Study shows Aspergers and Autism different.

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cyberdad
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05 Aug 2013, 1:27 am

People seem to have missed this part of the results;

The study’s first goal was to determine how a previously defined and statistically validated discriminant function, developed to classify individuals as belonging to a control or an ASD population, would classify subjects with ASP, whose data had not influenced the derivation of the discriminant function. Results (Table 1) showed that the control versus ASD discriminant function classified 25 of 26 patients with ASP (96.2%) as belonging to the ASD sample. This indicates that subjects with ASP are neurophysiologically closer to the ASD population than to the neurotypical control population.

Based on nuero-physiology the ASP group falls into the ASD group cluster

I'm not really sure what the excitement was about?



zemanski
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05 Aug 2013, 4:12 am

I would be loath to see this study as evidence that AS and Autism are separate unless a genetic link is found:

1. we know already that each person on the spectrum has a different pattern of development, there being clusters of groups with similar presentation within the ASC population

2. different patterns of development will produce different brain structure in terms of connectivity and physical development - our brain development is influenced by our experiences and is determined by the patterns of usage - if you use one area of the brain more it is likely to develop faster and we know that ASC people have spiky developmental patterns which means their brain development will be atypical. Some will have more connectivity than others and those who do are more likely to present as high functioning than those who don't.

3. we know from studies over the last 20 years that the long term prognosis for people on the spectrum is indicated by language development which is one of the areas of development that encourages brain connectivity - the only difference between the 2 diagnoses in DSM 4 is that children diagnosed with autism must have significant language delay where children with AS do not have this delay and can, in fact, have precocious development. Children diagnosed with autism in their early years can catch up in terms of speech development and those who do this (usually between 5 and 8 years old) are often reclassified as HFA or even AS because the long term outcome for these children is generally similar to that of those diagnosed with AS and their presentation becomes indistinguishable from AS. This is likely to show in the level of connectivity in the brain in various areas being better developed in some people than others - this does not mean the condition is different.

4. Language development can be hidden in some people on the spectrum - it is only recently that we have come to realise that a non-verbal person may have an extremely active and well developed mind. Just because someone is non-verbal doesn't mean they have no, or delayed, language development in terms of processing - given the means to communicate such as tablets, forums, text to speech devices, etc. many can and do outperform many of their more verbal peers in their ability to communicate - read
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reason-Jump-sil ... son+i+jump
for an excellent example of precocious development in a non-verbal 13 year old - he appears to have been largely echolalic in his verbalisations at the time he wrote this book. Our much loved Donna Williams and Temple Grandin were both non-verbal children with clear autism, now, having met both, it is virtually impossible to distinguish them from someone diagnosed with AS

5. sensory processing is increasingly being accepted as the root of ASC difficulties with the world - these processing differences can be seen in both AS and Autism and the level of difficulty a person has with processing the world is produced by the level of difference from the "norm" combined with the person's ability to develop successful strategies to cope with those differences - these differences and how the person builds strategies to deal with them affect the brain development in terms of connectivity too.

A lot more research needs to be done before I would be convinced there is any difference between AS and autism. To me, AS as a diagnosis gave us useful insights but was only really an accident of history, a legacy of the nazi's who suppressed Asperger's work and stopped us developing an understanding of the spectrum as a whole until his work was rediscovered in the 80s.



Dantac
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05 Aug 2013, 9:34 am

cyberdad wrote:
People seem to have missed this part of the results;

The study’s first goal was to determine how a previously defined and statistically validated discriminant function, developed to classify individuals as belonging to a control or an ASD population, would classify subjects with ASP, whose data had not influenced the derivation of the discriminant function. Results (Table 1) showed that the control versus ASD discriminant function classified 25 of 26 patients with ASP (96.2%) as belonging to the ASD sample. This indicates that subjects with ASP are neurophysiologically closer to the ASD population than to the neurotypical control population.

Based on nuero-physiology the ASP group falls into the ASD group cluster

I'm not really sure what the excitement was about?


It does but it has a very unique difference to ASD norm. The difference in the left hemisphere, where for some reason the connectivity is stronger than ASD and NTs, is that unique difference.

From wiki (yes I know.. its 10am and I haven't had my coffee... just take this reference as a layman's guide)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_hemisphere

Right Hemisphere Functions:
numerical computation (approximate calculation, numerical comparison, estimation)
language: intonation/accentuation, prosody, pragmatic, contextual

Left Hemisphere Functions:
numerical computation (exact calculation, numerical comparison, estimation)
left hemisphere only: direct fact retrieval
language: grammar/vocabulary, literal

What are individuals with ASP generally not very good at? What are ASP individuals generally good at? The above shows you how this research could be dead-on to something.

