ratio male:female in savant-syndrome equals ratio in autism

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Eloa
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10 Apr 2012, 4:19 pm

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Why is savant syndrome seen more frequently in males than females?

Savant syndrome does occur four to six times more frequently in males than females. Partly that is due to the fact that savant syndrome occurs in as high as 10% of persons with autistic disorder where that same disproportionate male:female ratio is seen. Even beyond that, however, research by Geschwind and Galaburda, explained in greater detail elsewhere on this site, demonstrated in the developing human fetus the left hemisphere of the brain always completes its development later than the right hemisphere. Therefore the left hemisphere of the brain is exposed for a longer period of time than the right to brain insult or injury of any kind. One such type of neuronal damage can be produced by circulating testosterone, which in the male fetus, reaches very high levels and can be, in some instances, neurotoxic. This same testosterone mediated developmental injury, causing left hemisphere brain damage before birth in males may account for the same highly disproportionate male:female ratio seen in some other forms of CNS injury such as stuttering, dyslexia, hyperactivity, other learning disabilities and autistic disorder itself.

http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/savant_syndrome/frequently_asked_questions

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How common is savant syndrome?

Approximately one in ten (10%) of persons with autistic disorder have some savant skills. In other forms of development disability, mental retardation or brain injury, savant skills occur in less than 1% of such persons (approximately 1:2000 in persons with mental retardation). Since these other forms of mental disability are much more common than autistic disorder however, it turns out that approximately 50% of persons with savant syndrome have autistic disorder, and the other 50% have some other form of developmental disability, mental retardation or brain injury or disease. Thus not all savants are autistic, and not all autistic persons are savants.


It is said, that females are often overlooked in a DX for autism/Asperger's Syndrome, so then it would mean, that the ratio male:female in savant-syndrome does not equal the ratio male:female in autism, but there is a connection with autism and savant-syndrome, as about 50% of people with savant-syndrome have an autistic disorder, but wouldn't it also indicate, that if females are getting lesser diagnosed with autistic disorder that there should be a higher rate of females with savant-syndrome?
Or is there any other explanation?


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Rascal77s
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11 Apr 2012, 12:44 am

Eloa wrote:
It is said, that females are often overlooked in a DX for autism/Asperger's Syndrome, so then it would mean, that the ratio male:female in savant-syndrome does not equal the ratio male:female in autism, but there is a connection with autism and savant-syndrome, as about 50% of people with savant-syndrome have an autistic disorder, but wouldn't it also indicate, that if females are getting lesser diagnosed with autistic disorder that there should be a higher rate of females with savant-syndrome?
Or is there any other explanation?


I think that savant skills would be much more noticeable in girls than AS. Even if a DX of AS were missed for a girl a savant skill would very likely be noticed by parents and teachers.



Eloa
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11 Apr 2012, 4:31 am

Rascal77s wrote:
I think that savant skills would be much more noticeable in girls than AS. Even if a DX of AS were missed for a girl a savant skill would very likely be noticed by parents and teachers.


I think you are right.

Quote:
Researchers in Australia have uncovered further evidence of a link between testosterone and autism, backing a theory that high testosterone exposure in the womb increases the risk of the disorder, The Australian reported Monday.

Researchers at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Western Australia, found that girls with autistic-like behaviors at 2 years old had their first period about six months later than girls without the disorder's symptoms.

"These findings indicate that exposure to testosterone in the womb may be regulating both autism-like behaviors and the age of first period and that this may play a role in clinical autism," lead researcher Andrew Whitehouse said.

He said the findings were linked to the so-called "male brain theory" of autism, which suggests the behavior disorder is an extreme form of male mental traits.


http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/02/07/study-uncovers-evidence-autism-testosterone-link/

But high exposure to testosterone in the womb is considered as being a potential cause for both becoming autistic and having savant-syndrome.
If the ratio male:female in savant-syndrome equals the "false" (?) ratio m:f in autism, then why is it so?
Because according to the theory that high levels of testosterone can be a cause of and autism and savant-syndrome an equal ratio would be logical - wouldn't it?


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Rascal77s
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11 Apr 2012, 1:13 pm

Eloa wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
I think that savant skills would be much more noticeable in girls than AS. Even if a DX of AS were missed for a girl a savant skill would very likely be noticed by parents and teachers.


I think you are right.

