Tag Archives: Neurons

Question?: Rett Syndrome Research

Chris asks…

Does anyone know why Rett Syndrome girls start off “normal” & then regress?

Okay I’m aware of what Rett Syndrome is & how it works (for the most part anyway) but what has me confused the most is that most of these girls develope normally for about the first 6-18 minths & then start to regress/lose skills they’ve already learned (i.e. talking, walking, eye contact) . I know this is due to a mutation in the MEPc2 gene but why/how is it they can learn things & then lose them later on. I relize the gene is responsible for turning on/off certian protiens but what is making these girls funtion properly in the beginning then? another gene maybe?

admin answers:

To quote a passage from wikipedia:
“The recent studies demonstrating that neurological deficits resulting from loss of MeCP2 can be reversed upon restoration of gene function are quite exciting because they show that neurons that have suffered the consequences of loss of MeCP2 function are poised to regain functionality once MeCP2 is provided gradually and in the correct spatial distribution. This provides hope for restoring neuronal function in patients with RTT. However, the strategy in humans will require providing the critical factors that function downstream of MeCP2 because of the challenges in delivering the correct MeCP2 dosage only to neurons that lack it, given that the slightest perturbation in MeCP2 level is deleterious. Thus, therapeutic strategies necessitate the identification of the molecular mechanisms underlying individual RTT phenotypes and picking out the candidates that can be therapeutically targeted. The next phase of research needs to assess how complete the recovery is. Clearly, lethality, level of activity, and hippocampal plasticity are rescued, but are the animals free of any other RTT symptoms such as social behavior deficits, anxiety, and cognitive impairments? Since postnatal rescue results in viability, it will be important to evaluate if even the subtler phenotypes of RTT and MECP2 disorders are rescued when protein function is restored postnatally. This is particularly important given emerging data about early neonatal experiences and their long-term effects on behavior in adults.”

What I get from that is that the nerves become damaged by the defective gene, resulting in a loss of abilities that have already been learned.

Sorry if you’ve already read this, but this is just about all I could find as far as the reason for the decline period.
Hope this helps!

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Question?: Schizophrenia Causes

Mary asks…

What causes Schizophrenia besides genetics?

How do you know if some has Schizophrenia?

admin answers:

There are multiple theories on why someone develops schizophrenia this is called ‘heterogeneous’ origin. While there are clear examples of it being inheritable others may have a predisposition that requires an environmental trigger.
During times of famine the incidence of schizophrenia can double and the current theory is that this is socondary to low folate in the diet of the mother. Fortunately with international aid, famines are not as common as they have been historically.
Since schizophrenia is slightly more common in the Northern Hemisphere and slightly more common in late spring births and infective agent was suspected at one time. I don’t know if this is still an area of active research.
Heavy metal toxicity and in particular mercury can cause or worsen symptoms.
The bottom-line may be that there are problems with the inherent antioxidant systems in the neurons that ultimately are supposed to control levels of dopamine. An abundance of dopamine can be neurotoxic. It is the combination to these two things that produce the symptoms.

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Discovery Of How Some Neurons Inhibit Others Could Shed Light On Autism, Other Neurological Disorders

Main Category: Neurology / Neuroscience
Also Included In: Autism;  Schizophrenia;  Bipolar
Article Date: 11 Aug 2012 – 0:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Discovery Of How Some Neurons Inhibit Others Could Shed Light On Autism, Other Neurological Disorders
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The brain has billions of neurons, arranged in complex circuits that allow us to perceive the world, control our movements and make decisions. Deciphering those circuits is critical to understanding how the brain works and what goes wrong in neurological disorders.

MIT neuroscientists have now taken a major step toward that goal. In a new paper appearing in Nature, they report that two major classes of brain cells repress neural activity in specific mathematical ways: One type subtracts from overall activation, while the other divides it.

“These are very simple but profound computations,” says Mriganka Sur, the Paul E. Newton Professor of Neuroscience and senior author of the Nature paper. “The major challenge for neuroscience is to conceptualize massive amounts of data into a framework that can be put into the language of computation. It had been a mystery how these different cell types achieve that.”

The findings could help scientists learn more about diseases thought to be caused by imbalances in brain inhibition and excitation, including autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Lead authors of the paper are grad student Caroline Runyan and postdoc Nathan Wilson. Forea Wang ’11, who contributed to the work as an MIT undergraduate, is also an author of the paper.

A fine balance

There are hundreds of different types of neuron in the brain; most are excitatory, while a smaller fraction are inhibitory. All sensory processing and cognitive function arises from the delicate balance between these two influences. Imbalances in excitation and inhibition have been associated with schizophrenia and autism.

“There is growing evidence that alterations in excitation and inhibition are at the core of many subsets of neuropsychiatric disorders,” says Sur, who is also the director of the Simons Center for the Social Brain at MIT. “It makes sense, because these are not disorders in the fundamental way in which the brain is built. They’re subtle disorders in brain circuitry and they affect very specific brain systems, such as the social brain.”

In the new Nature study, the researchers investigated the two major classes of inhibitory neurons. One, known as parvalbumin-expressing (PV) interneurons, targets neurons’ cell bodies. The other, known as somatostatin-expressing (SOM) interneurons, targets dendrites – small, branching projections of other neurons. Both PV and SOM cells inhibit a type of neuron known as pyramidal cells.

To study how these neurons exert their influence, the researchers had to develop a way to specifically activate PV or SOM neurons, then observe the reactions of the target pyramidal cells, all in the living brain.

First, the researchers genetically programmed either PV or SOM cells in mice to produce a light-sensitive protein called channelrhodopsin. When embedded in neurons’ cell membranes, channelrhodopsin controls the flow of ions in and out of the neurons, altering their electrical activity. This allows the researchers to stimulate the neurons by shining light on them.

The team combined this with calcium imaging inside the target pyramidal cells. Calcium levels reflect a cell’s electrical activity, allowing the researchers to determine how much activity was repressed by the inhibitory cells.

“Up until maybe three years ago, you could only just blindly record from whatever cell you ran into in the brain, but now we can actually target our recording and our manipulation to well-defined cell classes,” Runyan says.

Taking a circuit apart

In this study, the researchers wanted to see how activation of these inhibitory neurons would influence how the brain processes visual input – in this case, horizontal, vertical or tilted bars. When such a stimulus is presented, individual cells in the eye respond to points of light, then convey that information to the thalamus, which relays it to the visual cortex. The information stays spatially encoded as it travels through the brain, so a horizontal bar will activate corresponding rows of cells in the brain.

