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Early Brain Response To Words Predictive For Autism

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the assessing-the-situation dept.

Medicine 182

vinces99 writes "The pattern of brain responses to words in 2-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder predicted the youngsters' linguistic, cognitive and adaptive skills at ages 4 and 6, according to a new study from the University of Washington's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. The findings are among the first to demonstrate that a brain marker can predict future abilities in children with autism."

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182 comments

Nigga! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868541)

It's like a nigga, who's in the hole,
It's like a nigga, he's on the dole!

It's like a nigga, he's fantastic,
It's like a nigga, he's niggatastic!

Rancid assholes! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868557)

Let's talk about rancid assholes! Actually, let's not; actions speak louder than words, after all. Let's have a rancid asshole penetration party! My, my, my! That asshole you have there is... rather rancid, if I do say so myself! How about I shove my fetid cock right into that asshole of yours and then let your feces-infested rectum take care of the rest? What say you?

Still no editors at at Slashdot (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868589)

It's predictive OF cognitive ability FOR autistic children.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | about a year ago | (#43868653)

That slasheadline is completely askew to the article (and the original headline).

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43869329)

Maybe the editors thought it was an article about dyslexia.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43869493)

I don't buy this whole "autism spectrum disorder" thing in the new guidelines anyway. If you take their standards literally, then a very large percentage of people we would consider normal are actually autistic. Pardon me: suffering from "autism spectrum disorder".

Sooner or later, if not checked, this ever-expanding list of "disorders" will eventually include literally everybody. When everybody has a "disorder", then who is normal?

It's these BS "standards" that are unhealthy and need help.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869633)

Nobody is perfect, why shouldn't we categroize small errors as well?

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43869717)

"Nobody is perfect, why shouldn't we categroize small errors as well?"

Because it flies in the face of the very definition of "normal". Calling even the slightest deviation from some arbitrary norm a "disorder" is itself dysfunctional.

We might as well label every vehicle that doesn't get exactly 50 mpg -- whether above or below -- "defective".

Remember there was a time during which homosexuals were routinely sterilized or put in prison because they were not "normal". Hell, even heterosexual oral sex is STILL against the law in some states.

Things like that are the reason why overly-narrowing the definition of "normal", and defining everything else to be a "disorder", is harmful.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (0)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43871813)

Which idiot mod modded this troll? I see not only nothing trollish about it, but actually it's perfectly relevant both to thread and the general topic.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43869739)

Well, why would we expect anyone to be normal?

Also, speaking only for myself and also all the people I have ever known who are autistic: "Autistic" as an adjective is fine, "suffering from autism spectrum disorder" is insulting.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (4, Interesting)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year ago | (#43869877)

As an autistic person, I think that "person first" language is offensive. Saying "person suffering from autism spectrum disorder" implies that autism is not a fundamental part of who I am, but is instead something inhuman that should be removed from me.

No, person-first language is something that parents insist on. These are the same type of parents who post YouTube videos about "what autism is like", when in reality, they've never experienced autism, but instead have only experienced interaction with an autistic person. Autistic people don't suffer from autism. They suffer from other people.

As for whether autism is real, it absolutely is.

I am not a child. I exhibited the symptoms of autism long before the world wide web existed, so I didn't and my parents didn't get a fad diagnosis. We didn't know what it was. Everyone just thought that I was a genius, because of teaching myself to read and do math and memorize large amounts of information and fix things, but most people didn't realize that I had severe sensory issues and overwhelming social cognitive deficits. This is not just normal what people call "shyness" or social anxiety. Throughout my life I have had major issues because, far from trying to handle social situations and failing, there have been a lot of times when I didn't realize that I was supposed to interact, and there have been many types of social interaction that I didn't even have concepts of. When I was very young I was considered absolutely brilliant, but I also did a lot of things completely incorrectly. For example, I attended the wrong classes for a significant part of a school year because I never communicated that I was in the wrong classes, so none of the teachers realized it. I didn't understand that people formed networks with each other or attempted to socialize outside of school. I attended high school and college and never asked anyone for a reference, not because of fear, but because I didn't know that anyone did, and didn't have any concept of why they would.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870039)

I much prefer "person with autism" to "autistic person", in fact I try very hard never to use the adjective "autistic".

I am a person. Autism is something I happen to have, that is not relevant a lot of the time.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (0)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#43870687)

When you have a doctor, with his doctors pay, of course he wants more, like everyone. He augments it with little kickbacks "honorariums" from pharmaceutical companies, which are alright, if you don't tell. So who's gonna tell? Just push the pills from the company that "befriended" you. Oh, here comes a new patient!
Kid's a little thick, let's just pull out the chart and run a few words by him. Hmmm, hell, I dunno,well, o.k., it's autism, just drop your insurance card by the receptionist on your way out. NEXT! Oh of course, this COULDN'T be all doctors, why some of them have scruples, they aren't in it for the money. They're in it because they love vomiting children, puss, hypochondriacs, prostate exams, junkie nurses, etc. They just wanna help mankind.
          Lawyers will break no bones when they are cast into hell. There will already be a doctor there to absorb his impact.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (4, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#43870689)

Actually, turning it from strictly binary to a spectrum is the road to a healthier approach, with the eventual destination being that they are not wrong, as 'disorder' implies, but merely different.