Quote:
Researchers in Australia have uncovered further evidence of a link between testosterone and autism, backing a theory that high testosterone exposure in the womb increases the risk of the disorder, The Australian reported Monday.

Researchers at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Western Australia, found that girls with autistic-like behaviors at 2 years old had their first period about six months later than girls without the disorder's symptoms.

"These findings indicate that exposure to testosterone in the womb may be regulating both autism-like behaviors and the age of first period and that this may play a role in clinical autism," lead researcher Andrew Whitehouse said.

He said the findings were linked to the so-called "male brain theory" of autism, which suggests the behavior disorder is an extreme form of male mental traits.


http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/02/07/study-uncovers-evidence-autism-testosterone-link/

But high exposure to testosterone in the womb is considered as being a potential cause for both becoming autistic and having savant-syndrome.
If the ratio male:female in savant-syndrome equals the "false" (?) ratio m:f in autism, then why is it so?
Because according to the theory that high levels of testosterone can be a cause of and autism and savant-syndrome an equal ratio would be logical - wouldn't it?


I don't have time right now to look at the link but I know what you're talking about. The theory about testosterone is about toxic levels of testosterone, not just high levels. Apparently the toxic level is easier to reach in a male fetus and therefore you see more males with savant syndrome. Basically what they're saying is the testosterone causes brain damage and the brain damage is the cause of the savant skills. Since males are more likely to get this brain damage they are also more likely to be savants.



OddDuckNash99
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11 Apr 2012, 1:40 pm

Rascal77s wrote:
Basically what they're saying is the testosterone causes brain damage and the brain damage is the cause of the savant skills.

The "testosterone theory" is also linked to why left-handedness and early-onset neuropsych disorders tend to be found in more males. I'm very much for the testosterone link, because it really explains a lot, I think, especially with myself. I am the only one with ASDs or full-blown OCD in my entire family, and I also am the only left-handed person in my immediate family. And I'm a left-handed female Aspie who's had OCD since age 3. Something went wrong somewhere with me, and it wasn't with heritability. My mom had poison ivy really badly when she was six months pregnant with me, and she was prescribed a large course of steroids to heal. I personally think that these steroids acted like testosterone, another steroid.


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autismthinker21
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11 Apr 2012, 4:09 pm

OddDuckNash99 wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
Basically what they're saying is the testosterone causes brain damage and the brain damage is the cause of the savant skills.

The "testosterone theory" is also linked to why left-handedness and early-onset neuropsych disorders tend to be found in more males. I'm very much for the testosterone link, because it really explains a lot, I think, especially with myself. I am the only one with ASDs or full-blown OCD in my entire family, and I also am the only left-handed person in my immediate family. And I'm a left-handed female Aspie who's had OCD since age 3. Something went wrong somewhere with me, and it wasn't with heritability. My mom had poison ivy really badly when she was six months pregnant with me, and she was prescribed a large course of steroids to heal. I personally think that these steroids acted like testosterone, another steroid.



Hans Asperger research it because of how he had it. somehow if this syndrome wasn't researched by him, there would be no telling

whether or not we have something wrong with us or not. the world is sometimes strange with theories. now there is a theory that women

that get fat cause children to be autistic. women that are pregnant get fat after a long stretch. that's not the cause of it. well toximia also

has some link to the cause. maybe the cause is toxic in a woman's body. something has to cause autism to be born.



Eloa
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11 Apr 2012, 4:54 pm

Rascal77s wrote:
Eloa wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
I think that savant skills would be much more noticeable in girls than AS. Even if a DX of AS were missed for a girl a savant skill would very likely be noticed by parents and teachers.


I think you are right.

Quote:
Researchers in Australia have uncovered further evidence of a link between testosterone and autism, backing a theory that high testosterone exposure in the womb increases the risk of the disorder, The Australian reported Monday.

Researchers at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Western Australia, found that girls with autistic-like behaviors at 2 years old had their first period about six months later than girls without the disorder's symptoms.

"These findings indicate that exposure to testosterone in the womb may be regulating both autism-like behaviors and the age of first period and that this may play a role in clinical autism," lead researcher Andrew Whitehouse said.