Those cells also receive inhibitory signals, which help to fine-tune their response and prevent overstimulation. The MIT team found that these inhibitory signals have two distinct effects: Inhibition by SOM neurons subtracts from the total amount of activity in the target cells, while inhibition by PV neurons divides the total amount of activity in the target cells.

“Now that we finally have the technology to take the circuit apart, we can see what each of the components do, and we found that there may be a profound logic to how these networks are naturally designed,” Wilson says.

These two types of inhibition also have different effects on the range of cell responses. Every sensory neuron responds only to a particular subset of stimuli, such as a range of brightness or a location. When activity is divided by PV inhibition, the target cell still responds to the same range of inputs. However, with subtraction by SOM inhibition, the range of inputs to which cells will respond becomes narrower, making the cell more selective.

Increased inhibition by PV neurons also changes a trait known as the response gain – a measurement of how much cells respond to changes in contrast. Inhibition by SOM neurons does not alter the response gain.

The researchers believe this type of circuit is likely repeated throughout the brain and is involved in other types of sensory perception, as well as higher cognitive functions.

Sur’s lab now plans to study the role of PV and SOM inhibitory neurons in a mouse model of autism. These mice lack a gene called MeCP2, giving rise to Rett Syndrome, a rare disease that produces autism-like symptoms as well as other neurological and physical impairments. Using their new technology, the researchers plan to test the hypothesis that a lack of neuronal inhibition underlies the disease.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our neurology / neuroscience section for the latest news on this subject. Written by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office
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Autism Defective Gene Link

Editor’s Choice
Academic Journal
Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Genetics;  Neurology / Neuroscience
Article Date: 14 Aug 2012 – 11:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Autism Defective Gene Link
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According to a study published online in PLoS ONE, researchers have identified how a defective gene causes brain changes that lead to the atypical social behavior characteristic of autism.

The study, conduced by researchers affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute, also offers a potential target for drugs to treat the condition.

Previous studies have already demonstrated that the gene is defective in children with autism, but were unable to determine its effects on neurons on the brain. In this study, the team found that in mice, the gene disrupted energy use in neurons. They found that these damaging effects were associated with antisocial and prolonged repetitive behavior – characteristics of autism.

Cecilia Giulivi, Professor of molecular biosciences in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and a researcher affiliated with the UC David MIND Institute, explained:

“A number of genes and environmental factors have been shown to be involved in autism, but this study points to a mechanism – how one gene defect may trigger this type of neurological behavior. Once you understand the mechanism, that opens the way for developing drugs to treat the condition.

The defective gene appears to disrupt neurons’ use of energy, the critical process that relies on the cell’s molecular energy factories called mitochondria.”

For the study, the researchers tweaked a gene called pten in mice so that neurons were deficient in the normal amount of pten’s protein. Four to six weeks after birth, the team discovered malfunctioning mitochondria in the mice.

By weeks 20-29, the team found that DNA damage in the mitochondria and disruption of their function had increased significantly. Around this time, the mice began engaging in repetitive grooming behavior and avoided contact with the other mice.

Giulivi explained: “The antisocial behavior was most pronounced in the mice at an age comparable in humans to the early teenage years, when schizophrenia and other behavioral disorders become most apparent.”

According to the researchers, when pten proteins are defective, they interact with the protein of a second gene (p53) to reduce how much energy is produced in neurons. This causes an increase in harmful mitochondria DNA changes and abnormal levels of energy production in the cerebellum and hippocampus, areas of the brain vital for cognition and social behavior.

Mutations in pten proteins have also been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and a spectrum of autism disorders. According to the researchers, when pten protein was lacking, its interaction with p53 activated deficiencies and defects in other proteins that have been identified in individuals with learning disabilities, such as autism.

The study was funded by the Autism Speaks Foundation, the MIND Institute, the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Written by Grace Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

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posted by Ken on 22 Aug 2012 at 9:23 am

Its great to find another piece of the puzzle. Placing the piece where it fits properly in the puzzle is the next step. The term “defective” being applied to genes has me curious. If something is defective that usually means that it deviates in either form or function or both. The author mentions evidence of mitochondria DNA “damage” as a result of gene pten having been “tweaked” by researchers. The DNA did not function properly which affected the neurons, because the pten had been “tweaked”. Isn’t the tweaking of the pten in effect altering form and/or function?

Damage and tweak can both be verbs (action words). Defect is either used as a noun or adverb. A “defective” gene implies a “defective” parent (sound familiar….think 1960’s). How is it that so many “defective”parents have suddenly appeared on the radar screen via their autistic offspring. Could it be that,at least in some (unknown quantity) of cases that the parents or childs genes were “damaged” or “tweaked in a way that was not previously occurrng at the rate of 1 in 108 (or whatever the lastest astronomical figure is)?

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posted by Kyle on 15 Aug 2012 at 4:38 pm

A very thought provoking article! I’m looking forward to following the research in this area. One area of possible confusion – the use of the term antisocial appears to be misused. Antisocial (as in Antisocial Personality Disorder) connotes a pattern of behavior that acts against society, such as is engaged in by sociopaths. Individuals with autism are characterized by qualitatived impairments in social interaction, better described as “asocial”. The confusion of the terms may contribute to the idea that persons affected by autistic spectrum disorders are necessarily violent or otherwise dangerous within society. They are not.

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posted by Autistic on 15 Aug 2012 at 1:42 am

Whilst you’re making undergraduate mistakes like calling genes “defective” (way to put Human Agency where it doesn’t exist), what you also fail to state is which part of the spectrum you are referring to because it has been known for a long time that unity in the Autism Spectrum genetically is a big fat lie.

Cause if it’s my end then it’s the best defective gene in the universe. Just like the tail gene in most Humans.

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‘Autism Defective Gene Link’

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Brain Wired At Birth But Experience Selects Which Connections To Keep

Main Category: Neurology / Neuroscience
Also Included In: Autism
Article Date: 08 Jun 2012 – 1:00 PDT Current ratings for:
‘Brain Wired At Birth But Experience Selects Which Connections To Keep’
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Ask the average person the street how the brain develops, and they’ll likely tell you that the brain’s wiring is built as newborns first begin to experience the world. With more experience, those connections are strengthened, and new branches are built as they learn and grow.

A new study conducted in a Harvard lab, however, suggests that just the opposite is true.