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869883)

Here are your test results.

After reading the headline, your brain didn't react by implicitly correcting the error before it came to your consciousness, but rather drew your attention right to it.
Moreover, your brain attached a disproportionate importance to this detail.

Diagnosis: You are obviously autistic.

SCNR ;-)

Re:Still no editors at at Slashdot (3, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43870199)

Saying X is "a predictor for" Y is common statistics jargon. Just type "a predictor for" into Google and you'll drown in hits.

It will be nice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868619)

When we finally move psychology into the category of "Legitimate Science" and fully ditch the "cram them into categories and when we discover outliers expand those categories" philosophy of the DSM and most of modern psychology.

Apply the same reasoning behind the "autism spectrum" to math and see how far you get. Say the numbers 5 to 24 are the spectrum, isn't it amazing how 4 is not on the spectrum and neither is 25? No? It's just an arbitrary collection of loosely similar numbers you say? And they have little in common other than being composed of the same 10 numbers and being relatively low on the scale on the count to infinity? Apply the autism spectrum to cancer treatment. Lung cancer is and colon cancer are pretty much the same right? No? But how can that be?

Autism is real. The "spectrum" is bullshit. Soon the DSM will be forsaken and real science will guide psychology instead of the amalgam of alchemy and voodoo we see today.

Re:It will be nice (1)

stevedog (1867864) | about a year ago | (#43868735)

I certainly hope the DSM won't be forsaken, because if it is, then no one will have a definitive way to diagnose autism or anything else psychiatric. Using biological markers (i.e., fMRI, structural imaging studies [MRI, CT], etc.) was the original hope for DSM-5 around the time that DSM-IV-TR was completed (2000), but when the time to write DSM-5 came around, there wasn't enough data to define any such markers with any remote degree of validity.

Trust me, most of us (at least those that take insurance) don't get paid much for sitting there trying to figure out what diagnosis someone has (even though some of us, myself included, still enjoy the human side to that interaction and wish it were still present in more of medicine); for many, it would be much easier if we could do like the internists, send you to get an MRI, and get a diagnosis faxed back to us. Tons of researchers are spending tons of money to try to get us to those biomarkers. Jumping the gun and throwing out the current system without a remotely valid one to replace it, however, is not the answer.

Re:It will be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868935)

Jumping the gun and throwing out the current system without a remotely valid one to replace it, however, is not the answer.

No one was suggesting this. OP was clearly talking about the relatively near future where use of bio-markers fully replaces the archaic system of "cramming them into categories". Really OP makes a valid point, present day psychology is a lot more like alchemy than modern day chemistry. A patient can get 30 different diagnoses if he visits 30 different therapists. With the increased use of bio-markers and the phasing out of the DSM we should see much more consistency in psychology.

Re:It will be nice (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43869393)

The point of DSM is to standardize the playbook for the 30 therapists. That way you might get the same diagnosis from all 30, even if they are all equally useless.

Re:It will be nice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870525)

The point of DSM is to standardize the playbook for the 30 therapists. That way you might get the same diagnosis from all 30, even if they are all equally useless.

That's a wonderful thing for insurance company billing procedures and VA disability requests. It is otherwise of little benefit to the patient or use to the clinician.

Re:It will be nice (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43868997)

I suspect that even a nigh-science-fiction breakthrough in robust biological characterization wouldn't free you of the dreaded 'spectrum'.

Even among comparatively well understood and characterized medical problems, where you can run some labs or an MRI or something and get an nice graph and some numbers out, there are very few 'binary' disorders. You might either have a strep infection or not; but the only limit on the detail of the 'strep spectrum' is how much diagnostic detail is worth the effort. In principle, you could count up every last bacterium, rank the more heavily and less heavily colonized patients, classify them according to location(s) of heaviest infection, have subclasses based on efficacy of immune response(possibly even which elements of the immune response are active, and how fast they come online). If that isn't enough, you could even start looking at the (definitely variable from one person to another) genomes of the bacteria. Any special plasmids? Obviously, that isn't worth bothering with, because it'd cost a fucking fortune and(aside from a few basic tests for antibiotic resistance) wouldn't change the proposed treatment.

The odds that a serious perturbation in something as complex as the human neural network wouldn't result in myriad different outcomes, of varying flavor and severity, seems vanishingly unlikely, even if you had arbitrarily good diagnostic tools at your disposal.

Re:It will be nice (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43869323)

Autism is real. The "spectrum" is bullshit.

Another A/C sets the adults straight.

Perhaps 'spectrum' is merely a sign of our ignorance - maybe there are 29 different disorders that we call 'autism spectrum' due to our inability to distinguish them.

OTOH, maybe its something you can have more or less of.

And FYI, autism isn't the only disorder with a spectrum. Some have nothing to do with the brain.

Re:It will be nice (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about a year ago | (#43870105)

As an example, Staph has a spectrum. You can have mild, easily treatable forms on small areas of the skin, or antibiotic resistant forms like any of the MRSA strains on large areas of the skin.

Autism, to much hard work. (-1, Troll)

Chris Marshalk (2928121) | about a year ago | (#43868645)

My boss is autistic. He can't read facial expressions when i'm mad or just sad. Emotional dimwit. Back em up in a truck and dump em in a hole and bury em alive - i say.