You could even stretch the imagination a bit and consider ASP to be a sort of right hemisphere ASD with left hemisphere ASP. NT's are the median of this bell curve between ASD-ASP.



ruveyn
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05 Aug 2013, 10:18 am

GregCav wrote:
neilson_wheels wrote:
GregCav wrote:
We know we're different but similar, DSM-5 know we are different but similar.

And since it's a spectrum condition, brain scans will be all over the place. I think they've wasted their time on this one.


Have you read the article?


I read the article. The article was a reporter's responce of what he understood. Release articles often don't represent what is in the study. And the article didn't say much at all anyway.

Now that Waterfalls has linked to the study pdf, I will read that.


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zemanski
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05 Aug 2013, 10:25 am

Absolutely! :D



cyberdad
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05 Aug 2013, 7:30 pm

Dantac wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
People seem to have missed this part of the results;

The study’s first goal was to determine how a previously defined and statistically validated discriminant function, developed to classify individuals as belonging to a control or an ASD population, would classify subjects with ASP, whose data had not influenced the derivation of the discriminant function. Results (Table 1) showed that the control versus ASD discriminant function classified 25 of 26 patients with ASP (96.2%) as belonging to the ASD sample. This indicates that subjects with ASP are neurophysiologically closer to the ASD population than to the neurotypical control population.

Based on nuero-physiology the ASP group falls into the ASD group cluster

I'm not really sure what the excitement was about?


It does but it has a very unique difference to ASD norm. The difference in the left hemisphere, where for some reason the connectivity is stronger than ASD and NTs, is that unique difference.

From wiki (yes I know.. its 10am and I haven't had my coffee... just take this reference as a layman's guide)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_hemisphere

Right Hemisphere Functions:
numerical computation (approximate calculation, numerical comparison, estimation)
language: intonation/accentuation, prosody, pragmatic, contextual

Left Hemisphere Functions:
numerical computation (exact calculation, numerical comparison, estimation)
left hemisphere only: direct fact retrieval
language: grammar/vocabulary, literal

What are individuals with ASP generally not very good at? What are ASP individuals generally good at? The above shows you how this research could be dead-on to something.

You could even stretch the imagination a bit and consider ASP to be a sort of right hemisphere ASD with left hemisphere ASP. NT's are the median of this bell curve between ASD-ASP.


Yes I understand that some unique differences were found in the strength of connectivity in the left hemisphere of 26 diagnosed AS participants. The problem here is the ASD and ASP cohorts were separated on the basis of diagnosis which is largely based on language development/delays. About 1 in 3 people diagnosed with ASD having a speech/language delay acquire language by early or late adolescence and (according to Attwood and Baron-Cohen) based on earlier diagnostic criteria indistinguishable from their peers diagnosed with AS. This creates quite a considerable confound for the "nice" discriminant data based on EEG scans of the 26 AS participants. Are we then to assume that ASD kids who acquire language strengthen their connections in the left hemisphere?

Yes it's worthy of further investigation, but no I'm not sure, based on the current findings, it threatens the underlying basis of the DSMV coalescing PDD, AS and ASD under one umbrella group.



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05 Aug 2013, 9:50 pm

This study just says that this small ASP sample is subgroup within ASD group, and this small ASP sample shows several differences from ASD, including strengthened connections in left hemisphere, speculated to have something to do with language, and the diagnostic classification of ASD vs. ASP was based in part on language development, so it is not surprising that autistic children without language delay show some differences from autistic children with language delay, but findings will require replication with larger study sample.


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05 Aug 2013, 10:17 pm

Wait, what?


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naturalplastic
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06 Aug 2013, 11:21 am

Its not impossible.

It could turn out that HFA people turn out to be like Volkswagon Beetles, and that aspies could turn out to be like Citreons (outwardly similar, but radically different under the hood and chassie).



LAlien
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06 Aug 2013, 11:28 am

...Maybe like somebody bought a car and altered it a bit (hfa), to make is run differently, and then sold it used to someone who tried to put it back the way it was(nt), but it couldn't be entirely returned to its original condition, leaving it a bit closer to normal but still different (as).