As reported in the journal Neuron, a team of researchers led by Jeff Lichtman, the Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, has found that just days before birth mice undergo an explosion of neuromuscular branching. At birth, the research showed, some muscle fibers are contacted by as many as 10 nerve cells. Within days, however, all but one of those connections had been pruned away.

“By the time mammals – and humans would certainly be included – are first coming into the world, when they can do almost nothing, the brain is probably very wired up,” Lichtman said. “Through experience, the brain works to select, out of this mass of possible circuits, a very small subset…and everything else that could have been there is gone.

“I don’t think anyone suspected that this was taking place – I certainly didn’t,” he continued. “In some simple muscles, every nerve cell branches out and contacts every muscle fiber. That is, the wiring diagram is as diffuse as possible. But by the end, only two weeks later, every muscle fiber is the lifelong partner of a single nerve cell, and 90 percent of the wires have disappeared.”

Though researchers, including Lichtman, had shown as early as the 1970’s that mice undergo an early developmental period in which target cells including muscle fibers and some neurons are contacted by multiple nerve cells before being reduced to a single connection, those early studies and his current work were hampered by the same problem – technological challenges make it difficult to identify individual nerve cells in earlier and earlier stages of life.

And though the use of mice that have been genetically-engineered to express fluorescent protein molecules in nerve cells has made it easier for researchers to identify nerve cells, it remains challenging to study early stages of development because the fluorescent labeling in the finest nerve cell wires often becomes so weak as to be invisible.

“We typically begin studying these mice at about a week after birth, but as we began to look at earlier and earlier stages, the fluorescent color was coming up ever more weakly,” Lichtman said. “If you went from post-natal day seven to post-natal day four, there were very few labeled cells. And if you went to post-natal day zero, there were none.”

Eventually, he said, J.D. Wylie, one of the lead authors, took a new idea – using antibodies to label nerve cells – and a bit of luck for the research to pay off.

“We were just very lucky that one of the first animals we looked at, we saw a labeled axon,” Lichtman said. “Once we saw it, I knew it was just a matter of time until we got another, but it wasn’t until J.D. did 50 more than we found it, so to get the 20 or so examples we have, thousands of mice had to be looked at. Had we not seen that first one, I think we might have given up on this. It took a lot of effort and work, but it showed something that we’ve never seen before, which is a remarkable amount of connectivity.”

Simply identify the axons, however, was only the first step.

To fully understand how widely diffuse the branching becomes early on, researchers had to count how many different nerve cells were contacting muscle fibers. To accomplish that feat, Juan Carlos Tapia, the other lead author used a new technique the lab had developed for serial electron microscopy that allowed him to capture images of as many as 10 axons connecting to a single muscle fiber.

After reaching its peak at birth, researchers found the branching was quickly pruned back, until just a single nerve axon remains connected to each muscle fiber. Though there isn’t a definitive answer to what is driving that pruning process, Lichtman said there is strong suggestive evidence that points to experience.

“We think that experience must be the engine that allows some branches to survive and the vast majority to disappear,” he said. “If this were a stereotypical developmental program, you might imagine that it might trim off whole parts of the arbor, but when you look at where the ten percent of surviving branches are located, you see the arbor extends over the same area, it simply has fewer branches. It has chosen, at the terminal level, which branches to keep and which not to.”

In future studies, Lichtman plans to study how those decisions are made, work that could potentially lead to insight into a number of disorders, including autism.

“That is one theory people have talked about, whether autism could be a disorder where connections that should have been trimmed back weren’t, and as a result stimuli are much more intense than they should be,” he said. “There are stories about children with autism spectrum disorders who cannot run in their bare feet on grass, because it’s just too painful.”

Ultimately, Lichtman said, the paper spotlights the unique developmental strategy undertaken by all mammals, including humans.

“This is a strategy to generate a nervous system that is tuned to the world it finds itself in,” Lichtman said. “Interestingly, this is not the predominant strategy of nervous systems on the planet. Most animals – insects for example – come into the world knowing, based on their genetic heritage, exactly how to behave.

“It seems like a paradox – why would the best brains seem to be the most backward, and take the longest to figure out how to do things?” he asked. “Rather than allowing our genes to tyrannize our behavior, we more than any other animal are under the tyranny of the environment we find ourselves in. If you start with a nervous system that allows for any wiring diagram, you need only choose the right option for a particular environment. That’s why humans today are behaving differently than our grandparents, and our grandparents are different from people 1,000 years ago, or 10,000 years ago. Whereas a fruit fly today and a fruit fly 1,000 years ago are probably behaving the same way”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
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‘Brain Wired At Birth But Experience Selects Which Connections To Keep’

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Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism

Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism
Posted on Friday, January 06 @ 12:20:09 EST by WrongPlanet Tips Our quirky autistic columnist, John Scott Holman, interviewed Henry and Kamila Markram, originators of the Intense World Theory. Read their compelling and refreshing insights in this Wrong Planet exclusive?

1. The Intense World Theory sheds light on the mystery of autism, and offers fascinating and refreshing insights. This theory may baffle those with a limited understanding of neuroscience. How would you explain Intense World Theory to the layman?

The Intense World Theory states that autism is the consequence of a supercharged brain that makes the world painfully intense and that the symptoms are largely because autistics are forced to develop strategies to actively avoid the intensity and pain. Autistics see, hear, feel, think, and remember too much, too deep, and process information too completely. The theory predicts that the autistic child is retreating into a controllable and predictable bubble to protect themselves from the intensity and pain. The theory originated from neuroscientific discoveries on an animal model of autism and was extended by accounting for previous research on autism in humans. It is a unifying theory because it takes into account and explains the many different results and interpretations from a spectrum of studies on autism.

The brain is supercharged because the elementary functional units of the brain are supercharged. These units are called neural microcircuits. Neural microcircuits are the smallest ecosystem of neurons that can support each other to carry out functions. The brain is made up of millions of these units. These microcircuits are hyper-reactive and hyper-plastic. That means that they react and process information much faster and more intensely, they can learn much more and remember much longer, and they can remember things with much greater detail. The Intense World Theory proposes that having such powerful units makes orchestration difficult ? like trying to play a piano with a million run-a-way keys. The microcircuits that are mostly affected will depend on genetics, toxic insults during pregnancy and the kind of environmental exposure after birth. Each autistic child will therefore be unique because different microcircuits are hyper-functional and they dominate the idiosyncratic pattern that emerges.