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43869009)

Have you considered the hypothesis that your boss considers the emotions of his peons to be irrelevant?

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (-1, Troll)

Chris Marshalk (2928121) | about a year ago | (#43869175)

Yes. I'm aware of this. I'm also aware that my boss has absolutely zero self-awareness on his own awkward bizarre behaviour, body gesture or body movements. He doesn't know how to interact with people. Soulless & emotionless. Don't protect the autistic - they need to be buried alive.

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869471)

I guess somebody's cranky because they haven't shot their requisite dozen kittens today...?

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869647)

Soulless & emotionless. Don't protect the autistic - they need to be buried alive.

As opposed to someone with emotion and soul, who would happily man the earth-mover. I understand that SS guards at concentration camps were particularly soulfull and emotional...

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43869891)

Soulless & emotionless. Don't protect the autistic - they need to be buried alive.

As opposed to someone with emotion and soul, who would happily man the earth-mover. I understand that SS guards at concentration camps were particularly soulfull and emotional...

If you want something to make you feel creepy, find the Wikipedia article about the concentration camp commandant executed by Poland after the war. At Nuremberg, when confronted with the charge of killing three million people, he corrected them by saying, no, he only killed two million - the rest died of disease or starvation. Shortly before his execution he said "people tell me I did something wrong".

It's almost enough to make me believe in souls, because this guy was definitely missing something.

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43870263)

That would be pretty prolific, considering that only 10.4 million people died in concentration and death camps in Europe in the Holocaust. There were also ten or so Polish camps, resulting in quite a few senior-level necks being hung at Nuremberg. Anything else you remember?

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869941)

Given the emotions you display here, you should be glad that your boss is completely ignorant of your emotions. Otherwise you'd probably be out of work quite soon.

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869245)

Have you considered that a Slashdot user with that high a userid number and a FaceBook icon on his post isn't worth giving the time of day?

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (0)

Chris Marshalk (2928121) | about a year ago | (#43869289)

As long as I have you as the audience, i don't care. Don't protect or defend the autistic. They are indeed a weird bunch.

Re:Autism, to much hard work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870037)

Random question - are you talking real autistics? Because if so, you're a horrible person.

If you're talking the ever popular self-diagnosed dweebs here on Slashdot, who are merely socially inept and nothing more - who though their lack of social skills, do not have the 'magical autism powers' they like to believe they do...

Well, sir, let me know where the uprising is going to be. Will torches and pitchforks be provided, or shall we crusaders against stupidity bring our own?

Good News / Bad News (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43868813)

From the original article: The good news:

“We’ve shown that the brain’s indicator of word learning in 2-year-olds already diagnosed with autism predicts their eventual skills on a broad set of cognitive and linguistic abilities and adaptive behaviors,” said lead author Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

In other words, they can tell you a lot about your kid's future based on this one test.
The bad news:

“This is true four years after the initial test, and regardless of the type of autism treatment the children received,” she said.

In other words, the autism treatments don't work.

Re:Good News / Bad News (4, Funny)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#43868917)

>>âoeThis is true four years after the initial test, and regardless of the type of autism treatment the children received,â she said.
> In other words, the autism treatments don't work.

This is incorrect thinking. Autism is NOT something to be "cured."

It is a DIFFERENT way of THINKING. See the movie "Temple Grandin" if you want to understand how Asperger's / Austistic children see the world.

Didn't we just see something like this on /. recently?
http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/05/silicon-valley-coders-and-autism-and-asperbergers-maybe-its-a-new-kind-of-design-thinking/ [wired.com]

Re:Good News / Bad News (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868977)

Fuck yourself. I have a nephew who will never lead an independent life because of autism and another who could live on his own but it would be a great difficulty for him and those around him. You or someone you know may have a form of autism that you find acceptable for every day life but everyone with autism isn't like that.
 
You take a ton of offense at someone calling it a cure but you never consider what that cure might mean to others.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Chris Marshalk (2928121) | about a year ago | (#43869209)

Autism is, after all, a Mental Disorder.

Re:Good News / Bad News (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869217)

But it's still not really a 'cure', just like making someone who previously enjoyed sports dislike sports is not a 'cure'. Sure, some people may want the 'treatment', but to say that a person objectively needs to be cured because they think differently is just arrogant.

Re:Good News / Bad News (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869531)

Treatment for autism isn't a cure because nobody knows how to cure the disorder, but many people with autism certainly would like to be cured instead of painstakingly learning methods that help them mitigate the problems caused by their "different way of thinking". With all the hype around Asperger's Syndrome and other high functioning autism spectrum disorders, it's easy to forget that the few who despite their affliction manage to shine don't make the lives of the many easier.

The antics of Sheldon Cooper are funny on TV, but if you take away the exceptional mental performance, then the social impediment causes real world Sheldon Coopers a lot of suffering, not because the world doesn't want to adapt to autism, but because social interactions are actually necessary and important. Unless you can bring that fabled "beautiful mind" stuff to the table, who's going to afford the time and stress to deal with someone who needs everything spelt out to them because facial cues and other normal aspects of social interaction are an enigma to them? Autism may in some rare cases enable new insights, but it comes at a cost, and that cost is crippling more often than not.

