Feel the Love

Confidential advice by phone or IM
  
NSFW fun by phone
 

#autism

rayvenloaf:

scattered-minutiae:

There. Fixed it. 

Image descriptions: Image #1: Black text on white background reading “CURE AUTISM” with the word autism covered over by a green label reading “ABLEISM”. Image #2: Black text on white background reading “PREVENT AUTISM” with the word autism covered over by a brown label reading “HATRED”.  Image #3: Black text on white background reading “COMBAT AUTISM” with the word autism covered over by a yellow label reading “STIGMA”.  Image #4: Black text on white background reading “FIGHT AUTISM” with the word autism covered over by a red label reading “IGNORANCE”. 

!!!!!!!!!

aspergersissues:

girljanitor:

ucsdhealthsciences:

UC San Diego researchers have found clear and direct new evidence that autism begins during pregnancy, reporting that patches of disrupted brain development occur in the womb.

Patches of Cortical Layers Disrupted During Early Brain Development in Autism

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Allen Institute for Brain Science have published a study that gives clear and direct new evidence that autism begins during pregnancy.

The study will be published in the March 27 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.  

The researchers – Eric Courchesne, PhD, professor of neurosciences and director of the Autism Center of Excellence at UC San Diego, Ed S. Lein, PhD, of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, and first author Rich Stoner, PhD, of the UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence – analyzed 25 genes in post-mortem brain tissue of children with and without autism. These included genes that serve as biomarkers for brain cell types in different layers of the cortex, genes implicated in autism and several control genes.

“Building a baby’s brain during pregnancy involves creating a cortex that contains six layers,” Courchesne said. “We discovered focal patches of disrupted development of these cortical layers in the majority of children with autism.” Stoner created the first three-dimensional model visualizing brain locations where patches of cortex had failed to develop the normal cell-layering pattern.

“The most surprising finding was the similar early developmental pathology across nearly all of the autistic brains, especially given the diversity of symptoms in patients with autism, as well as the extremely complex genetics behind the disorder,” explained Lein.

During early brain development, each cortical layer develops its own specific types of brain cells, each with specific patterns of brain connectivity that perform unique and important roles in processing information. As a brain cell develops into a specific type in a specific layer with   specific connections, it acquires a distinct genetic signature or “marker” that can be observed.

The study found that in the brains of children with autism, key genetic markers were absent in brain cells in multiple layers. “This defect,” Courchesne said, “indicates that the crucial early developmental step of creating six distinct layers with specific types of brain cells – something that begins in prenatal life – had been disrupted.”

Equally important, said the scientists, these early developmental defects were present in focal patches of cortex, suggesting the defect is not uniform throughout the cortex. The brain regions most affected by focal patches of absent gene markers were the frontal and the temporal cortex, possibly illuminating why different functional systems are impacted across individuals with the disorder.

The frontal cortex is associated with higher-order brain function, such as complex communication and comprehension of social cues. The temporal cortex is associated with language. The disruptions of frontal and temporal cortical layers seen in the study may underlie symptoms most often displayed in autistic spectrum disorders. The visual cortex – an area of the brain associated with perception that tends to be spared in autism – displayed no abnormalities. 

“The fact that we were able to find these patches is remarkable, given that the cortex is roughly the size of the surface of a basketball, and we only examined pieces of tissue the size of a pencil eraser,” said Lein. “This suggests that these abnormalities are quite pervasive across the surface of the cortex.”

Data collected for the Allen Brain Atlas, as well as the BrainSpan Atlas of the Developing Human Brain was developed by a consortium of partners and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. It allowed scientists to identify specific genes in the developing human brain that could be used as biomarkers for the different layer cell types.

Researching the origins of autism is challenging because it typically relies upon studying adult brains and attempting to extrapolate backwards. “In this case,” Lein noted, “we were able to study autistic and control cases at a young age, giving us a unique insight into how autism presents in the developing brain.”

“The finding that these defects occur in patches rather than across the entirety of cortex gives hope as well as insight about the nature of autism,” added Courchesne.

According to the scientists, such patchy defects, as opposed to uniform cortical pathology, may help explain why many toddlers with autism show clinical improvement with early treatment and over time. The findings support the idea that in children with autism the brain can sometimes rewire connections to circumvent early focal defects, raising hope that understanding these patches may eventually open new avenues to explore how that improvement occurs.

What I wish would happen as the result of autism research: Better and more focused treatment options and services for autistic people like me.

What will probably happen instead: increased pressure on people to have eugenic abortions.

Additionally, before anyone jumps in with the wrongheaded idea that I’m again abortions for anyone who needs one: no. I’m against stigma, ableism, misinformation, and the total lack of informed consent and abuses that go on in the medical community when prenatal testing for any disability becomes available, as has occurred with Down Syndrome:

Many women are unprepared to make prenatal decisions about fetuses diagnosed with Down Syndrome because of societal pressures to have “normal” children, a negative view of persons with disabilities by many in society, a fear of legal liability by those in the medical community, the lack of genuine informed consent before undergoing genetic testing and abortion, and the failure of non-directive pre-abortion counseling in the medical community.

Moreover, medical professionals fail to communicate correct and unbiased information before and during the genetic screening, diagnostic testing, and abortion decision-making process. This article addresses the contributing factors and causes that ultimately lead to a lack of informed consent and a very high abortion rate for fetuses diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

I’m not against increasing our knowledge; it’s the LACK of information I’m against. I think information like this will be used to try and prevent autistic people from existing instead of trying to help autistic people who are alive right now, and heavily stigmatized, abused, and murdered because we’re autistic.

This is huge news. I really hope this puts the cause of autism debate to rest and we can move on to using all the money researching that to supporting families and adults with autism. Supports are desperately needed.

chavisory:

Casual reminder that Donald T., the first person ever diagnosed with autism in this country, sang in his school choir, graduated from high school, earned a college degree in French, drives, golfs, travels for fun, has a circle of friends, and lives on his own.

This is the person with, literally, the prototypical case of autism.

So if you’re making an argument that any given person is too “high-functioning” for their input to count in the national discussion about autism, or that Autism Speaks is “not really talking about people like you,” when they call autism a national catastrophe, when they call us lost, missing, kidnapped, diseased, burdens on our families and society, and lobby for our elimination…you may need to recalibrate your ideas about autistic people a little bit.

kthx.

2013 Joint Letter to the Sponsors of Autism Speaks »

Autism Speaks’ only advisory board member on the autism spectrum, John Elder Robison, announced his resignation from the organization this month in protest of the organization comparing autistic people to kidnapping victims and claiming that our families are not living, but merely existing, due to the horror of having autistic people in their lives. In his resignation letter, he discusses his four years spent attempting to reform the organization from the inside without success, stating, “Autism Speaks says it’s the advocacy group for people with autism and their families.  It’s not, despite having had many chances to become that voice.  Autism Speaks is the only major medical or mental health nonprofit whose legitimacy is constantly challenged by a large percentage of the people affected by the condition they target.”