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ASPartOfMe
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14 Sep 2021, 7:22 am

Autism: A spectrum on the path to segmentation

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In an attempt to improve long-term screening and treatment, researchers are seeking to gain a better understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms involved in this high heterogeneity, more specifically during brain development and the formation of large neural networks.

Marie Schaer is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and a member of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Mental Health, NCCR-Synapsy. In a paper published in the journal Communications Biology, her laboratory demonstrates that certain basic brain states, more particularly their dynamics, are damaged in pre-school children diagnosed with ASD.

The research team turned to electroencephalography (EEG) to try to understand the neurobiological damage and to find out how to detect it at an early stage using the battery of brain analysis tools that are compatible with young ASD children. "A cap fitted with electrodes is positioned on the head of the young children", begins Aurélie Bochet, a doctoral student in UNIGE's Department of Psychiatry and the study's co-first author with Holger Sperdin. "This is generally easier to manage than, say, putting them in a magnetic resonance device, which is really intimidating and anxiety-provoking".

An EEG technique known as EEG microstate analysis can be used to measure the states of the brain at rest, which are representative of its most basic functions and reflect the activity of the large neural networks. "It's an approach that's being used more and more to study the neurobiological correlates of mental pathologies", continues Bochet. "What's more, it's particularly suitable for young children with autism since rest is obviously the simplest task that can be asked of them".

In the Geneva study, this method was used to record the dynamics of the brain states of 113 pre-school children, over half of whom were diagnosed with ASD. The researchers identified five predominant states, as Bochet further explains: "We compared the dynamics of these five states for children with and without an ASD diagnosis by measuring three key variables: the duration of the states, the number of times they appear and their size." One of the five conditions identified appears more frequently and lasts longer in children with ASD. In addition, the order in which the various states appear is different in children with ASD.

Last of all, the team of researchers successfully demonstrated that differences in the dynamics of the brain states existed even within the population of ASD-diagnosed children, and that they were associated with the different symptoms observed clinically. "In concrete terms, we were able to correlate a particular symptom with specific EEG data", adds professor Schaer. "So, what we observe at clinical level via questionnaires or behavioral evaluations is actually linked to specific neurobiological damage".

If replicated this would bring us back to the 1950s diagnosis of brain damaged.


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DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

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carlos55
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14 Sep 2021, 7:45 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Autism: A spectrum on the path to segmentatio
Quote:
In an attempt to improve long-term screening and treatment, researchers are seeking to gain a better understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms involved in this high heterogeneity, more specifically during brain development and the formation of large neural networks.

Marie Schaer is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and a member of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Mental Health, NCCR-Synapsy. In a paper published in the journal Communications Biology, her laboratory demonstrates that certain basic brain states, more particularly their dynamics, are damaged in pre-school children diagnosed with ASD.

The research team turned to electroencephalography (EEG) to try to understand the neurobiological damage and to find out how to detect it at an early stage using the battery of brain analysis tools that are compatible with young ASD children. "A cap fitted with electrodes is positioned on the head of the young children", begins Aurélie Bochet, a doctoral student in UNIGE's Department of Psychiatry and the study's co-first author with Holger Sperdin. "This is generally easier to manage than, say, putting them in a magnetic resonance device, which is really intimidating and anxiety-provoking".

An EEG technique known as EEG microstate analysis can be used to measure the states of the brain at rest, which are representative of its most basic functions and reflect the activity of the large neural networks. "It's an approach that's being used more and more to study the neurobiological correlates of mental pathologies", continues Bochet. "What's more, it's particularly suitable for young children with autism since rest is obviously the simplest task that can be asked of them".

In the Geneva study, this method was used to record the dynamics of the brain states of 113 pre-school children, over half of whom were diagnosed with ASD. The researchers identified five predominant states, as Bochet further explains: "We compared the dynamics of these five states for children with and without an ASD diagnosis by measuring three key variables: the duration of the states, the number of times they appear and their size." One of the five conditions identified appears more frequently and lasts longer in children with ASD. In addition, the order in which the various states appear is different in children with ASD.

Last of all, the team of researchers successfully demonstrated that differences in the dynamics of the brain states existed even within the population of ASD-diagnosed children, and that they were associated with the different symptoms observed clinically. "In concrete terms, we were able to correlate a particular symptom with specific EEG data", adds professor Schaer. "So, what we observe at clinical level via questionnaires or behavioral evaluations is actually linked to specific neurobiological damage".

If replicated this would bring us back to the 1950s diagnosis of brain damaged.


While the term “brain damaged” runs contrary to the ND view of alternative natural difference.

It’s beyond clear that some brain disorders that fall under the ASD spectrum the individual is so cognitively harmed and impaired that it would be difficult to class it any different.

I saw at a autism center I help at yesterday a young non verbal autistic man being shuffled slowly by his parents into a room because his higher functioning younger brother was there. It was clear he was there because his parents didn’t have a carer and im aware he’s very intellectually disabled to top off his problems.

It was a very sad sight to see.