He said the findings were linked to the so-called "male brain theory" of autism, which suggests the behavior disorder is an extreme form of male mental traits.


http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/02/07/study-uncovers-evidence-autism-testosterone-link/

But high exposure to testosterone in the womb is considered as being a potential cause for both becoming autistic and having savant-syndrome.
If the ratio male:female in savant-syndrome equals the "false" (?) ratio m:f in autism, then why is it so?
Because according to the theory that high levels of testosterone can be a cause of and autism and savant-syndrome an equal ratio would be logical - wouldn't it?


I don't have time right now to look at the link but I know what you're talking about. The theory about testosterone is about toxic levels of testosterone, not just high levels. Apparently the toxic level is easier to reach in a male fetus and therefore you see more males with savant syndrome. Basically what they're saying is the testosterone causes brain damage and the brain damage is the cause of the savant skills. Since males are more likely to get this brain damage they are also more likely to be savants.

Thank you, Rascal77s.
If toxic levels of testosterone are a potential cause for autism as well this would explain the ratio male:female as you write it is easier to reach in a male fetus.


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Last edited by Eloa on 11 Apr 2012, 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Eloa
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11 Apr 2012, 5:01 pm

OddDuckNash99 wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
Basically what they're saying is the testosterone causes brain damage and the brain damage is the cause of the savant skills.

The "testosterone theory" is also linked to why left-handedness and early-onset neuropsych disorders tend to be found in more males. I'm very much for the testosterone link, because it really explains a lot, I think, especially with myself. I am the only one with ASDs or full-blown OCD in my entire family, and I also am the only left-handed person in my immediate family. And I'm a left-handed female Aspie who's had OCD since age 3. Something went wrong somewhere with me, and it wasn't with heritability. My mom had poison ivy really badly when she was six months pregnant with me, and she was prescribed a large course of steroids to heal. I personally think that these steroids acted like testosterone, another steroid.

Thank you, OddDuckNash99.
It is interesting what you write about the steroids.

Quote:
Analyses from the ALSPAC cohort also found evidence of a link between antenatal anxiety and neurological development. High maternal anxiety at 18 weeks' gestation predicted atypical laterality (i.e. mixed handedness) in the child (further details available from the author upon request), independently of maternal and paternal handedness and obstetric and other antenatal risks. No association was found with postnatal anxiety, indicating that maternal anxiety had qualitatively different effects on child handedness in the antenatal and postnatal periods. An association between antenatal anxiety and mixed handedness in the child was also found in a Danish cohort (C. Obel et al, personal communication, 2002). If antenatal anxiety is causally associated with mixed handedness, then it could have a role in other disorders associated with mixed handedness that have a neurodevelopmental component, such as dyslexia and autism.


I don't know if I am right in my conclusion, but stress (edit: as anxiety is causing physical stress) is producing cortisol and it is a steroid as well.
Could it also cause toxic levels of testosterone in the womb leading to left-brain damage?


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autismthinker21
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11 Apr 2012, 9:22 pm

ok. stress and steriods cause autism. maybe. nobody still don't know the link of it.



Rascal77s
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11 Apr 2012, 9:38 pm

OddDuckNash99 wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
Basically what they're saying is the testosterone causes brain damage and the brain damage is the cause of the savant skills.

The "testosterone theory" is also linked to why left-handedness and early-onset neuropsych disorders tend to be found in more males. I'm very much for the testosterone link, because it really explains a lot, I think, especially with myself. I am the only one with ASDs or full-blown OCD in my entire family, and I also am the only left-handed person in my immediate family. And I'm a left-handed female Aspie who's had OCD since age 3. Something went wrong somewhere with me, and it wasn't with heritability. My mom had poison ivy really badly when she was six months pregnant with me, and she was prescribed a large course of steroids to heal. I personally think that these steroids acted like testosterone, another steroid.


I thought you were a guy :lol:



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11 Apr 2012, 10:43 pm

What I'd like to know is how common this ratio is. I mean, I know that, more often than not, diseases and conditions men have more often than women--both trivial, like color-blindness, and severe, like heart failure. Men are also more likely to be gifted and more likely to be intellectually disabled. I think it has to do with the X chromosomes, which women have a backup for and men don't.

In early development, everyone is female. By default, that's what you get--a female. Male fetuses have to shut off the "girl" system, and turn on the "boy" system, to develop into adult males. (Check out androgen insensitivity syndrome for a particularly striking example of what happens when this doesn't work right: You can get a girl with XY chromosomes, infertile because the internal reproductive system is male, but otherwise totally female.) So, boys and girls aren't that different--the differences are there in the early development, in whether the fetus is producing various hormones. The main difference that has an impact on genetic disorders is that backup X chromosome that girls have.