The theory predicts that there are three factors in the cause of autism; a genetic predisposition, a toxic insult during pregnancy and environmental exposure after birth. Our genes normally switch on an off in a well-timed and precise sequence like the playing of a piece of music throughout life. Autism is a triggered acceleration of this cascade of gene expression during brain development. We believe toxins during pregnancy trigger this acceleration. Many possible genetic mutations can lower the threshold for triggering the accelerated cascade. Environmental exposure that normally accelerates brain development accelerates brain development even further in autistics making the brain too sensitive, too early.

The danger of accelerated brain development is that all the steps needed to complete the trimming down of the connections between neurons is not completed and that some microcircuits that should wait their turn to develop, develop too early and begin to dominate over the other microcircuits driving hyper-preferences, repetitiveness, idiosyncrasies and eventually making unlearning and rehabilitation very difficult.

While it will be difficult to reverse and correct these developmental changes completely, the theory points to many exciting new possibilities for diagnosing, treating and helping autistic children benefit from their unique brain. For example, if the environment can be carefully controlled after birth, then the autistic child could potentially keep the supercharged microcircuits as well as their ability to orchestrate these microcircuits to fully express their genius without the suffering that can come with a supercharged brain.

2. Describe the evolution of Intense World Theory from inspiration to publication.

Our research into autism started in 1998 while Henry Markram was at the Weizmann Institute. Henry has an autistic child (now 16 years old) and was of course motivated to understand him. At that time most researchers were looking at the cerebellum, brain stem and other areas for alterations and very few were looking at neocortical alterations. Henry thought this was odd since most of the symptoms in autism are related to alterations in perception, attention and memory, and such advanced functions depend heavily on normal neocortical functions. In 2000 Henry went on sabbatical to Michael Merzenich lab at UCSF and proposed that perhaps the excitatory-inhibitory balance was affected. Henry first thought that inhibition was impaired and received a grant from NAAR (National Alliance of Autism Research) to establish how the inhibitory system is recruited in the normal brain and in animal models of autism.

This research continued when Henry moved to the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). His student Tania Rinaldi used the valproic animal model of autism, which seemed promising based on the work of Patricia Rodier. They could not find malfunctions in the inhibitory synapses and started looking at the excitatory connections. They found that too many excitatory connections where formed in the neocortex of autistic animals. They also found that the circuit responded much too strongly when stimulated and that the synapses learned much easier than normal about the stimulus.

Kamila Markram, a behavioral neuroscientist working in Carmen Sandi’s laboratory, then stressed the importance of also examining the amygdala because autism has a profound emotional component and because previous theories suggest that the amygdala is malfunctioning, that it is hypo-functioning and that autists can’t interpret people’s feelings and have dampened down emotions. Kamila carried out behavioral studies on the animal model and found that the autistic animals developed excessive fear memories, that these fears lasted much longer and where difficult to undo. She also found that they generalized these memories too easily to associated stimuli (i.e. once afraid of a sound with a certain pitch, they become afraid of all sounds regardless of the pitch). Kamila realized that this could lead to autistic children quickly to becoming fearful of parts of the world for no apparent reason and it would make rehabilitation very difficult. This also suggested that one would need to be extremely careful when exposing an autistic child to the world and especially when punishing an autistic child. They will never forget the punishment and generalize it quickly to a point where they will fear so many things that they not be able to function normally. Kamila then re-examined all previous studies by all major laboratories that studied autism and reinterpreted their results in this new light.

Kamila and Henry then came up with a unifying theory that accounts for the facts and first called this the intense world syndrome hypothesis. Further experiments in their lab on how genes and proteins are expressed as well as an even deeper analysis of past studies culminated in the Intense World Theory.

3. Many members of the autistic community have embraced Intense World Theory, claiming it to be an accurate reflection of their own experiences, and a radical departure from the outdated and socially stigmatizing disease models of the past. Why has it taken so many years for the scientific community to draw a conclusion which autistics themselves find to be quite obvious? What prevented Intense World Theory from emerging years ago?

The main reason is that historically autism has been classified as a form of mental retardation. Biologically, mental retardation results from malfunctions in genes, proteins, cells, synapses and circuits and so most researchers were just looking for evidence of malfunctions because scientists mostly look for evidence to support current theories and hypotheses. Autism is still today classified as a form of mental retardation in the bible of brain diseases, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This superficial classification has led to scientists looking for malfunction, hypofunction, and deficits at the biological level. So the research has become messy and confused and many mistakes have been made in the interpretation of experimental results.

The second major mistake is that scientists have reasoned that because every autistic child is so unique that there are many different causes of autism. The consequence has been that each researcher has made localized interpretations of their data and proposed their own isolated theory of autism ignoring ?the other forms” effectively hiding behind ?the spectrum”. We can see the result ? today there are dozens of fragmented theories of autism that each focus on a specific aspect of autism.

The third major mistake has been the belief that autism is primarily a genetic disorder. There is of course good reason for this because the second twin of identical twins has a much higher chance of having autism than in the general population, but this has led researchers to hunt only for the genetic malfunction while ignoring the fact that the twin of an autistic child that has the ?bad” gene(s) does not have autism ? this also proves that autism can be cured if we understand it. The hunt for bad genes has also led researchers to play down toxins as triggers of autism and injected confusion when it comes to whether the incidence of autism is increasing. Together this has resulted in researchers ignoring how genes can lower the threshold for autism triggered by a toxin or to such a low level that the probability of that autism can be spontaneously triggered without a toxin, is significantly increased.

There are many other reasons such as strong prejudices in how autism must be studied. On the one hand, some believe that one can only study autism in humans. Humans are mammals and what makes us mammal special is the neocortex. The microcircuitry of the mammalian neocortex is very similar. There are small variations in each species, but far more is preserved than changed. It is therefore illogical to say that autism can only happen in humans. This assumes that some gene or protein only found in humans must be the cause of autism and there is no evidence of that. A related community has argued that since it is a human disorder the closest relative, the monkey must be used in the studies. This led to one of the biggest detours in autism research where the amygdala was lessoned in monkey. When the amygdala was destroyed in monkeys, they also withdrew and showed no emotionally driven behavior. Scientists then thought that this proves that autism is a disorder of hypofunction of the amygdala. This was a relic of the theory that autism stems from malfunctioning systems that started with the refrigerator-mother theory many decades ago. On the other hand, there is a community that believes that autism is genetic and the only relevant animal model is the mutated mouse. The problem with this line of research is that they mostly still look for malfunctions.