Apart from research for treatments to potentially help him, ND should be campaigning for research to sub divide and categorize the different autism’s.

After all if they are so keen to disassociate themselves from those on the lower more severe end of the spectrum the least they can do is back that up with scientific evidence that Elon musk and the man I mentioned have completely different conditions.


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kraftiekortie
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14 Sep 2021, 8:07 am

When autism is combined with chromosomal disorders, the results tend to be more severe symptoms. There are some nonverbal, intellectually-disabled people who don't have chromosomal disorders, though.

I use the analogy of spinal bifida:

One person has a mole near his tailbone---and that's it.

The other person is confined to a wheelchair for life, and is unaware of his/her own existence.

Both have spinal bifida.



Fenn
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14 Sep 2021, 9:19 am

I keep thinking
"Brain and Brain! What is Brain?!?!"
(At 0:55 in the youtube)


There is a lot we know about the brain. There is a lot we don't know about the brain.
There is a lot we know about the brain and autism. There is a lot we don't know about the brain and autism.

"Brain and Brain! What is Brain?!?!"


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ToughDiamond
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15 Sep 2021, 1:23 am

I wish they'd just call it brain differences rather than brain damage. I know some functions and capabilities are impaired in ASD, but it's not the whole story. I hope they're also doing these brain scans on traits where we have the advantage over NTs, as well as the disadvantageous traits. Sometimes it's hard to say whether a trait is an impairment or a strength. So much depends on the expectations of the particular set of people a person is surrounded by. For example, I'm a slow but thorough learner. Who's to say whether or not my thoroughness and the high-quality results I've achieved are more important than my slow speed? In the world of cut-throat competition and the white heat of capitalist accumulation, I'm too slow and fussy. In the world of science, not so much.



traven
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15 Sep 2021, 1:36 am

in the not so distant future where everyone is legally bound to look at your medical history to decide if you're eligible for servicing, what could go wrong?
would you like your grocer to look at your medical past ? :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


insurance..... ?



















oh no
it can't happen here



carlos55
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15 Sep 2021, 7:49 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
I wish they'd just call it brain differences rather than brain damage. I know some functions and capabilities are impaired in ASD, but it's not the whole story. I hope they're also doing these brain scans on traits where we have the advantage over NTs, as well as the disadvantageous traits. Sometimes it's hard to say whether a trait is an impairment or a strength. So much depends on the expectations of the particular set of people a person is surrounded by. For example, I'm a slow but thorough learner. Who's to say whether or not my thoroughness and the high-quality results I've achieved are more important than my slow speed? In the world of cut-throat competition and the white heat of capitalist accumulation, I'm too slow and fussy. In the world of science, not so much.


There’s a linked YouTube video on this:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rMgXsT8KTWM

It appears that lack of connectivity in autism shows up on this so does markers for ID.

I understand that using the term “ brain damage” may seem harsh however using “difference” is disingenuous to those who are severely impaired.


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ToughDiamond
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16 Sep 2021, 10:15 am

carlos55 wrote:
I understand that using the term “ brain damage” may seem harsh however using “difference” is disingenuous to those who are severely impaired.

Looks like there's no term for it that will meet with everybody's approval then.



Fenn
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16 Sep 2021, 8:52 pm

I believe the correct term is "Drain Blamage"!


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MrsPeel
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17 Sep 2021, 6:03 pm

Having a brain scan test seems like a step forward though, doesn't it?
If it helps avoid the subjectivity of the current diagnostic tests?



ToughDiamond
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17 Sep 2021, 10:56 pm

MrsPeel wrote:
Having a brain scan test seems like a step forward though, doesn't it?
If it helps avoid the subjectivity of the current diagnostic tests?

I think so. The position of the line they draw between ASD and not ASD will still be a debatable matter (perhaps more so than with current tests that take a direct look at how the client is coping in the world), but at least it should be the end of a lot of doubt in many cases. I'd been wondering how they were getting on with the brain-scan test since I first heard they were looking into it quite a few years ago. I hope I'll live to see the day when it's up and running. I'd be interested to see what they found if they scanned my brain.



Fenn
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18 Sep 2021, 9:47 am

All kidding aside there is another thread about brains and Autism, here:

Computers, Math, Science, and Technology - What's the differences between NT Brains and non-NT Brains

Frankly weather you call them "damage" or "injury" or "difference" you cannot ignore the evidence - there are differences.

I am skeptical that some kind of complicated, well meaning existential "authenticity" approach, a kind of complicated "I don't have a problem - YOOOOOOU'VE got a problem!" is really the way to go. At best it will result in more faction-ism and polarization. But I may be wrong - I have been wrong before and I will be wrong again.


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Fenn
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18 Sep 2021, 10:07 am

carlos55 wrote:
There’s a linked YouTube video on this:





This is one of the best discussions of this topic that I have ever seen.

Thanks for sharing this, Carlos55!


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RDOS scores - Aspie score 131/200 - neurotypical score 69/200 - very likely Aspie