associated with the study that we can open. One shows a breakdown of the subjects, both with and without Autism, along with percentages of male to femaie. Ethnicity, and education level of parents, broken down by sex as well.

One interesting fact is that the Ethnicity is only broken into two groups, Caucasian and "Other Ethnic groups." Below the chart, it says, "to prevent bias introduced by different ethnic backgrounds, only Caucasian cases and controls were included in the analyses."

Wait a minute! What? So, they only measured Caucasian faces? Why not other races?

Presumably this is because there are so many variants from race to race it would confuse the analyses. Fair point, but there IS a problem with excluding all but one race.

So what if they did accurately demonstrated that "Autistic" Caucasians show variations that "Normal" Caucasians did not show? All they've really proven is that Caucasian subjects show these supposed differences.

What would have happened if they had studied Africans in the same manner? Or other races, excluding other races from them as well. Would they have found the same thing? We don't know because they didn't bother to do that! And what if they HAD studied NON Caucasians by race, and found what they found with Caucasians didn't hold up with some or all of the other races?

Hmmm...

They certainly would not have been able to draw the blanket conclusion that they did.

Then there is the obvious question. What criteria were used to determine whether a subject was "normal?"

Lack of diagnosis for anything doesn't prove anything. It doesn't prove normalcy. In determining "Healthy subjects," did they screen every one of the subjects for all manner of mental and neurological disorders?

Too many questions and not enough answers. This is why it bugs the hell out of me when they release only "findings," but don't publish the actual study where "mere mortals" such as us can READ THEM!

Why on earth are so many of these studies kept hidden from the general public? What are they so damned afraid of? That we wouldn't understand them? So what? So if we don't understand them, what on earth are we going to be able to do with the info?

But what if some of actually CAN understand what's in the study? I can, with a little effort. I studied statistics in college. I know quite a bit about how subjects should and should not be chosen. Another thing I learned is that there are a LOT of researchers out there who may know how to collect data, but don't really understand how to conduct a statistical study in an UNBIASED manner. I've seen it with my own eyes so many times, I refuse to take news reports about studies at face value anymore.

Medical science is not statistical science. They are very different. If a study is set up by anyone other than a qualified STATISTICIAN, or at least someone with equivalent training, the study is more than likely to produce biased and rather useless results.

Without access to the study documents themselves, for me, the abstract and subsequent reports based on them, are completely useless, because they are effectively no more valuable than opinions with nothing to back them up.

"Show me the study!"

Finally, when researchers break out the measuring sticks, slide rulers, and calipers to study a NEUROLOGICAL condition, a little voice inside me groans, "Uh-oh! Here we go..." :roll:


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26 Jun 2010, 2:08 pm

There was another study that found that people equate facial symmetry with beauty, albeit often unconscious. So, are they saying that we are less attractive than the general population? Somewhere on the net there is a site up called, "faces of autism." I looked at it and most people actually looked more attractive than the general population.


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26 Jun 2010, 2:11 pm

I can't find it on google anymore, but years ago, I submitted my picture for the site.


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26 Jun 2010, 2:14 pm

We'll have to remember that they (probably) studied profoundly autistic people. It is known that asymmetry is related to various (real) genetic disorders, so the findings about asymmetry are expected. It doesn't mean that high-functioning Aspies will have more asymmetry than NTs.

The findings about hair whorls is interesting (possibly worth testing in Aspie-quiz) as well the ones about ears and sandal gap toes.



passionatebach
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26 Jun 2010, 2:16 pm

whitetiger wrote:
There was another study that found that people equate facial symmetry with beauty, albeit often unconscious. So, are they saying that we are less attractive than the general population? Somewhere on the net there is a site up called, "faces of autism." I looked at it and most people actually looked more attractive than the general population.


I know that this is not based upon scientific knowledge, but personal experience and inference. I have noticed that most people with AS or autism look either younger or older than their chronological age.

I am not sure if this is a characteristic, or what the reason behind this would be?



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26 Jun 2010, 2:21 pm

MrXxx wrote:
But to read the actual research itself, you have to be a registered member trough an approved institution. No mere layman is allowed to see it.


I just clicked the "PDF Full Text" button at http://www.springerlink.com/content/ck4 ... lltext.pdf and opened the full study, so I do not think that this paper is registration only.

If there are papers that you really want, then go to your local library with the full reference, or if you can then go to a university library and ask how to access journals.



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26 Jun 2010, 2:28 pm

whitetiger wrote:
There was another study that found that people equate facial symmetry with beauty, albeit often unconscious. So, are they saying that we are less attractive than the general population? Somewhere on the net there is a site up called, "faces of autism." I looked at it and most people actually looked more attractive than the general population.


Interesting point. Why even look at symmetry? It doesn't make sense. Nobody's face is symmetrical. Ever seen photos of faces, divided in half? Duplicate each face half, and reverse the duplicate, then match it up with its mate (Left with Left, and Right with Right). It produces faces that look totally different from each other, and it works with ALL faces!

Does this prove we all have MPD?