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06 Aug 2013, 12:13 pm

btbnnyr wrote:
This study just says that this small ASP sample is subgroup within ASD group, and this small ASP sample shows several differences from ASD, including strengthened connections in left hemisphere, speculated to have something to do with language, and the diagnostic classification of ASD vs. ASP was based in part on language development, so it is not surprising that autistic children without language delay show some differences from autistic children with language delay, but findings will require replication with larger study sample.


It was interesting that the weaker connections put the AS subgroup within the parameters observed for the Autism group--supporting AS as part of ASD--but in the areas where connectivity was stronger in the AS group than the Autism group, this connectivity was also greater than seen in the NT group, supporting identification of AS as a subgroup with certain distinct features.

The death notices for the syndrome may have been somewhat premature, as some foretold.



GregCav
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07 Aug 2013, 12:39 am

Adamantium wrote:
The death notices for the syndrome may have been somewhat premature, as some foretold.


I read a long article on why DSM-5 decided to lump the two groups together. The simple description would be; Both ASP and ASD are diagnosed using a similar method, and both group's symptoms are treated by similar methods.

They grouped us together because we are more similar than we are different. But they did keep the two groups seperate as ASP and ASD.

Wheather or not any one person agrees with it, I'm simply saying this is why they did it.

I suppose they can easily break the groups up again in the future if they find a useful reason to do so.

As far as the study goes; it was a preliminary study. And it produced what I think are impressive but not surprising results. I don't doubt doing the math and programming to achieve it would be an amaizing challange, and they seem to have found something which is pretty reliable. I'm sure it will be greatly refined in time.

Oh; and the study was EEG brain scans. It only looks at brain activity and found that there is a signiture activity to Aspergers which is different to Autism. They chart showed overlapping bars in different colours, and I couldn't realy understand how these overlapped areas were differentiated. The study has nothing to do with DNA.



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07 Aug 2013, 7:16 am

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However, when looking at connectivity between other parts of the brain, the researchers saw differences. Connections between several regions in the left hemisphere were stronger in children with Asperger's than in both children with autism and normally developing children.

I don't get how this is revolutionary. Since people with Asperger's are generally higher functioning than people with Autism, of course they have stronger brain connections in some areas. Unless the researchers are still in denial about the existence of neurology, I don't know how this could come as a surprise. To assume that Asperger's and Autism are neurological conditions, but that all differentiation between the two must be completely psychological, is contradictory reasoning. Strength of brain connections between NTs would be different as well, because not all mental ability arises purely from psychology. This study basically just proved for the thousandth time that brain composition does affect mental ability.



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07 Aug 2013, 7:35 am

Mike1 wrote:
I don't get how this is revolutionary.

This is the first potentially definitive test for AS rather than assessment, which is subjective to the person who does the evaluation. If further studies prove the correlation then this will be a major step forward in understanding the "hows and whys" when someone is affected, understanding brain function in general, and should also help to identify causes of the condition through cross referencing.



Mack27
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08 Aug 2013, 12:19 am

neilson_wheels wrote:
Mike1 wrote:
I don't get how this is revolutionary.

This is the first potentially definitive test for AS rather than assessment, which is subjective to the person who does the evaluation. If further studies prove the correlation then this will be a major step forward in understanding the "hows and whys" when someone is affected, understanding brain function in general, and should also help to identify causes of the condition through cross referencing.


I agree. It's a very exciting time in that we actually seem to be making progress towards non-subjective physiological testing for ASD and AS. EEG tests and the recent news about the different studies into blood tests could lead to much more accurate diagnoses. This could be life-changing for a lot of people.



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09 Aug 2013, 7:45 am

Mack27 wrote:
neilson_wheels wrote:
Mike1 wrote:
I don't get how this is revolutionary.

This is the first potentially definitive test for AS rather than assessment, which is subjective to the person who does the evaluation. If further studies prove the correlation then this will be a major step forward in understanding the "hows and whys" when someone is affected, understanding brain function in general, and should also help to identify causes of the condition through cross referencing.


I agree. It's a very exciting time in that we actually seem to be making progress towards non-subjective physiological testing for ASD and AS. EEG tests and the recent news about the different studies into blood tests could lead to much more accurate diagnoses. This could be life-changing for a lot of people.


I completely agree. This news excites me much more than arbitrary (and often changing) DSM symptom clusters. The source of all of what we do comes directly from the brain, not theories and constructs. Whether we call it Asperger or whatever, it's plain to me my brain processes some things very differently from a large segment of the population, and I would like to know more about why, and the same applies to the behavior I see from others - what is it exactly that makes us different? Huge step in the right direction here.