More recently, these studies have also started testing for hyperfunctions so it is a good sign that the Intense World Theory is starting to change the field. Since hundreds of genes can be involved in setting the threshold for autism, these studies will however have to go to the next level rather than try to prove one gene at a time. What is really needed is to understand how the gene expression cascade is altered starting as early as possible in development. Epigenetics and behavioral studies after birth will therefore become central to the research into autism in the future.

4. Intense World Theory has been widely accepted by supporters of the Neurodiversity movement. Were these sociological implications foreseen in early development, and if so, can their influence be found in the published text?

This was not a factor in the discovery of the Intense World Theory. The theory was triggered bottom up from neuroscientific studies and the real changing point for us was when we found that fear memories were so quickly acquired, lasted longer, where difficult to erase and over generalized. This put all the results into context because the neocortex could render the world intense, highly fragmented and overly specialized while the amygdala would dial up the emotional component of the intense world making it potentially extremely painful and aversive forcing the autistic child to take refuge in a secure bubble. If they don’t succeed to take refuge through repetitive behavior, routines, rocking, and other types of behaviors, then they may display self-injurious behavior ? like ants crawling all over your body. The diversity comes from the fact that we are normally diverse and if you add hyperfunctional circuits to that then naturally each autistic child will be even more different from each other. It is like taking all our normal differences to an extreme. This challenges society to accommodate autists, but diversity is the key to social evolution and so it is a good challenge.

5. How does the alternative cognitive style of the autistic mind prove beneficial or detrimental to autistic self-advocacy?

Autistics could be at the pioneering edge of human brain evolution. Society should embrace and support this exploration into the extraordinary. According to the Intense World Theory, if autism can be identified at birth, then a well-structured and filtered environment could allow the sequence of brain development to unfold normally while preserving the hyperfunctional microcircuits. This does not mean the environment must be impoverished, in fact it should be a rich and diverse environment, but presented in a gentle and predictable way. Great care should be taken since any surprising event could be traumatic and potentially trigger a cascade of development that is difficult to reverse. Behavioral treatments that apply strong negative and positive reinforcement could have serious adverse effects according to the Intense World Theory, especially at a very early age. Such treatments are better suited to mental retardation or to older autists that have passed through the critical phases of brain development. The idiosyncratic behavior of autistics should be respected as they can make a unique and highly valuable contribution to society. Autists should fight for the way they believe the next generation of autistic children should be raised ? those that succeed to free their locked up genius can help free the next generation. Society should compensate and help families with autistic children.

6. Disregarding social and ethical implications, do you believe an autism cure is a scientific possibility? Why or why not?

The Intense World Theory predicts that all autistic children have exceptional talents that are locked up. The challenge is to free talents and to make it possible for them to integrate in society. We do believe that autism can be turned into a highly beneficial ?disorder” if we understand how to help the autistic child harness their genius rather than suffer from it. The route is to understand the epigenetic alterations so that we can make better and earlier decisions on the direction of therapy. We also need to understand all the different ways that we can raise the threshold of epigenetic alterations so that the progression does not become so severe as to lead to a social handicap. We have to be prepared to develop a custom treatment for each autistic child. We have to be prepared to create special environments for the early stages of life of an autistic child. If this is all done, most autistic children could pass through the critical periods of brain development quite normally and emerge from it with their full genius intact.

7. Do you believe the direction of autism research must be dictated by a governing social conscience, or does such a conscience corrupt scientific objectivity?

A social conscience must always govern all kinds of scientific research not just for autism research. Scientists cannot just do anything in the name of science. It must always be justifiable at all levels of society and actually understandable to all people. Co-evolution of science and society makes for a healthy planet.

8. “Unraveling the Paradox of the Autistic Self,” by Michael V. Lombardo and Simon Baron-Cohen, states that “neural evidence provides a key clue that an ‘egocentric’ response in the brain (i.e., Self = Other) is actually the result of an impairment in self-referential coding of information.” Do you believe an elusive sense of self is a universal autistic characteristic? Does Intense World Theory account for this impairment?

Well, we would not agree with their analysis and theory. This is just another theory that is a relic of the theories of mental retardation. It is contaminated by older theories that there is a deficit in the ability of the brain to develop a theory of mind, the ability to see and respect others thoughts feelings and emotions. This archaic theory has also led to gross misinterpretations of the mirror neuron discoveries. According to the Intense World Theory, autists could actually be seeing much deeper into the minds, thoughts and emotions of themselves and others, which triggers active avoidance and lock down behaviors. It also requires the ability to simulate others as if you where them and to extrapolate to where their thoughts and behaviors are leading them. Seeing into the minds of others can be extremely disturbing. Even if autists don’t feel this is true for themselves it is because their brain has developed strategies to cope with this extreme insight leaving them seemingly isolated.

This theory of a deficit in self-referential coding or theory of egocentricity is also likely to be incorrect for another reason. Self-referential coding is the foundation of human consciousness. To be conscious of yourself and others requires you to have to be able to localize yourself in space and time. If you enter an isolation tank, anesthesia, or deep meditation you can lose track of yourself, where you are, who you are, what time it is. So impairment in self-referential coding will also mean that autists are barely conscious and living in peaceful state of diffused consciousness (pain is based on a sense of self, locality). It is most likely the exact opposite of autists. They are in an extremely localized state, extremely aware of themselves, extremely aware of others and in a battle for their life to hold back the intensity and pain of it all.

9. Intense World Theory proposes that autism is “hyper-functioning of local neural microcircuits, best characterized by hyper-reactivity and hyper-plasticity.” Does this mean that savantism may be a universal, though not always objectively measurable, autistic characteristic?

Absolutely. In fact the Intense World Theory predicts that severely autistic people that cannot speak or interact at all have locked up abilities even greater than savants. In other words, those autists classified as severely mentally retarded by the psychiatrist, may be the greatest savants of all. Savants as we know them are just lucky that they retained the ability to express themselves. The Intense World Theory predicts that the amygdala is less affected in savantism so the pain of the intense world is dialed down making it easier for them to cope with what they see, hear, feel and think, and allowing them to express themselves. There is so much potential lying behind this wall of pain and fear.

10. Do you believe Intense World Theory will endure the test of time, and have a long-term scientific and sociological impact? Predict the legacy of Intense World Theory.

Scientific theories probably never last indefinitely. However, we do believe that the Intense World Theory will replace all existing theories because it is the only unifying theory of autism today. Other theories are piece-meal theories accounting of a selective set of observations and mostly based on a paradigm of autism as a form of mental retardation. Nobody likes one to come up with a unifying theory that explains all the facts. It will take time for scientists to embrace it and they will argue that it does not explain their corner of the facts because they like to interpret their facts in a certain way, they will use the fact that it is based on rodent brain changes to avoid the theory for as long as possible. The hyperfunctional theories such as those of Laurent Mottron have gone in the same direction. Rebellion and criticism is part of every scientific revolution where the paradigm is turned upside down.

