Friday, September 09, 2011

If Autism Is A Brain Disorder, Surely We Need To Look At The Brain?

Dr. Aditi Shankardass: If it is a brain disorder, surely we need to look at the brain!

Autism is one of the developmental disorders described as a brain based disorder in the presentation by Dr. Aditi Shankardass in which she makes the observation that if developmental disorders are brain disorders shouldn't we look at the brain in order to properly understand, diagnose and treat them?

"Despite the fact that each and every one of these disorders originates in the brain most of these disorders are diagnosed solely on the basis of observable behavior but diagnosing a brain disorder without actually looking at the brain is analogous to treating a patient with a heart problem based on their physical symptoms without even doing an EEG or a chest X-ray to look at the heart. It seems so intuitively to diagnose and treat a brain disorder accurately it would be necessary to look at the brain directly. Looking at behaviour alone can miss a vital piece of the puzzle and provide an incomplete or even a misleading picture of the child’s problems."

In addition to the EEG based program described by Dr. Shankardass the recent Stanford/Packard  MRI based study indicates that it may be possible to provide topographical imaging of brains  that can distinguish between the brains of persons with autistic disorder and those who are not autistic. The study authors also indicate that more severe autism brain differences are related to more severe autism.

If autism is a brain disorder, surely we need to look at the brain?


jonathan said...

Though I agree, unfortunately the state of the art does not yet allow us to do that. We don't know enough how to image or study the brain to see what defect is causing autism. Hopefully that day will come and then I could know what is wrong with my brain before I pass away.

Jeanne said...

As always I appreciate your blog - you always seem to bring me things that I notb heard or read anywhere else - thank you for that!
I do hope the day will come when we can just look at the brain and say "OH...well now, here's the problem..." I know I would love to know how, what, when and why for my son. Thanks again!

Susan Phariss said...

Have you ever heard of primitive reflex integration? Rhythmic Movement Training is a neurodevelopmental exercise program that treats developmental delays/disorders through movement, allowing the brain to get back on track and function normally. No brain imaging is required. Through observation, active primitive reflexes are identified and then integrated through specific movements. In a "normal" brain, primitive reflexes dictate healthy brain development from conception to age three. After age three, those primitive reflexes are supposed to become integrated and inhibited by the adult postural reflexes. When the primitive reflexes are still active beyond age three, they can cause behavioral, physical, and mental symptoms such as sensory processing disorders, dyslexia, ADHD, etc. This is the missing link you have been looking for. Of course, you also have to address nutritional issues as well, making sure that you are off glutens and other foods that are a challenge. And it is essential for you to have healthy flora in your gut. Good luck with your search for answers!

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usethebrains godgiveyou said...

I guess I'll open my big mouth here, as I can be more precise. I'm not sure we can begin to determine how much of "autisms" can be undiagnosed problems. We have the neonatal heel prick that hopefully saves many children from possible serious genetic diseases by beginning immediate changes in diet(PKU, Galactosemia, metabolic disorders) or medication (Neonatal Hypothyroidism, ...these are just things I learned from Special Ed training. Since my son was tested at a specialist center I also became familiar with Neurofibromatosis, Fragile X, and Tuberous Sclerosis. He was tested for fragile x, which we could afford, but not the other two...they told us to watch for signs and maybe have the testing done if facial angiofibroma and subependymal nodules showed up. Honey, I studied them religiously, scared to death a zit wasn't a zit. We were lucky that there was a center based out of University of South Carolina. Not everyone is going to have that luxury. (Our son did have skin abnormalities that raised the flag of a possible problem. I have really studied them, but am losing my worries towards those possibilities as time goes by.)Landau Kleffner, epilepsy is often it causal, or secondary? Damn, I forgot rubella, which increases the odds 200%

We already know many, many genetic disorders and environmental insults to the growing fetus that appear along with autistic behaviors. To say we don't know what causes autism is inaccurate at least 15% of the time. But how many kids aren't tested?

Sorry...I had to get it out.