Re:Good News / Bad News (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869811)

Ugh, you've clearly never met someone with severe autism. The GP, who you nitwits have modded troll, has, and so have I. Some of them can't speak at all, nor can they understand speech. They can't understand tone of voice or facial expressions either. For them, it's as if they are trapped in a world of inscrutable aliens. They're easily overwhelmed by human interaction or even non-human stimuli, and react by going into a semi-catatonic state of rocking back and forth, or worse, by hitting themselves or bashing their head against a wall. They are completely incapable of leading anything resembling a normal life, and become a burden to their loved ones. They absolutely need a cure, and it is nothing like your frankly insulting sports analogy.

But the internet is full of socially awkward young men who self-diagnose as high-functioning autistics. This lets them explain away their awkwardness while pretending they have super intelligence. And so, without ever having met one of the millions of people with severe autism (how could they, since those people normally don't leave their caretaker's home?), they declare that autism is a good thing and shouldn't be cured. Fuck every last one of those twits.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | about a year ago | (#43869905)

++

mod parent up please!

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870515)

Yes, dammit! Mod grandparent up a lot. Those fucking twits need to be put in their place.

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870803)

Poisoned in the womb. Test the mother.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#43870807)

Let's run with your 'inscrutable aliens' analogy. If you accidentally transported a human aboard a Tamarian ship, the human would undoubtedly suffer. Likely, it would be on about the same scale, especially if they didn't conveniently throw English words in. However, the solution isn't to try and force the human into the Tamarian mindset, but rather, to bridge communications both ways. Understanding how to communicate with autistics and how to get autistics to better communicate with others is the solution. Another concern is that a number of those that are totally incapable of coping have other issues that are not being autistic. Being autistic compounds the extent of these issues though because of the aforementioned failures in fruitful communication.

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870937)

My mother has spent her life working with autims child and adult. Functionning autistics are a minority. The rest of them are to spend their life in special house, unable to take a bath or to eat alone. Can't stand other poeple arounf them and they sure hit themselves , a lot.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#43870767)

He's not saying that people with autism don't face problems, he's correctly identifying the issue at hand. The problem lies with how the world is structured for people who are different from them, and that the preferred means of coping with is typically to have them do their best job at emulating people who are different. It's like forcing left handed people to write right handed.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43871509)

No, the problem is NOT how the world is structured. It is that autistic people are disabled with a brain disorder we can't fix, and the "treatments" are, to date, largely ineffective at helping them deal with their disability. But there are plenty of people who are out there selling snake oil to their desperate parents.

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869011)

It is a different way of thinking, and as long as it doesn't prevent you from living a normal life, then you're fine and don't need any treatment. However, when it gets to the point of truly being a disability that causes you not to live a normal/happy life, then it's a problem and should be treated (treated by teaching coping strategies). I don't however expect a cure because the difference appears to be too fundamental to how the brain is structured.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Jockle (2934767) | about a year ago | (#43869221)

and as long as it doesn't prevent you from living a normal life

"normal"? So failing to live the same way most people live is wrong?

However, when it gets to the point of truly being a disability that causes you not to live a normal/happy life

I'm going to assume you just meant 'a happy life' up there.

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869399)

No, I absolutely do mean to use the word "normal". In cases where autism is so severe that you can't take care of yourself, then it absolutely is an issue.

Granted, there are plenty of autistic folks that do just fine, and as previously pointed out, there are plenty of them in the software industry. I've met them, and they're just as talented as any other programmer, if not more so. I wouldn't wish to force treatment on those folks because they seem to be doing quite well on their own.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Jockle (2934767) | about a year ago | (#43869513)

No, I absolutely do mean to use the word "normal". In cases where autism is so severe that you can't take care of yourself, then it absolutely is an issue.

Whether it's an issue or not is subjective.

Re:Good News / Bad News (3, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#43869405)

"normal"? So failing to live the same way most people live is wrong?

Oh please. People with severe autism are highly dependent on others for day-to-day care throughout their entires lives. (Of course the person above confused the whole issue by saying "Asperger's / Autism" as if we were just talking about being a bit geeky.) Here [youtube.com] is what it is, not feel-good stories about mild cases.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Jockle (2934767) | about a year ago | (#43869507)

People with severe autism are highly dependent on others for day-to-day care throughout their entires lives.

Alright, but my point was that there is no way to say that that's an objectively wrong way to live.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869605)

I disagree. Normal is the majority (which is what makes it normal) because it works. As a group of people, we value the insights and chances that are created by the outliers, but a society formed by just these outliers could not survive. If autism were a choice, then we'd discourage it.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1, Funny)

hammyhew (2729501) | about a year ago | (#43871887)

I disagree. Normal is the majority (which is what makes it normal) because it works [for survival].

Whether or not survival is important is subjective.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43869749)

So, if we find an example of a non-autistic person who's highly social and totally dysfunctional, should we claim that this is an example of "severe" non-autism, and therefore we should be trying to cure all non-autistics of their horrible condition?