The Intense World Theory predicts so many exciting completely new directions for autism research, for autistics, and for society that we believe this theory will last a long time.

For research, we will isolate various agents that can induce epigenetic insult of the genome and may even learn how to use these agents to guide evolution of the human brain. We will learn which sets of genes are predisposing ? lower the threshold of epigenetic insult during pregnancy – so that we can be better informed on nutrition during pregnancy and get ready to raise an autistic child if necessary. We will learn how to gently guide the development of the brain of an autistic child through the critical irreversible periods and avoid traumatic moments that could spin the brain development into a nightmare configuration and preserve the hyperfunctional microcircuits allowing autists to cope with the intensity and pain and express their genious. Nutrients, drugs and other treatments such as brain stimulation, will emerge that can dampen down selectively some uncontrolled hyperfunctional components.

For autists, they will learn how to nurture rather than lockup the deep insight and how to contribute these insights to society. We will learn how to help the next generation of autists cope and express their individual genius.

For society, we will learn how valuable the autistic community is for society. We will adapt the planet to embrace rather than lockup autistic people. Normal people guess at the world, while autists process information completely, comprehensively. This feature would not be good for survival in the jungle, but in human society, we can nurture these individuals and they can make a fantastic contribution to society. We will begin special compensation to families with autistic children as if they are potential Olympic athletes of the world.


               
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I was planning on researching lack of inhibition as a side project, so hearing that it’s already been tested and ruled out is very exciting to me. This theory also explains other “deep” black and white thoughts that are hard to displace that are positive in nature, beyond the negative fear ideas mentioned here. For instance, children are first taught to always be honest, and only later taught to think before they speak and to take other people’s emotions into consideration. If the former is latched onto strongly, the latter will have little room to fill in the gray area gaps. Essentially, there are no gray area gaps to be filled!

Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by Awiddershinlife Friday, January 06 @ 20:01:17 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) This theory explains a lot about me in the world. I go into sensory lock down to avoid things that are overwhelming; I prefer my “bubble” to all other environments. However, I have no savant abilities, so I must be misdiagnosed. I would like more info about how Intense World Theory explains language development, which is universally affected across the spectrum even if as the savant skill frequently seen in aspergers. It will be good to let go the MR association with autism, this absolutely came from very short-sighted researchers. Likely, throughout history autistics were responsible for every major breakthrough on this planet.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by SpatialEd Saturday, January 07 @ 01:40:02 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Now, this is my first time posting here, I only found this site this morning before work (Mailman, lots of walking :}). I am writing a novel I have been working on for some time. The protagonist (one of them) has Asperger’s syndrome. But in that world, in that nation, Asperger’s is hailed as a positive boon. Our Hero is the (for want of a more concise term) Shogun of his country. He is, like me, a very high functioning Aspy. Go figure. He, and others before him, were chosen for their abilities, their absolute black-and-white perceptions, and lack of ambition for ruling. Very special Aspies to be sure, but no neurotypical could possibly perform to the standard required by the General Staff to execute The Plan. The Intense World Theory, from my perspective, is so spot on that I believe it will come to exclude all other theories very shortly. This will be due most likely to Autists and Aspies acclaiming it. What other theory has been embraced by the community at large? This one seems so right, so logical, so fitting of the many manifestations of the brain deviation. I can’t call what we enjoy a “handicap”. It came as quite a shock to me to discover so many Autists and Aspies suffering from depression. Why? Are we not superior to neurotypicals in almost every human way? So our motor coordination may not be to the highest standard. Monkeys are coordinated, O’possums have opposing thumbs. Our social skills are suppressed? Baboons are social, often more so than humans. What makes humans what they are is the functioning of these magnificent brains. And do not ours outperform the vast majority of those around us? Revel in your superiority! Embrace that mental abilities are like seeing, and while “they” see only dim, gray shapes, we see colors beyond the rainbow in blinding light! Why are you depressed? Haven’t we developed defense mechanisms for blocking the unpleasant? Use them to your advantage! Block the pain, block the distressing memories! Do you think, or not? If you recall disappointments, can you not recall triumphs? The world awaits you, and it really doesn’t have a clue what you’re really capable of. Remember this, also. The neurotypicals’ make it up as they go along, too. They understand less of the real world, math and physics, than we do of their emotional tornados. We may not be able to baffle them with bullshit, but we can dazzle them with brilliance. Dazzle them! Push fear aside! What could happen? They won’t understand, they’ll look at you funny? Unlike when, exactly? It’s fun, and it gets easier. They’re scared most of the time, too. Your mileage may vary. Results not typical. Offer only available with qualifying purchase.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by ediself Saturday, January 07 @ 07:55:02 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I’m going to need some precisions on what “toxic insult during pregnancy” means…. Is it a different way of saying “exposure to a toxic product”? I don’t mean to be snarky but, I can not believe that you seriously mean “insult”. As in “verbal abuse”. This is too irrational.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by halfaspieguy Saturday, January 07 @ 12:04:57 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) This is exactly the kind of information that can lead to a better understanding of who we are as people who often feel like we have been born on the wrong planet. Since we were born here instead, we should make the best of it. One day we may be able to choose to adjust our own wiring to improve our functioning in certain areas while retaining who we are. For example, the fact that I have not had the ability to “read people” has left me at a severe disadvantage in life. It would be great to be able to put on a customized “thinking cap” when I go out in public so that I could be more aware of what kind of people I am interacting with. I might need a different cap to wear when I am trying to organize my desk and yet another when I want to take my wife on a date. In my case I would always want the option to return to my original self and just go fishing. I understand fish just fine.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by rondeau Saturday, January 07 @ 13:45:39 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) WOW…I didn’t ever think I would live long enough to see someone who had caught up with me, but better than me, can explain it in less than 5 thousand words…LOL. So I would sign off on this theory to be sure.
I am so proud to have had the opportunity to interview the Markrams. This theory is revolutionary – an absolute game changer! It supports all the ideas I’ve had about myself since long before I ever realized I was autistic. This interview makes a profound and decidedly neurodiverse theory accessible to the layman. I hope it will spread like wildfire and drastically alter the mass perception of autism. I found Intense World Theory when I was first diagnosed, and it was a breath of fresh air – a radically plausible and refreshing explanation of my existence. John Scott Holman
But they add unnecessary baggage to the theory. (Score: 1)
by AardvarkGoodSwimmer Sunday, January 08 @ 17:09:03 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) For example, they preach this pap that the child with autism is “locked in.” So now, the parent’s going to expect a miracle, like any day now? And lurch from one dramatic, abrupt theory to another, and at times these theories can be borderline abusive to the child or even flatly abusive. And this is the opposite of establishing the gentle, predictable environment for the child, which they also advocate ( and on this one they’re right). Or, the parent learning to recover graciously from inevitable mistakes. A brother of an autistic boy wrote, maybe what you see is what you get. My brother is sometimes sweet, sometimes angry and can grab your hair, he likes to play with string for long periods. Why do you assume there’s another brother in there? And nowhere do Henry and Kamila say, these are promising results, but this is a long way from actual help to actual patients/clients. And the fact that they don’t say this also makes me suspicious. Yes, I do often experience things intensely, which rather than painful, I sometimes find confusing or overwhelming, which is why I need copious down time to process. And I think we can take it from here and do better than Kamila and Henry. John, you’ve done a real interview, and for that I thank you. This is a subtantial interview, which also brings to light parts I disagree with.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by pensieve Sunday, January 08 @ 22:47:07 EST
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) This was such a great interview, so detailed and informative. While there are some things that hit home like the excessive fear memory (I usually say my brain is especially plastic to fear) I still have no answers about my childhood hypo sensitivity. These days my hypersensitivity feels different and the way I interact with the world is different than what it was before. Perhaps it really was the ADHD Inattentive/SCT symptoms that made me so underwhelmed and incurious. I had the usual reactions children had to loud noises but most times I was unaware of sounds. My physical hypersensitivity to pain is still intact. I think a better word for toxic insults would be ‘complications’ in the womb either by toxins going into the body or by a toxic-like environment in the womb which is something I went through. Or maybe an interruption of brain development. I may need more convincing before I believe there is a single cause to autism. I do like the idea of this theory though especially since I have learned a few more details.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by jortor5 Monday, January 09 @ 10:05:24 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Very good read and close to spot on. This is very close to how i always felt about it and it makes me happy that some are finaly starting to grasp it better. It have been abit depressing to read all previous “theories”, and it have been depressing and almost comical to listen to the doctors i had and there lack of insight in what they are supposed to know stuff about.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by smiffy47 Tuesday, January 10 @ 06:19:23 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Quite interesting. I think the toxic pregnancy thesis is suspect. I think a genetic link more likely. There is a theory proposed by Jared Reser, (Conceptualising the Autism Spectrum…May 2011) that autism has an evolutionary darwinian explanation where solitary members of hunter gatherer tribes gathered information that proved useful in the continued ‘success’ of their group.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by AsteroidNap Tuesday, January 10 @ 17:07:29 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) After reading the opening question, I had that light bulb moment where I felt myself being described to a tee in print. Before I my diagnosis, I’d often expressed to friends that I felt my heart, my soul was like an exposed nerve to the world. I experience things so intensely.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by techstepgenr8tion Wednesday, January 11 @ 17:05:02 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Hypersensitivity has always been seen as a major component and, aye, I’ve expereinced it. Interesting to see this now get wrapped around something solid in the brains mechanisms. Previous to hearing more about this I felt that the grey/white matter theory explained this effect well (my analogy was that I felt like my brain was a 700W pair of speakers running on a 50W amp) but it could just as easily be that there’s overdevelopment in certain areas hijacking functionality rather than a lack of communication wires running the brain ragged and rendering the cell’s unstorable supply of ATP inadequate for ‘normal’ function. Thanks to the Markrams for this theory and I hope it does come down to the nurturing and utilization of these talents as its heartbreaking (and clearly backward/wasteful) to see any individual gifts laid to waste.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by Matt1988 Wednesday, January 11 @ 19:42:18 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) It’s a very interesting theory and for the most part it seems to fit the bill. The point about autistics feeling things more intensely in particular resonated, but I had to think about it for a while! Here’s my take on it – another autistic giving me a pat on the back and a smile gives me the same feeling of being cared about that an NT seems to need a whole evening of hugs and reassurance for.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by fraac Thursday, January 12 @ 11:47:18 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Looks like another crackpot rat model that beats the other crackpot models with its superficial appeal. I suppose it sells better if you overreach wildly. “Intense World Theory has been widely accepted by supporters of the Neurodiversity movement.” I had heard of it but not read up on it, and I’m pretty smart, so I don’t think that’s accurate.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by jennica Thursday, January 12 @ 13:30:31 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) As a parent, I have deep concerns with the implication that parents will be made responsible to protect their child from developing autism. As a person who is very environmentally aware, to the point of being obsessive during my pregnancies and my children’s babyhood’s about what I bring into my body and allow to go into theirs, I can tell you that reducing toxins is an impossible road to travel. There are toxins in our bodies, there are toxins in our food and water supply, there are toxins in breastmilk, there are toxins in formula, there are toxins in our bedding, there are toxins in our clothing, there are toxins in our homes, there are toxins in our cars, there are toxins in our cosmetics and body care products, there are toxins in the air we breath, there are toxins in the water that rains on us, there are toxins in our oceans, lakes and rivers, there are toxins in our soil, etc. There is very little that a parent can do to reduce these toxins from their children’s environments. Also, I happen to be associated with a group of people who are very concerned about environmental toxins. Many in this group did everything from not having prenatal ultrasounds, to giving birth drug free at home, to delaying umbilical cord clamping, to breasteeding until age 3 or 4, to minimizing or not vaccinating, to eating all organic foods, to dressing their children in organic cotton, to otherwise minimizing environmental toxins in any way possible, and guess what? Some of their kids still have autism. I think this article introduces a promising theory. However, I really caution the people interviewed to please not place the onus on the parents, but to place it on the corporations and government that have allowed our environment to become so filled with toxins that the attempts of parents to remove those toxins are fruitless. I fear the implications of making parents responsible for their children getting autism. Will pregnant women who smoked be blamed? Will women who get induced or have an epidural during labor be blamed? Will parents who can’t afford organic food/clothing/mattresses/furniture/etc. be blamed?
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by budgenator Thursday, January 12 @ 18:59:03 EST
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) I’m afraid that people will be taking the phrases the pain of the intense world and wall of pain and fear way too literally, I’ve sometimes described it as “like a Migraine but without the pain”. NT’s seem to be able to understand hyper-sensitivity issues better with that phrasing.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by so_subtly_strange Saturday, January 14 @ 02:13:08 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I like this for the most part, and think it a good way of helping people understand some principles behind where us autists are coming from, but I take issue a bit with their assertion this is THE theory, and segments such as Nobody likes one to come up with a unifying theory that explains all the facts. It will take time for scientists to embrace it and they will argue that it does not explain their corner of the facts because they like to interpret their facts in a certain way, they will use the fact that it is based on rodent brain changes to avoid the theory for as long as possible. The hyperfunctional theories such as those of Laurent Mottron have gone in the same direction. Rebellion and criticism is part of every scientific revolution where the paradigm is turned upside down. firstly, ‘scientists’ is very vague, there are many many different scientists that study different things. Their ’embracing’ of any idea, depends upon how it stands up to scientific inquiry and the scientific method. as we really don’t understand the brain all that well, as far as exactly how everything works together, you really cant make sweeping statements about anything neurological. Yes we know much more than we ever have, we know different structures inside the skull, their basic functions, but what i mean is it is not like math or physics. The equation is too complex. Also I think the term ‘hyperfunctional’ is chauvinistic and simply not all that accurate. For all of our strengths there is a cost, and corresponding limitations. Hyper-plastic neurons form many more connections, but somewhat at the cost of the strength of any particular connection. Thus our need for routines and reinforcements to compensate for the aspects of our neurology that are fragile. I could go on and on so i think i will stop now. Also I have to realize, there may be parts of the theory that were oversimplified for the sake of the interview, which may be more comprehensively expressed in their published works on the theory
myth that kids on the spectrum are ?locked up? (Score: 1)
by AardvarkGoodSwimmer Saturday, January 14 @ 14:51:03 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I currently made this post, “myth that kids on the spectrum are ?locked up?” http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt186756.html on our general discussion board. Frankly, I think they are being reckless in making this claim and it’s something that we need to discuss.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by DW_a_mom Monday, January 16 @ 14:32:10 EST
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) Watching my son grow up, I started to theorize that certain aspects of his condition may have been reactive to triggers, overload in the same type of way eating chocolate too young can trigger a chocolate allergy. As an infant he was intensely drawn to things that later became sensory issues. So, the the title of this thread really spoke to me. Not as the cause, but as a factor, definitely. The detail of the neurology behind it interests me a lot less than the pragmatic observations. There is definitely more than one thing going on.
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by Comp_Geek_573 Sunday, January 22 @ 19:08:40 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) This article is fantastic! It provides me insight into both my own mind and how to describe Asperger’s/autism to the rest of the world – the latter being a way of propping up my social deficits to boot! I’ve always thought there were a few specific, but unverbalizable, abilities I had that were one of the top 100 in the entire world. This should become the mantra: Autism is caused by parts of the brain working way TOO well.
Great info. I have thought about this idea before but never seen it mentioned from researchers. To me this theory us 99% more likely than any other of the wild guesses that is proposed. It explains most of the behaviour. For example info overload gives shy away from too much info and focus on the relevant one no eye contact, looking another way sensitivity routines, not too much new info to analyze prefer calmer activities walking style, ( no noise, dragging feet, soft walk, not too many excessive movements) problem in schools and other noisy environments creative, does not sort out too much stimuli or already categorized one can see the same “stuff” from a different perspective instead of hardwiring it into the brain, learnt once – never change etc etcRe: Obviouslly by CreativityOverload Friday, January 27 @ 01:31:48 EST

