Autistic brain is literally 'wired' differently

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Apple_in_my_Eye
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26 Jun 2013, 11:39 pm

More evidence of literally different brain 'wiring' in autism. It's interesting that they found basal-ganglier differences, as basal ganglia abnormalities can cause movement and motivational disorders (among other things). It's also more evidence against the notion that "ASD is 100% a social disorder."

Given that Parkinson's disease, which is also a disorder of the basal ganglia, was initially misunderstood (was thought to be psychological; was called "hysterical paralysis") I guess that shouldn't be too surprising, though.

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The thalamus plays crucial roles in the development and mature functioning of numerous sensorimotor, cognitive and attentional circuits. Currently limited evidence suggests that autism spectrum disorder may be associated with thalamic abnormalities, potentially related to sociocommunicative and other impairments in this disorder.

We used functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging probabilistic tractography to study the functional and anatomical integrity of thalamo-cortical connectivity in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and matched typically developing children.

For connectivity with five cortical seeds (prefontal, parieto-occipital, motor, somatosensory and temporal), we found evidence of both anatomical and functional underconnectivity. The only exception was functional connectivity with the temporal lobe, which was increased in the autism spectrum disorders group, especially in the right hemisphere. However, this effect was robust only in partial correlation analyses (partialling out time series from other cortical seeds), whereas findings from total correlation analyses suggest that temporo-thalamic overconnectivity in the autism group was only relative to the underconnectivity found for other cortical seeds.

We also found evidence of microstructural compromise within the thalamic motor parcel, associated with compromise in tracts between thalamus and motor cortex, suggesting that the thalamus may play a role in motor abnormalities reported in previous autism studies. More generally, a number of correlations of diffusion tensor imaging and functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging measures with diagnostic and neuropsychological scores indicate involvement of abnormal thalamocortical connectivity in sociocommunicative and cognitive impairments in autism spectrum disorder.


http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/136/6/1942



Sethno
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26 Jun 2013, 11:59 pm

Apple_in_my_Eye wrote:
More evidence of literally different brain 'wiring' in autism. It's interesting that they found basal-ganglier differences, as basal ganglia abnormalities can cause movement and motivational disorders (among other things). It's also more evidence against the notion that "ASD is 100% a social disorder."...


Ummm...

Is there ANYONE who knows anything about autism who isn't aware of it being neurologically based?


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DVCal
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27 Jun 2013, 12:32 am

Yes NTs have brains wired correctly, appropriately. Aspies have badly miswired brains.



Apple_in_my_Eye
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27 Jun 2013, 12:51 am

Sethno wrote:
Apple_in_my_Eye wrote:
More evidence of literally different brain 'wiring' in autism. It's interesting that they found basal-ganglier differences, as basal ganglia abnormalities can cause movement and motivational disorders (among other things). It's also more evidence against the notion that "ASD is 100% a social disorder."...


Ummm...

Is there ANYONE who knows anything about autism who isn't aware of it being neurologically based?

Until recently that was hard to argue that on the basis of literal evidence. There have been studies of size differences of parts of the brain and fMRI studies, but they aren't very accurate or illuminating.

(Which is perhaps why "Lack of Theory of Mind" is still the 'official' theory of ASD.)



Apple_in_my_Eye
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27 Jun 2013, 1:10 am

DVCal wrote:
Yes NTs have brains wired correctly, appropriately. Aspies have badly miswired brains.
Not sure if that's sarcasm, but i.e. having a high IQ is just as abnormal, in the statistical sense, as having a low one. No built-in value judgements to "abnormal" in the scientific sense.



kabouter
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27 Jun 2013, 4:28 am

DVCal wrote:
Yes NTs have brains wired correctly, appropriately. Aspies have badly miswired brains.


The main problem with these "expert" opinions is that, there is no definition of a correctly wired brain. There is a statistically common wiring of the brain, but that does not make it "correct", "normal", or even the best.

What can be said is that both wirings of the brain are useful, as they both exist, and also in our current society the NT wiring has more advantages in our highly urbanised and crowded society.

But, the aspie range of wirings must also has advantages as it has not disappeared.

It is extremely difficult to define what an abnormal brain wiring is, as we really do not understand much of how the brain works.


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Kalinda
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27 Jun 2013, 4:48 am

This just got explained to me yesterday. I've learned spaciness in order not to fixate on memories prob. because the area which involves memory is larger in me than most others. It is all overwhelming me because I have a bizarre past that made it difficult to diagnose me, leading to all sorts of random guesses. I think one reason Abilify works is it helps me filter out the memories. No other medications have actually worked that I tried yet.


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Verdandi
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27 Jun 2013, 5:47 am

kabouter wrote:
But, the aspie range of wirings must also has advantages as it has not disappeared.


This is a faulty conclusion. It is possible for traits to persist because they are not disadvantageous enough to prevent those who have them from passing them along to others. Lots of other traits have persisted among humans, but I think one would be hard-pressed to describe all of them as advantages.



RedHogRider
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27 Jun 2013, 6:07 am

Kalinda wrote:
This just got explained to me yesterday. I've learned spaciness in order not to fixate on memories prob. because the area which involves memory is larger in me than most others. It is all overwhelming me because I have a bizarre past that made it difficult to diagnose me, leading to all sorts of random guesses. I think one reason Abilify works is it helps me filter out the memories. No other medications have actually worked that I tried yet.