If this ratio is similar in other conditions than autism and savant syndrome, then what they have shown here may not be specific to autism, but be a general principle that explains why men are more prone to various genetically-related disorders. Sure, it could have something to do with testosterone, but I'm kind of leery of assuming that it has to be hormones, or has to be entirely hormones. Yes, those hormones that make an embryo develop into a boy or a girl do result from the XX/XY difference; but there are many other things that also do.


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12 Apr 2012, 12:04 am

Eloa wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
I think that savant skills would be much more noticeable in girls than AS. Even if a DX of AS were missed for a girl a savant skill would very likely be noticed by parents and teachers.


I think you are right.


Interestingly, my abilities weren't "discovered" until I started contracting with the military. Many innate abilities are hard to detect because those born with innate abilities believe "this is the way the world works" until told or shown otherwise. Those with savant-like math/reading skills are easiest to identify because they stand out - people notice Jimmy reading at a much higher level, and memorizing entire books. They notice Sally calculating vast equations without mechanical assistance. What they don't notice is kinesthetic, pattern recognition, or biometric savants - at least not as early as "the ones that stand out" (Ha! Sounds like a movie title).

You know what I find really interesting? "Savants" are considered pathological :P Why is it still not consider evolutionary?!

Really, in both points above, I blame the neurotypical mind. It's not built to see the world any different than what it's told.

Good post, though. :)



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12 Apr 2012, 6:44 am

Rascal77s wrote:
OddDuckNash99 wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
Basically what they're saying is the testosterone causes brain damage and the brain damage is the cause of the savant skills.

The "testosterone theory" is also linked to why left-handedness and early-onset neuropsych disorders tend to be found in more males. I'm very much for the testosterone link, because it really explains a lot, I think, especially with myself. I am the only one with ASDs or full-blown OCD in my entire family, and I also am the only left-handed person in my immediate family. And I'm a left-handed female Aspie who's had OCD since age 3. Something went wrong somewhere with me, and it wasn't with heritability. My mom had poison ivy really badly when she was six months pregnant with me, and she was prescribed a large course of steroids to heal. I personally think that these steroids acted like testosterone, another steroid.

I thought you were a guy :lol:

Proves my point! :lol: :lol: :lol:


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12 Apr 2012, 3:44 pm

Bloom wrote:
Eloa wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
I think that savant skills would be much more noticeable in girls than AS. Even if a DX of AS were missed for a girl a savant skill would very likely be noticed by parents and teachers.


I think you are right.




Really, in both points above, I blame the neurotypical mind. It's not built to see the world any different than what it's told.

Good post, though. :)


Thanks Bloom. I think ALL minds are incapable of truly understanding the world in a way that differs from their biology. If the people on this forum were able to see the world in the way NT's do this forum wouldn't exist. It's not just the NT mind, it goes both ways.



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12 Apr 2012, 3:46 pm

OddDuckNash99 wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
OddDuckNash99 wrote:
Rascal77s wrote:
Basically what they're saying is the testosterone causes brain damage and the brain damage is the cause of the savant skills.

The "testosterone theory" is also linked to why left-handedness and early-onset neuropsych disorders tend to be found in more males. I'm very much for the testosterone link, because it really explains a lot, I think, especially with myself. I am the only one with ASDs or full-blown OCD in my entire family, and I also am the only left-handed person in my immediate family. And I'm a left-handed female Aspie who's had OCD since age 3. Something went wrong somewhere with me, and it wasn't with heritability. My mom had poison ivy really badly when she was six months pregnant with me, and she was prescribed a large course of steroids to heal. I personally think that these steroids acted like testosterone, another steroid.

I thought you were a guy :lol:

Proves my point! :lol: :lol: :lol:


Or it proves I'm out of touch with reality :P



Bloom
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12 Apr 2012, 6:47 pm

Rascal77s wrote:

Thanks Bloom. I think ALL minds are incapable of truly understanding the world in a way that differs from their biology. If the people on this forum were able to see the world in the way NT's do this forum wouldn't exist. It's not just the NT mind, it goes both ways.


Wow... that's actually a really profound point, thank you. :)

As a scientist - a scientist of the brain no less - you'd think I'd have this sentiment underwraps. Ha! ;)

Thank you, again. :)

_Bloom