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869297)

I'm fed up with this stupid political correctness. Yes, autism is a disorder. It's a disability. It's a very sad problem, and I hope a cure will someday be found.
Yes, autism is a different way of thinking. So is schizophrenia. Different isn't necessarily good.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43869835)

But different isn't necessarily bad, either.

How about instead of trying to eradicate people who aren't like you, you let them be?

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43871271)

But different isn't necessarily bad, either.

A statement so broad and obvious it's meaningless.

How about instead of trying to eradicate people who aren't like you, you let them be?

If I could "eradicate" amputees by giving them new limbs I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Re:Good News / Bad News (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869913)

I've seen the Temple Grandin movie, and it's spectacular. However, it is about a very high-functioning form of autism.

My autistic cousin is not the high-functioning type. He can't speak, dress himself, or probably even use a toilet without assistance. He can't go out in public very often because he's prone to the kind of outbursts that would be excusable for a 2-year-old, but are likely to get a 30-year-old man like him arrested.

His parents love him very much and are glad that they had him, regardless of his many challenges. However, he is an only child and they had him rather late in life. If won't be long before they're physically unable to care for him, or simply die. And what then?

As a ward of the state, he will be much less useful to society than if he were "cured".

What if we were talking about sociopaths? Would you say that it's just a different way of thinking that doesn't need to be cured? Perhaps you'd suggest that they have a useful place in society as politicians, completely ignoring the fact that some of them become serial killers (and that maybe society would be better off in general if we didn't have sociopathic leaders).

dom

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43871277)

Mod parent up. +5

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43871295)

Quoting in full because it shouldn't linger at a score 0 and I have no mod points today.

I've seen the Temple Grandin movie, and it's spectacular. However, it is about a very high-functioning form of autism. My autistic cousin is not the high-functioning type. He can't speak, dress himself, or probably even use a toilet without assistance. He can't go out in public very often because he's prone to the kind of outbursts that would be excusable for a 2-year-old, but are likely to get a 30-year-old man like him arrested. His parents love him very much and are glad that they had him, regardless of his many challenges. However, he is an only child and they had him rather late in life. If won't be long before they're physically unable to care for him, or simply die. And what then? As a ward of the state, he will be much less useful to society than if he were "cured". What if we were talking about sociopaths? Would you say that it's just a different way of thinking that doesn't need to be cured? Perhaps you'd suggest that they have a useful place in society as politicians, completely ignoring the fact that some of them become serial killers (and that maybe society would be better off in general if we didn't have sociopathic leaders). dom

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870513)

Just like being born deaf is a "different way of sensing".

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43868933)

That the current methods don't work is disappointing; but(given how arduous, time-consuming, and expensive they are for the families and patients) having a robust early test whose results strongly suggest that they don't work does represent progress.

Unless you go for the real lunatic fringe, who are shooting kids full of lupron, chelating them to hell and back, and who knows what else, most autism treatment is harmless enough; but very, very, time-intensive.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43871423)

That the current methods don't work is disappointing

The article certainly doesn't say that, and it's not true. The current methods are very time intensive and they don't work nearly as well as one would hope, but they do help. I've seen my nephew improve because of these treatments. Unfortunately he is still severely autistic and will never lead an independent, but for someone who has serious difficulties like him, even small things can help tremendously. Imagine not even being able to tell people what you want. He can at least do that now, albeit in rudimentary knowledge. For example, he can say he wants a hamburger instead of a hot dog (instead of throwing a fit because you can't communicate what you want - try it), or that you need to use the bathroom (hence find one in a public place), or any number of small things that most people take for granted being able to communicate, makes a dramatic difference.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868963)

“This is true four years after the initial test, and regardless of the type of autism treatment the children received,” she said.

In other words, the autism treatments don't work.

Or they just don't show tangible results between the ages of two and six?

For every reasonable conclusion, there's always a sensationalist headline. Let's just take a step back and look at the facts here.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43871465)

In other words, the autism treatments don't work.

No. RTFA. It's not an article about treatment, but it says no such thing. "The children with autism received intensive treatment and, as a group, they improved on the behavioral tests over time.". The OP is guilty of binary thinking. They don't cure, but they do help.

Re:Good News / Bad News (4, Insightful)

F'Nok (226987) | about a year ago | (#43869067)

Which is pretty much what many adult autistics have been saying for quite a while now.

Autism itself isn't something you can cure, nor would most autistics want you to attempt to do so.

The current interventionist 'treatments' are all based on the idea that autistics lack something that non-autistics possess and that they can attempt to change that with treatment.

The reality is that autistics are simply wired differently, and many things that are intuitive to non-autistics are difficult for autistics. Trying to teach such people to see the world the way non-autistics do is like trying to teach colour blind people to understand the nuances of colours. It's misguided and of course is ineffective because it ignores the actual fundamental differences in autistics.

Most autistics can learn to navigate the non-autistic world and the social expectations of it, but that skill does not come from trying to change them, but by teaching them how they vary from others so they can appropriate respond to those others in a way they will understand, and communicate these differences where they matter.

What this all fails to address however, is if people communicate with these children in an autistic friendly way, and teach them directly about how others vary from them, do the outcomes change? From (admittedly anecdotal) reports I've seen, it does.
The only way to improve these outcomes is to throw out the idea that we can fix autistics and start to accept the idea that it's natural variation and as acceptance and understanding of this grows, negative outcomes will reduce.