Can you elaborate more? I’m curious, because I have a “bizarre” memory. By that, I mean I find myself constantly remembering things from my past in crystal clarity that most people would have forgotten years ago. For example, I can recall my first day of kindergarten and the little girl that sat across from me. I can see clearly what she was wearing, everything about the day. That was almost fifty years ago. However, on the other hand, I struggle to remember the names of my friend’s daughters. For some reason I cannot put the right name with the right face even though I’ve known them for ten years. It’s a little frustrating.



Dantac
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27 Jun 2013, 8:00 am

Sethno wrote:
Apple_in_my_Eye wrote:
More evidence of literally different brain 'wiring' in autism. It's interesting that they found basal-ganglier differences, as basal ganglia abnormalities can cause movement and motivational disorders (among other things). It's also more evidence against the notion that "ASD is 100% a social disorder."...


Ummm...

Is there ANYONE who knows anything about autism who isn't aware of it being neurologically based?


I think he meant that is is the wiring itself rather than chemical imbalances that is the cause. Aka, there is no 'pill' you can take to fix it.



Sethno
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27 Jun 2013, 8:38 am

Apple_in_my_Eye wrote:
Sethno wrote:
Apple_in_my_Eye wrote:
More evidence of literally different brain 'wiring' in autism. It's interesting that they found basal-ganglier differences, as basal ganglia abnormalities can cause movement and motivational disorders (among other things). It's also more evidence against the notion that "ASD is 100% a social disorder."...


Ummm...

Is there ANYONE who knows anything about autism who isn't aware of it being neurologically based?

Until recently that was hard to argue that on the basis of literal evidence. There have been studies of size differences of parts of the brain and fMRI studies, but they aren't very accurate or illuminating.

(Which is perhaps why "Lack of Theory of Mind" is still the 'official' theory of ASD.)


I've seen so much about it being neurological I would have thought its widely known and has been. Sure hasn't come across as "new". I'm surprised to hear what you say.

Dantac wrote:
I think he meant...


Oh. Okay. Gotcha.


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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".


Last edited by Sethno on 27 Jun 2013, 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

kabouter
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27 Jun 2013, 8:41 am

Verdandi wrote:
kabouter wrote:
But, the aspie range of wirings must also has advantages as it has not disappeared.


This is a faulty conclusion. It is possible for traits to persist because they are not disadvantageous enough to prevent those who have them from passing them along to others. Lots of other traits have persisted among humans, but I think one would be hard-pressed to describe all of them as advantages.


I think I may have expressed myself not very well. The point I was trying to make is that there is no correct wiring of the brain. Some variations of wiring are advantageous in a highly social and crowded society as ours, while other variations can range from advantageous in certain situations to downright disastrous. I think the rate of the variations tends to suggest that it is not just a hangover of past configurations.

Anyway this suggests that the cause is genetic, which it appears is not just the case.

Our genome contains a number of sub-optimal solutions, and evidence of past artifacts which are no longer very useful. These are there I think as a certain path was followed and it is extremely difficult undo a whole chain of changes to follow a better path.

I don't think the brain wiring variations for autism is like that.

I don't think I made a faulty conclusion, but I do acknowledge that what you say is true. So, I still think that some of the range of autistic brain wirings can be advantageous.

Part of the problem is that we really don't have a good understanding of how the brain works. It really is awesome.


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Charis
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27 Jun 2013, 2:48 pm

[troll]
I prefer copper wiring.

It's shiny.

A little bit uncomfortable though, what with the lack of bloodflow around it and such....

[/troll]


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AgentPalpatine
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27 Jun 2013, 3:31 pm

Sethno wrote:
Ummm...

Is there ANYONE who knows anything about autism who isn't aware of it being neurologically based?


A few WPers would fall into that category.....


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Verdandi
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27 Jun 2013, 4:51 pm

kabouter wrote:
Verdandi wrote:
kabouter wrote:
But, the aspie range of wirings must also has advantages as it has not disappeared.


This is a faulty conclusion. It is possible for traits to persist because they are not disadvantageous enough to prevent those who have them from passing them along to others. Lots of other traits have persisted among humans, but I think one would be hard-pressed to describe all of them as advantages.


I think I may have expressed myself not very well. The point I was trying to make is that there is no correct wiring of the brain. Some variations of wiring are advantageous in a highly social and crowded society as ours, while other variations can range from advantageous in certain situations to downright disastrous. I think the rate of the variations tends to suggest that it is not just a hangover of past configurations.

Anyway this suggests that the cause is genetic, which it appears is not just the case.

Our genome contains a number of sub-optimal solutions, and evidence of past artifacts which are no longer very useful. These are there I think as a certain path was followed and it is extremely difficult undo a whole chain of changes to follow a better path.

I don't think the brain wiring variations for autism is like that.

I don't think I made a faulty conclusion, but I do acknowledge that what you say is true. So, I still think that some of the range of autistic brain wirings can be advantageous.

Part of the problem is that we really don't have a good understanding of how the brain works. It really is awesome.


I agree some of the brain wiring for autism is advantageous, and I agree there is no "correct" wiring for the brain. I was being nitpicky over a detail. Thank you for explaining.