Evidence that autism is a brain 'connectivity' disorder

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Electric_Spaghetti
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15 Jan 2010, 11:35 am

pezar wrote:
If they could make a drug that would reverse this condition, and make you NT, would you take it? Would parents be forced to give the drug to their kids once abnormal connectivity was noted, around age 18 months, in order to reduce the "burden" of autism on society? (Remember, once ObamaCare passes we will have bureaucrats making decisions like this.) If you had an ASD kid, and could give him this drug and make him NT, would you do it? What would the world be like without autistic people? Obviously this genetic mutation is beneficial, because if it wasn't it would have disappeared long ago. What happens if we eliminate all genetic difference? What happens if we give an "NT drug" to aspies, and a straight drug to gay kids, and a white drug to black kids, and...


Forced to? Probably not. They wouldn't have to. A guy wearing a white coat and carrying a stethoscope tells a couple they have the choice to either give their kid a drug which will make them normal, or not give the kid the drug in which case the child could be anything from normal to severely autistic. The parents are going to give the kid the drug. Sure the kid might have some kind of autism related gift, and what are today classified as mild ASDs would have dissappeared from the gene pool long ago if affected individuals were unable to adapt acceptably to society, but very few parents are going to run the risk of having a functionally retarded child, or expend the extra effort and cope with the embarrasment of having an unusual child, when a pill or simple procedure can give them a normal one. Parents who do choose to let their children develop normally will recieve little sympathy or support. Their childrens behavioural problems and peculularities will be seen not as the result of an incurable defect but as the result of parental negligence and cruelty, as they are denying their children the right to a normal life. Essentially the autistic community will end up in the same situation that the profoundly deaf community has been in since cochlear implants became the norm. They'll watch their numbers dwindle and their culture die. In the case of autism this may lead to skills shortages in certain fields, but there will still be NTs capable of doing most of the things high functioning autistics currently excel at. Maybe we'll run out of mathematicians, but few people will care. If skills deficits appear which cannot be corrected by automation or by using drugs to develop appropriate capabilities in NTs, there may be some drive to persuade parents to allow autistic children to develop normally, but whether they'll heed this is open to debate. In places where sons are favoured the male:female ratio becomes very skewed when parents get access to ultrasound scans and abortion. The ratio remains skewed even when sex selective abortion is banned. People want their sons to get married but don't want to raise daughters. People in the future will want the artistic, technological and scientific fruits of autism but they won't want to raise or accept autistics.



ruveyn
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15 Jan 2010, 12:02 pm

visagrunt wrote:

Where the bureaucracy can intervene, and where vigilence is necessary, is in decisions about allocation of resources--should this hospital remain open? Should this community mental health care program be shut down? Focus your attention on the real dangers, not the imagined ones.


Aka Rationing.

ruveyn



ducky9924
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15 Jan 2010, 11:18 pm

ruveyn wrote:
visagrunt wrote:

Where the bureaucracy can intervene, and where vigilence is necessary, is in decisions about allocation of resources--should this hospital remain open? Should this community mental health care program be shut down? Focus your attention on the real dangers, not the imagined ones.


Aka Rationing.

ruveyn


Rationing already exists. It's just who do what to do the rationing and on what basis. It's either gunna be by insurance companys or the goverment. Either way it's going to be financially motivated. The trick is to get the financial motivations as close to in line with moral and ethic motivations as possable.

Ie, moving emphasis from emergency care to preventative care and research funding from ongoing Treatments to cures. (The last thing we CURED was Small Pox)



andrew_w
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16 Jan 2010, 2:17 am

pezar wrote:
If they could make a drug that would reverse this condition, and make you NT, would you take it? Would parents be forced to give the drug to their kids once abnormal connectivity was noted, around age 18 months, in order to reduce the "burden" of autism on society? (Remember, once ObamaCare passes we will have bureaucrats making decisions like this.) If you had an ASD kid, and could give him this drug and make him NT, would you do it? What would the world be like without autistic people? Obviously this genetic mutation is beneficial, because if it wasn't it would have disappeared long ago. What happens if we eliminate all genetic difference? What happens if we give an "NT drug" to aspies, and a straight drug to gay kids, and a white drug to black kids, and...


I think that most of the neurotypal features of autism are present from before birth, and unlikely to be modifiable by a drug, unless if that drug was given before birth while the brain is still forming. Even that is rather unlikely to be possible because you would have to be able to prenatally diagnose autism, which would be difficult for two reasons - first, classical/nonsyndromal autism (i.e. the majority of autism) appears to be the result of the interaction of a large set of alleles (with the particular ones involved likely differing between individuals, which makes a reliable genetic test nearly impossible), and second, the neurotypal features resulting from this interaction appear to be rather subtle (which basically rules out any kind of phenotypic test). You'd basically have to give such a drug to everyone prenatally, and I doubt that such a thing would ever happen.



ruveyn
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16 Jan 2010, 7:12 am

ducky9924 wrote:

Ie, moving emphasis from emergency care to preventative care and research funding from ongoing Treatments to cures. (The last thing we CURED was Small Pox)


I like the system where money talks, and lots of money screams out loud.

ruveyn



BlueMage
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16 Jan 2010, 10:17 am

I am not surprised by this, it fits my theory: I think in autistic individuals have less of a filter between the subconscious and conscious mind. I think from the time an autistic person is a baby, they are overwhelmed with sensory and other information, and it is so stressful that they just "shut down" at some point. The connections in the brain are not "hardwired" by DNA, they are shaped by our everyday learning and experiences. If someone is overwhelmed and starts shutting out their experiences, it makes sense it would manifest as a lack of connections in the brain.

Evidence:
- The subconscious mind takes things very literally, people with AS are characterized as taking things too literally.
- The subconscious mind makes very rich and deep associations with things. In autistic people, this lack of filtering manifests as being sensitive to the associations they have with stimuli, and they way autistic people are prone to getting obsessed and having a narrow view of a topic, it's because they naturally see more of the depth in it that in ordinary people would be filtered out by the conscious mind.

I think what autistic people need is not to be cured, but to be put in a supportive and low-stress environment where they can thrive. As the percentage of higher-functioning autistic people in the world continues to increase, the world will become shaped more and more by more conscientious and detail-oriented individuals, the world will become a better, less stressful place for everyone.



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17 Jan 2010, 1:22 pm

I don't wish to be made NT or normal, by any drug. Besides, normal is a setting on a washing machine.

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