Disclaimer: I am an autistic adult, and I do not want or believe in any cures.

Re:Good News / Bad News (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869201)

I would very much agree with you. Being somewhat autistic myself, the best treatment to fit in was simply learning a bit more about the differences between autistic and non autistic people.
Everybody needs to adapt behavior whenever they are with people different than themselves, you don't act the same around your bos as you do around your friends. The same is true for autistic people (exception being those that really can't work alone). We can adapt our behavior to better fit in with no autistic people, but we have to learn what the difference is between autistic and non autistic people, which for some possibly comes natural and for others does not.

Re:Good News / Bad News (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43869361)

Autism itself isn't something you can cure, nor would most autistics want you to attempt to do so.

In addition to the usual "I wouldn't be me anymore", I would add "I (literally) wouldn't know how to act - I've spent my whole life learning to adapt to the way I am".

A year or two ago I asked a doctor whether there was any reason to even get it diagnosed in an adult, and his answer was that maybe it would help you get hooked up with a support group. As a (presumed) autistic adult, I found that to be a very strange notion... joining clubs isn't something that comes naturally for us, nor do most of us care to, once we've outgrown thinking we should try to be like everyone else.

Re:Good News / Bad News (2)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43869759)

I've found that it's extremely useful just to have a word for it, because people are a lot less annoying about "I'd rather use email than phone, I'm autistic" than they are about "I'd rather use email than phone".

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#43871443)

I'm in the same boat as you. I'm a "presumed autistic adult." In my case presumed because my son was diagnosed with Asperger's/High Functioning Autism. As we read up on it, I realized I exhibit all the signs. All my life I felt like everyone else had gotten the Great Big Guide To Social Situations and nobody gave me a copy. I had to struggle to figure things out and make some pretty embarrassing mistakes along the way. The usual stereotype of Aspie's being anti-social is wrong. Aspie's WANT to be social but don't know HOW. And, when being social carries a high level of anxiety over making a mistake (not to mention such things as sensory overload from crowds of people having dozens of conversations at once), it can be much easier to retreat to the comfort of social isolation.

As far as cures go, yes it is a burden at times, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. When it comes to people with "low functioning Autism" (for lack of a better term), a better understanding of Autism might result in better therapies to help these people cope and function better. It wouldn't be a cure per-se. No shot in the arm and the autism is gone. Instead, it would be a process of identifying people like this early on and helping them quickly. The more help they get, the better they can function.

Re:Good News / Bad News (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869423)

You are making the erroneous assumption that all autistic individuals are high functioning. This is not the case. Some people with autism need intensive interventions to simply function at a level where they can take care of themselves. High functioning individuals may also desire treatment in order to better integrate in society, but that is more a matter of choice since many of them can find their own place in society or develop coping mechanisms.

Re:Good News / Bad News (2)

F'Nok (226987) | about a year ago | (#43869615)

You are making the deeply flawed assumption that just because I can communicate I must be 'high functioning'.

Everything about functioning labels is wrong, it undervalues the functioning of people that can't communicate well, and under appreciates the functional challenges 'high functioning' people frequently have.
There's a reason that these distinctions are removed from the DSM-5, because no matter how many times they tried, they actually couldn't find a consistent way to judge people as high or low functioning.

In reality, functional labels seem to only get used to dismiss the opinion of those that can communicate:
ie, "well you're not like those people that can't communicate, you're high functioning so you can't understand how they feel.
The ironic undertone in that attitude is that the person saying it always makes the assumption that they must therefore understand the supposed low functioning people better.
It's the most glaring example of paternalism in psychology that exists.

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869729)

Suppose you were illiterate. The world is full of words, but to you they're just patterns which carry no more meaning than the lines between the bricks of a wall. Perhaps you would have a heightened sense of orientation, simply because you wouldn't be able to navigate this world if you had not. Other than that, you're fine. No physical handicaps or anything. You see colors, you hear and talk, your intelligence is average. Would not being able to use written communication be a problem for you? Would it be a problem for the people around you? What if your illiteracy extended to pictograms? If you've found a way to deal with the effects of your disorder, maybe you would find a way to deal with severe illiteracy as well. Maybe you wouldn't. Either way it would be foolish to not see it as a disorder or to expect most people to be able to cope on their own. Some people would not take a cure if one were available, but many would, and in the absence of a cure, many people need help coping. You appear to have found your own way, and that is nice, but many people seek treatment because they're suffering, not to make the doctors rich.

Re:Good News / Bad News (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869843)

No, no, no, NO, NO!

This entire thread is fucking disgusting. You haven't met people with severe autism. I have. I've worked in a classroom for them. They have a severe and debilitating disability, which they can overcome through special education and extreme effort, both on their part, and on the part of their caretakers. Pretending that they're happy the way they are and we should just ... what? let them live their lives incapable of human interaction? ... is just sick.

Would you say we should let the handicapped crawl, rather than teach them to use wheelchairs? Would you say we should let the blind stumble about, rather than teach them to use canes or seeing eye dogs? Then why the FUCK are you saying we should leave autistic people to their fate, rather than teach them how to cope with their disability? Because giving people the tools to survive in human society is paternalistic?