So what exactly is studying the symmetry of Autistic faces supposed to prove then? :scratch:

Image


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Last edited by MrXxx on 26 Jun 2010, 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

spooky13
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26 Jun 2010, 2:31 pm

MrXxx wrote:
Whenever researchers start breaking out the measuring sticks and calipers to study physical differences between Autistics and "Normal" people, it raises serious questions.

The most annoying thing about these studies is that though they always publish their findings, the actual details of the research study itself more often than not seems to be very difficult to get hold of. We are left with only an abstract, and blogger's and news reporter's interpretations of it.

For this particular study, the abstract can be seen here: springer

But to read the actual research itself, you have to be a registered member trough an approved institution. No mere layman is allowed to see it.

There are however, some supplemental papers associated with the study that we can open. One shows a breakdown of the subjects, both with and without Autism, along with percentages of male to femaie. Ethnicity, and education level of parents, broken down by sex as well.

One interesting fact is that the Ethnicity is only broken into two groups, Caucasian and "Other Ethnic groups." Below the chart, it says, "to prevent bias introduced by different ethnic backgrounds, only Caucasian cases and controls were included in the analyses."

Wait a minute! What? So, they only measured Caucasian faces? Why not other races?

Presumably this is because there are so many variants from race to race it would confuse the analyses. Fair point, but there IS a problem with excluding all but one race.

So what if they did accurately demonstrated that "Autistic" Caucasians show variations that "Normal" Caucasians did not show? All they've really proven is that Caucasian subjects show these supposed differences.

What would have happened if they had studied Africans in the same manner? Or other races, excluding other races from them as well. Would they have found the same thing? We don't know because they didn't bother to do that! And what if they HAD studied NON Caucasians by race, and found what they found with Caucasians didn't hold up with some or all of the other races?

Hmmm...

They certainly would not have been able to draw the blanket conclusion that they did.

Then there is the obvious question. What criteria were used to determine whether a subject was "normal?"

Lack of diagnosis for anything doesn't prove anything. It doesn't prove normalcy. In determining "Healthy subjects," did they screen every one of the subjects for all manner of mental and neurological disorders?

Too many questions and not enough answers. This is why it bugs the hell out of me when they release only "findings," but don't publish the actual study where "mere mortals" such as us can READ THEM!

Why on earth are so many of these studies kept hidden from the general public? What are they so damned afraid of? That we wouldn't understand them? So what? So if we don't understand them, what on earth are we going to be able to do with the info?

But what if some of actually CAN understand what's in the study? I can, with a little effort. I studied statistics in college. I know quite a bit about how subjects should and should not be chosen. Another thing I learned is that there are a LOT of researchers out there who may know how to collect data, but don't really understand how to conduct a statistical study in an UNBIASED manner. I've seen it with my own eyes so many times, I refuse to take news reports about studies at face value anymore.

Medical science is not statistical science. They are very different. If a study is set up by anyone other than a qualified STATISTICIAN, or at least someone with equivalent training, the study is more than likely to produce biased and rather useless results.

Without access to the study documents themselves, for me, the abstract and subsequent reports based on them, are completely useless, because they are effectively no more valuable than opinions with nothing to back them up.

"Show me the study!"

Finally, when researchers break out the measuring sticks, slide rulers, and calipers to study a NEUROLOGICAL condition, a little voice inside me groans, "Uh-oh! Here we go..." :roll:


+1

I never understood why some feel the need to pick apart and over-analyze like that, does it really matter that much? If it was a physical condition I could understand it to an extent.

I categorize studies like this with the likes of these questions:

I part my hair on the right,
I have brown/blue, etc. eyes,
I like reading,
etc, etc....
does that make me an aspie? :roll:


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MrXxx
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26 Jun 2010, 2:35 pm

rdos wrote:
We'll have to remember that they (probably) studied profoundly autistic people.


No real reason to assume this, but it did occur to me. Without the actual study to read, it does beg the question. Where they all severely Autistic? Did they include high functioning Autistics, and if so, how many were HF? How many severe? How many in between?

There's just too much they aren't saying, so why bother to even consider the findings at all?


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26 Jun 2010, 2:57 pm

What are the chances of a hundred or so full-face, straight-on photos of people with Asperger's or autism to make a photocomposite? It takes some patience to get these images done, but the real work is in finding usable and consistent images in the first place.

I looked through my stuff and found this composite some while ago using approximately one photo (of myself) for each 5 years of age - obviously I loved hats at various stages of development.

[img][800:1152]http://imgur.com/NVYhQ.jpg[/img]



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26 Jun 2010, 3:31 pm

ASdogGeek wrote:

* Sandal gap toes (59%)
* Facial asymmetry (46%)
* Abnormal non-frontal hair whorl (39%)
* High narrow palate (37%)
* Attached ear lobes (35%)
* Hypermobile joints (33%)


I'd like to read the study, do you know the author(s)? My husband has sandal gap toes, facial asymmetry (everyone has this), odd hair whorl, attached earlobes, and my son has hyper mobile joints. I think my husband, at 53 is too old for hyper mobile joints.