Brains of Autistic Children Have Too Many Synapses

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AspE
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21 Aug 2014, 1:05 pm

Brains of Autistic Children Have Too Many Synapses, Study Suggests

Interesting New York Times article about what causes autism. It seems plausible and points to a direction for new drug research which could correct the brain's mechanism to remove excess synapses.

In healthy brain development, there is an explosion of synapses very early and then a pruning process begins. That process is necessary to ensure that different areas of the brain can develop specific functions and are not overloaded with stimuli.



Toy_Soldier
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21 Aug 2014, 1:47 pm

Perhaps the most interesting discovery I have seen yet on physical evidence and possible treatment of autism.

The findings that the number can be reduced in tests with mice is also encouraging. But the volunteers who might be part of any experiments along this line will have to be very brave people indeed. Having your synaspses trimmed is a frightening thing to contemplate. Its not like going in for a haircut. Being a non-naturally occurred process, and induced, how would you know if the right ones are trimmed? Are there right ones, or is it just the number ? What would it do to ones consciousness, ones personality, etc ? What would it be like to go from your current self to one more NT ?



AspE
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21 Aug 2014, 3:14 pm

I don't think the drug itself culls synapses, rather they are fixing the hyperactivity of the protein mTOR, so that it can do it's job normally.

This theory would also explain why babies don't seem to be affected by autism until a certain age (unfortunately about the same age they get vaccinated). Does this mean babies brains are constantly overstimulated?



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21 Aug 2014, 3:57 pm

This is interesting, as I'm currently reading Elaine Aron's book on "highly sensitive person" syndrome, which has many of the same sensory overload and social overload traits as autism, and she too speculates that "HSPs" have too many synapses and this is why the HSP is overwhelmed by stimuli also. There is a lot of crossover in HSP and autism, in the sensory issues at least.



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21 Aug 2014, 4:20 pm

makes sense...its why very low dose of cannabis of a certain strain is very helpful for those with AS. You just need to be lucky enough to live in a state where its legal.



frogfoot
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21 Aug 2014, 4:43 pm

That is an interesting theory.

It could, however, be the case that the extra number of synapses are compensating for a different root problem. Like for example if the neurons aren't firing as often as normal or signals aren't spreading like they should. The medication might be treating the symptoms not the cause.



guzzle
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21 Aug 2014, 5:47 pm

AspE wrote:
Does this mean babies brains are constantly overstimulated?


Ever since the 1950's you could say there has been more and more sensory information to process for babies and toddlers.



trollcatman
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21 Aug 2014, 5:52 pm

I read that synesthesia had a similar cause. There are quite a few people on here with synesthesia, but it's somewhat common in non-AS people too.



AspE
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21 Aug 2014, 6:15 pm

guzzle wrote:
AspE wrote:
Does this mean babies brains are constantly overstimulated?


Ever since the 1950's you could say there has been more and more sensory information to process for babies and toddlers.

Yes, with all the homework they are expected to do, Intro to Diaper Filling 101, Mobiles Appreciation, Noisemaking for Dummies...



PseudointellectualHorse
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22 Aug 2014, 6:12 pm

The excess of synapses makes intuitive sense, in that it seems, at least on the surface, to be in harmony with my subjective sense of finding overwhelming complexity in everyday life situations. For example, if someone asks my name, my mind leaps in a thousand directions: First name? Last name? False name? Substitute name? Privacy? Longevity of identity assertion? Who am I talking to? Who else is listening? Pronunciation? Volume? Attitude? Friend or foe? Thus I try to anticipate events in advance, so when they occur, I've already done the pondering and can jump right to the necessary action. Of course, if the other guy goes off script, it becomes more difficult.

In short: Too many synapses might be consistent with too much information to be processed.

And a touch of medicinal ethanol can be helpful to reduce this particular idiosyncratic behavior. Oddly enough, I suspect I convey more of an impression of substance-abusing when completely sober, and present a more sober facade when I'm not.

But as for a "cure"...No, I think not. It's my brain, I'm used to it, I like it, it works pretty well under the proper circumstances like the specialized tool that it is, and I'm not letting Dr. Frankenstein come within a hundred yards of my synapses, thank you very much.

FWIW, the NY Daily News also ran a variant of this article: Study Finds That Brains With Autism Fail to Trim Synapses as They Develop



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23 Aug 2014, 2:22 am

Toy_Soldier wrote:
Perhaps the most interesting discovery I have seen yet on physical evidence and possible treatment of autism.

The findings that the number can be reduced in tests with mice is also encouraging. But the volunteers who might be part of any experiments along this line will have to be very brave people indeed. Having your synaspses trimmed is a frightening thing to contemplate. Its not like going in for a haircut. Being a non-naturally occurred process, and induced, how would you know if the right ones are trimmed? Are there right ones, or is it just the number ? What would it do to ones consciousness, ones personality, etc ? What would it be like to go from your current self to one more NT ?


I think I'd avoid this treatment as I wouldn't want to risk becoming a vegtable or mentally dull due to them accidently overdoing it to where not enough stimulus effects the synaspses or whatever...also I'd probably lose that great feeling I get from thunder storms :( .


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guzzle
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23 Aug 2014, 9:36 pm

AspE wrote:
guzzle wrote:
AspE wrote:
Does this mean babies brains are constantly overstimulated?


Ever since the 1950's you could say there has been more and more sensory information to process for babies and toddlers.

Yes, with all the homework they are expected to do, Intro to Diaper Filling 101, Mobiles Appreciation, Noisemaking for Dummies...


Whilst bathing in fluorescent lights and munching away on their adulterated/additive 'enhanced' (delete as appropriate) foods http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adulterant ... _beverages
listening to anything from Elvis to Justin Bieber in the background whilst watching their latest favourite Disney concoction.
and all wrapped up in their polywondrous new materials that don't let their skins breathe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adulterant ... _beverages

But only after they have been bathed in something that makes them smell gorgeous of course. Who doesn't want the best for their little gems?

Intro to the the Vagus Nerve 101
http://teachmeanatomy.info/head/cranial ... _Functions

Or choose you pick
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=vagus ... rve+autism



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24 Aug 2014, 4:14 pm

but. all these unusual, excess synapses are eventually also what makes us capable of being a Tesla, Einstein, Kubrick or Gates. Without connections that NTs don't have, how would we able to sacrifice these dreams of owning big cars for our special interests, and be able to become something other than 'owner of a big car'?


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