I don’t find this a theory of the cause of autism at all, as it doesn’t explain why autistics are born different, but instead presumes the difference is just an injury (exposure to toxins), just like all the other theories of autism. OTOH, I find this theory interesting in regards to why autistics have all the problems in society. It very well explains why autistics become mute, how their (natural, inborn) sensory differences turn into overload and isolation. I believe this part of the theory is correct, but it is all about what happens when you put a sensitive individual in a too “intense” world. Additionally, this is not the only unifying theory of autism, it is not even a theory of autism as it cannot explain why autistics are born different. The only unifying theory of autism is the Neanderthal theory of autism, but I suppose the creators never heard about that one.
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Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
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Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
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Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by tthrs Thursday, February 23 @ 07:26:42 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I think the theory is largley incorrect apart from where it plays upon the things autistics already know and have been saying for years, but it puts them across in a way clearly coming from an NT who doesn’t properly understand them. It also plays on something already widely known – that environmental toxins plus genetic predisposition can cause things diagnosed as autism. I believe there is no unifying theory for autism. I have written what I think the truth behind autism is here – http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt190790.html
Re: Interview: Henry and Kamila Markram about The Intense World Theory for Autism (Score: 1)
by VioletRain Friday, February 24 @ 16:01:42 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) This is such a wonderful and MUCH needed study! I have two children on the autism spectrum and these findings really resonate with what I’ve witnessed over time while spending 24-hours a day with them for years. I feel they have always been hyper-sensitive to their environment and can easily hear things others never notice. If I’m talking to someone several rooms away, the kids can hear every word we say. They notice the slightest change in environment. And most of all, they easily pick up on the feelings and emotions of others around them. It’s difficult to ask a young child to be present when they are being bombarded with emotions that aren’t their own (which they might not realize) and for which they have no name or frame of reference. I spend the most time with my kiddos and have noticed a change in their behaviors if my mood changes (even if im showing no outward sign of positive or negative mood) as well as a change in their stimming behaviors when my husband arrives home from work after a stressful day (even if they haven’t spoken with him, or interacted with him in ANY way). I’ve known for so long that our children are so special and very gifted. My son once told a little girl in his kindergarten class that he liked her ‘because of her clean heart’ – if that doesn’t give some insight as to just how much these beautiful souls can see into and feel others, I don’t know what dose. The way the government agencies and public schools are trying to ‘support’ our children is totally wrong. I believe (especially after reading the full findings of The Intense World Theory) that parents should trust their instincts and that this is one situation where ‘tuff love’ is NOT the solition! Our children and friends on the spectrum need our support in allowing them to be who they are, allowing them the space and the time to explore THEIR interests, assisting them to find what they excel at intellectually and being present with them when they share the excitement of their findings. Forcing them to fit into the socially acceptable box of what is ‘normal’ is doing a dis-service to everyone involved…and could potentially suppress new ideas, inventions and the learning of acceptance and compassion of those who, potentially, could create a better world. We owe much to Henry & Kamila for coming out with this new theory… I’m so thankful I found their information!
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