Wednesday, December 23, 2009

10 things I think I think

I borrowed this format from Professor Bainbridge, who I think got it from a Sports Illustrated columnist. Anyhow, I like the format.

10 things I think I think

1. Many children on the fringes of autism are orchid children, as described by the Drs. Eide and this article. I.e., they have a unique sensitivity to their environment, but will thrive if they have a "supermom," as the article explains.

2. I suspect the increase in autism rates may be related to an increase in "discords" in our society -- features of our culture that are poor fits for our biology. As Professor Grinde explains, increasingly, more of us are like zoo animals kept in a habitat not well suited to our species.

3. I suspect that sensory processing disorder can lead to autism, because our minds are nothing BUT sensory perceptions and memories of sensory perceptions. If you have never had any sensory perceptions, upon what would you build a consciousness?

4. I don't think it's a coincidence that high numbers of deaf and blind children have autism. I realize it is probably not exactly a causal relationship there, but still.

5. I think that there are ways in which it is almost as if my son is partially deaf and blind, even if his organs are functioning. (And of course deficient in other sensory perceptions as well.)

6. I suspect that the multitude of autism interventions all have a few core things in common that explain their success, and that a critical piece of it is that they all do something to address issues with selective attention.

7. I suspect that to "learn something" -- i.e., to make a memory -- you have to have 2 things linked to together, but they have to be coincident in time somehow. Coincident in time as YOU experience it. It's like there is a "console," and the 2 things must manage to show up on that console together, at the same time, so they can be stored as a chunk. If you're pavlov's dog, it's a bell and ... I dunno, the smell of food? The tate of food? satiation? But if they don't make it into the console at the same time, there's no link, no memory, no "learning."

8. I think/suspect/wonder/plan to investigate: if your gamma waves are off, then signals from different neurons are no longer coordinated properly in TIME, so that things don't show up in the console together. And some of them never show up in the console, because they get lost in that moment when we fall out of consciousness (which for a typical person is supposedly a half a second; for an autistic person, query how long that is?). I.e., Pavlov's dog never heard the bell, or maybe he heard it 30 minutes before he ate.

9. I suspect there is not so great a difference, if indeed there is any, between the most simple conditioning (i.e., pavlov's dog) and what ultimately becomes our most complex thoughts. I think we start with simple associations, and they grow and grow and grow. exponentially.

10. I think meditation enhances gamma waves because it improves selective attention, and autistic people have weak gamma waves and poor selective attention because ... well, which came first? the chicken or the egg ...

OK, I guess I can't stop at just 10 ....

11. I think the gamma-wave issue means that autistic individuals are LITERALLY out of synch, as in their neurons are not being coordinated in the rhythical, timed manner that enables the accurate perception of the universe.

12. You have to have an accurate (more or less) perception of the universe to build abstract representations of it and upon it.

13. This gamma wave business has something to do with inhibitory neurons, and I think they may influence not only the ability to filter out background "noise" in sensory perceptions (i.e., enable selective attention) but also impulse control.

14. I believe, because I have to, that the Drs. Eide are right that impulse control can be taught, learned, practiced, and that inhibitory neurons can be exercised and strengthened. I think that's what meditators are doing.

15. I think that it could be extremely important to know how this mechanism got off in the first place, because there is obviously a physical component going on here, and it it could be any one of hundreds of things. Chemical things. As in ...

16. I think it's time to see a neurologist. And a DAN! doctor.


  1. The only broad consensus on causation is that it's not "simple genetic" cause, except with respect to Fragile X (which some don't regard as autism). So yes, there is another component, environmental or otherwise. But as many mainstream scientists point out, there is no evidence to support a mercury autism link. There are in fact several studies disproving such link. The guts aren't leaking into the brain! As mainstream scientists point out, it could easily be a different environmental cause, something in our diet, something missing from our diet, anything. That's the deflating part - there aren't enough resources in the world to determine what that "other thing" is. There are thousands, millions of hypotheses that would need be tested. And that's why the research on causation often focuses on the complex genetics and other things that we can actually get at. Some mainstream research gets at external cause. I know that's not satisfying, and I think that's in part why DAN thrives - mainstream doesn't serve up easy answers. But it's not the fault of mainstream science. It's because easy answers can't be had. And some one who tries to sell you an easy answer is, in my view, a charlatan.