This website gets worse every year. Bold, confidently-stated bullshit gets modded up over facts every time.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1, Funny)

F'Nok (226987) | about a year ago | (#43870045)

So yet again, someone that is not autistic is telling someone that is autistic that you know better about autism.
That IS paternalism.

I have yet to see a single case of "severe and debilitating disability" caused purely by autism.
The people you are talking about usually have one of many severe debilitating conditions that are not autism in addition to being autistic, and yet people like you go around saying that their problem is they are autistic.

If someone has an intellectual disability AND autism, then the reason they cannot function is because they have an intellectual disability. If someone had an intellectual disability and happened to be black or female, we wouldn't go around saying, "Oh it's because they're a woman", or "it's because they are black"
It's because they're intellectually disabled as well.

When you look at autistic people you need to understand that autistics are like everyone else in their capacity to have other problems that are not autism.
This is compounded by the fact that statistically autistics are more likely to have a co-morbid issue, so people mistaken conflate the symptoms of these co-morbid issues with autism itself. There's probably some good research to be done to find out what it is about autistics that makes the more susceptible or more likely to developed these other conditions that CAN be debilitating.

Thinking that this is autism though is wrong-headed and actually leads to inappropriate treatments being given to autistics, and often to people with other severe problems not being given appropriate assistance because the people around them think it's all about autism.

Intellectual disability is not autism, but can happen in people that are autistic - there's likely an increased incidence as well.

Just because the sample of autistics YOU have met happened to be intellectually disabled, and couldn't function on their own doesn't mean that those traits are the fault of autism, or even common. The vast majority of autistics are NOT intellectually disabled.
Heck the rate of variance in sexual orientation and gender identity is more than four times higher in autistics, why aren't we blaming autism for people being gay now too?

This is the same fallacy that leads someone that met a couple black people that happened to be criminals to conclude that all black people are criminals. We'd readily identify that fallacy as both wrong headed, and racist.

So please recognise that the way you are viewing autism is exactly like that.
It's wrong. Trying to dismiss my opinion (as an autistic, that other than intellect could be considered fairly 'severe' on the spectrum) by saying I have not met people with 'severe' autism says several things that you can't reasonably claim.

1. That I have not met people with what YOU call 'severe autism'. I have met many, probably many more than you as an autistic self-advocate.
2. That you are making an assumption about my functionality purely on the basis that I am capable of talking for myself. Facilitated communication has been proving that non-verbal autistics can communicate perfectly well with non-verbal tools. Such as by typing!
3. That you as a non-autistic know more about autism that I do, as an autistic.

I couldn't find a more textbook example of inappropriate paternalism if I tried.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paternalism [wikipedia.org]

Paternalism (or parentalism) is behavior, by a person, organization or state, which limits some person or group's liberty or autonomy for their own good. Paternalism can also imply that the behavior is against or regardless of the will of a person, or also that the behavior expresses an attitude of superiority.

When autistic adults are saying this attitude and view of autism is harmful to autistics and you need to find excuses to dismiss our views, that's what is disgusting.

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870195)

Note that the GP may lack the empathy to understand your point, as he argues from a purely "logical" perspective: He's different, but he copes and doesn't feel "wrong", yet some people would still want to "cure" him. That's a contradiction, so their desire to change him must be wrong, and if it is wrong to cure his autism, then the motivation for trying to cure autism must be wrong as well.

In other words, you're trying to explain to a colorblind person why putting red dots on blue wallpaper is wrong, not just different.

Re:Good News / Bad News (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869665)

My son is an aspy - who is very, very bright. He is seeing an Occupational Therapist who had these wise words ... "the positive thing about your son's empathy is he doesn't give a shit about what anyone thinks about him". The conversation was around my son's "lack" of empathy.

The only issue I have with his lack of empathy is his engagement of others. If he doesn't like you, he may just king-hit you if you annoy him ... regardless of how big you are. His much bigger brother has been the victim quite a few times.

Note: this is not typical of all aspys. You have the fighters and the flighters.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43869987)

My son is an aspy - who is very, very bright. He is seeing an Occupational Therapist who had these wise words ... "the positive thing about your son's empathy is he doesn't give a shit about what anyone thinks about him". The conversation was around my son's "lack" of empathy.

I wonder how autism correlates (or, I would guess, anti-correlates) with socially mediated behavior like religion, affiliation with a political party, love of sports, substance abuse, etc.

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870283)

I wonder how autism correlates (or, I would guess, anti-correlates) with socially mediated behavior like religion, affiliation with a political party, love of sports, substance abuse, etc.

Difficult one. 1) some people with autism have a tendency to believe everything people tell them at face value, e.g. they have little or no concept of people having other agendas (politics, religion, etc). On the other hand, they sometimes also have an uncanny ability to cut right to the chase, only considering objective evidence with little priority for subjective impressions (e.g. "that politician is campaigning for the complete opposite, compared to when he was in office => he's a lying d-bag" ).

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#43871501)

My son is an Aspie and has trouble with lying. In that he can't. He tries from time to time, but is horrible at it. Plus, if pressed, he'll fold quickly. Lying just isn't something that tends to come naturally to many Aspies - myself included. For example, when trading in my last car, the dealer asked me why I was trading it in. I said that I thought it had a bad transmission. In truth, we did think that, but it could have been any number of things and the car was so old that we just decided to get a new one. But I blurted out the "bad transmission" without any consideration to how that would be taken. It was just the truth. It was only afterward that I realized that saying that probably lowered my trade-in value.