  2. I don't disagree with anything you just said. But ... do you think all DAN! doctors are selling easy answers? I guess I don't know enough about that, but I am thinking that having someone running a large number of tests on endocrine, nutrition, etc. would be helpful. And I don't think any conventional doctors will do it. I can't even get them to spend more than 5 minutes with us. I was referred to an ENT by 2 other doctors for a swallow study and after a 30 second inspection of my sons throat and ears refused to do it and referred me to a GI doctor to have the swallow study done, and then billed me for hundreds of dollars. I NEED one stop shopping. But really, I just want someone to run some basic tests, but no one else will do it. I certainly will NOT be chelating my child or anything weird like that. At least, I have no present intention to do anything of the sort. I just want someone to actually spend the time to do some listening and investigating. There is a DAN! doctor here who is a developmental pediatrician with the MD, the residency, the fellowship, all that. So I figure it won't hurt.

  3. This is such a polarizing issue, and I should censor myself for that reason. Yet I can't. You should do what you think is best. It's easy for me to dismiss a lot of this stuff because my mainstream devlopmental pedi did a full metabolic work up. Brad peed in a bag - the whole nine yards. The practice I take Brad to conducts public lectures about the "whole body" approach. That's not quackery. Brad just doesn't have any abnormal indications. So in a sense, I have turned over that stone and nothing was there. So I don't fault you at all for wanting to turn over that stone. I would want the same thing.

    Given your position, no doubt you're aware of how corrupt corporations can be. Well lab companies are no different. If you have your son tested for heavy metals, please keep in mind that the lab test may distort the results. See link:

  4. thanks, I hope you know by now that I never want you to censure yourself!! holy cow, you can't offend me, plus I like to hear what you think. yes, I'm totaly with you on the heavy metal stuff, and I do know about the lab testing issue for sure. I don't believe in the mercury stuff. Do you think all the DAN! doctors are into that? The developmental pedi we went to didn't do crap except crush me and charge me $1,000 for it, so yeah, I really just want him to pee into that bag. Also, I don't really believe that all the DAN! doctors are alike. But I can't count on anyone else I go to even having him pee into the bag ... I'll wait 3 months for an appointment spend all day getting there and hanging out in their waiting room catching God knows what, they'll spend 15 minutes with us and not run any tests. I wouldn't go to just any DAN! doctor, but I do want all those metabolic tests done. And I want them done right. I think a lot of them are probably BS because you can't tell anything unless you do it at the right time of day and under the right circumstances. I raised a concern about seizures because I have an uncle with epilepsy and they did 1 EEG and the doctor acted like that proved my son never has seizures, which of course is completely untrue. I have the advantage or maybe disadvantage that my mother is a psychiatrist, so I probably know more than is good for me. And one thing I do know is that you can't tell if someone is having seizures by doing one random EEG, because that tells you nothing except whether the person had a seizure at that moment. I get so disgusted with the BS so many conventional practitioners spew. Not that the alternative people are any better, God knows. Just ... well, I think you just can't trust ANYBODY. I don't. Nobody yet, anyway. Not even my own mother. Isn't that sad?

  5. It is a polarising issue. I argue with myself over it all the time. I now have to get a doctor to sign a form saying I choose not to have my kids immunized. I am unconvinced of either side, but have finished their vaccinations due to my sons reaction to the MMR, which was to have high temps and go all floppy and lifeless. The reaction was within half an hour, so not due to measles in the gut, or mercury in the brain, or whatever, but his body didn't like it, and it scared the crap out of me. All the arguments sound convincing, but they all have vested interests in being right. I am a bit of a geek, introverted and have food sensitivities. I think that makes my gene pool suspect. I believe it is oversimplified to think one answer will fit all children. I follow my gut, because going against it would be harder.

  6. that should be NOT finished their vaccinations. woops :)

  7. Karyn, thanks for sharing your experience. I don't think you are the only one to have observed something like that. It's interesting that you have food sensitivies, because I just read a couple of days ago that there are several kinds of animal proteins in the MMR. I had never heard that before, but it seems important to know given how many young children are sensitive to animal proteins. Given the whopping number of children who have problems with the proteins in cow and goat milk, for example, I couldn't help but wonder about injecting other kinds of animal protein into children who are only 1 year old. As it happens, we haven't had the MMR yet, but it wasn't even my decision! My pediatrician actually follows what she calls "the delayed schedule." She told me that at the time, but because I didn't know anything then about either the debate or autism, I just figured it was one of those things where there was more than one way to do it, and I just took her advice, which was to put the MMR off until they were older. Which I did. At the time, no one had any idea that T was autistic. Now, of course, I have to face the hard decision.