Just as Aspie's often can't lie, we'll frequently act as though everyone else acts the same way. (Thus "taking people at face value.") Add in an inability to recognize sarcasm and you can see how navigating certain social situations can be difficult.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | about a year ago | (#43870611)

So, basically, this is a spiritual continuation of "let's teach those fiendish left-handed kids to be right-handed instead."

Thank you for your insightful post. I had no idea what autism really was about up until now.

Re:Good News / Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43871263)

many adult autistics have been saying for quite a while now.

You're talking about the high-functioning austistic adults. Most autistic adults don't talk, or just say "AAAAAAH AAAAA AAAAAAIH" while rocking. If they understood the concept of a cure, they'd want one.

Re:Good News / Bad News (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43871547)

Autism itself isn't something you can cure, nor would most autistics want you to attempt to do so.

Since you're making clear and expressive posts here, you are obviously a very high functioning autistic person. Since you can say you don't want it, it's obvious that it would be beyond unethical to "cure" you (assuming there was a cure). Nor can I see any reason that it would be necessary or even desirable. That is not even close to the same situation as with low functioning autistic people.

Re: Disorder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43871785)

The term 'Disorder' would be more appropriately applied to those without high functioning autism tbh (I don't just mean those on the spectrum)

Back in sparta. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869033)

We just use to through autistic people off the tops of mountains.

Re:Back in sparta. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43869295)

We just use to through autistic people off the tops of mountains.

Watt did you due to people who make word-choice arrows?

Re:Back in sparta. (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about a year ago | (#43870675)

Allow me to play doubles advocate here for a moment. For all intensive purposes I think you are wrong.
In an age where false morals are a diamond dozen, true virtues are a blessing in the skies. We often put our false morality on a petal stool like a bunch of pre-Madonnas, but you all seem to be taking something very valuable for granite. So I ask of you to mustard up all the strength you can because it is a doggy dog world out there. Although there is some merit to what you are saying it seems like you have a huge ship on your shoulder. In your argument you seem to throw everything in but the kids Nsync, and even though you are having a feel day with this I am here to bring you back into reality. I have a sick sense when it comes to these types of things. It is almost spooky, because I cannot turn a blonde eye to these glaring flaws in your rhetoric. I have zero taller ants when it comes to people spouting out hate in the name of moral righteousness. You just need to remember what comes around is all around, and when supply and command fails you will be the first to go. If you don't tow the line you'll never hone in on the truth. Gorilla warfare will be used against you if you don't agree!

Unsure of the original author of that.

The magic word is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869333)

MINECRAFT! MINECRAFT! MY LITTLE PONY! MINECRAFT!

"Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING."

Ok shithead.

BULLSHIT!!! (0, Flamebait)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#43869371)

How can "pattern of brain responses to words" (whatever that means) at age 2 possibly have anything to do with whether the parents give their kid autism by vaccinating it???

Re:BULLSHIT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869979)

Well, given that the number of autisms due to vaccination is exactly zero, there's of course no correlation to patterns of brain responses to words. But the real occurring forms of autism may very well show such a correlation. After all, autism is about the way the brain works (differently than for non-autistic people).

So... (1)

caspy7 (117545) | about a year ago | (#43869409)

Are there any brain scans to confirm autism in mildly-autistic adults?

Re:So... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43869999)

There's an on-line "Autism Quotient" test that you should be able to find with a search engine.

Like other self-administered tests, I wouldn't consider it diagnostic, but perhaps is has some use as "suggestive".

Re:So... (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#43871521)

Here's the test from Wired.com: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aqtest.html

I scored a 36 where "eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher." For comparison purposes, my wife (who is not on the spectrum) took the test and scored a 10.

Methodological problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870081)

Did anyone read the reviewers' (plural) comments on this paper? These comments are from the original reviewers, claiming that they pointed out serious methodological flaws in their reviews, yet PLoS editors decided to publish anyway. The flaws include a lack of differentiation in the control group and lack of predictive power in the autism group. The first comment suggests that there is an element of Texan sharpshooting - draw the target around the bullet-holes, after starting with so many measures that SOMETHING was bound to turn up significant. There might be, statistically, something interesting in the data. It might not be what the authors wrote.

http://www.plosone.org/article/comments/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0064967

Getting hit by a bus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43870489)

Is about repair and recovery. Can any of you blathering fucktards here on slashdot explain the many thousands of kids that come out of the womb with an apgar of 9, hit all there milestones between 6months-2 like walking, first words, reaching, pointing, good eye contact, empathy,etc. Then they spin horribly down into autistic symptoms just a few weeks or months after some vaccinations? Or how about the thousands of those same kids that are recovered through biomedical treatments after that spiral to be nearly indistinguishable from their peers? I hope all of you that are slurping down the shit that the establishment is feeding everyone about "Autism" come down with some incurable painful form of cancer and then rot in hell!!!

Baby Einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43871377)

What's the correlation between autism and Baby Einstein?
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