Credit (or Discredit) Carnegie Mellon University
What's Wrong With This Picture? It Omits 50% of The Autism Spectrum, Those with Intellectual Disability
The picture above, credit (or discredit) to Carnegie Mellon University, is from a Science Daily review article Brain representations of social thoughts accurately predict autism diagnosis which reviews an MRI study published in PLOS ONE, December 2014, Identifying Autism from Neural Representations of Social Interactions: Neurocognitive Markers of Autism, purporting to demonstrate different brain responses to social interaction stimuli in what are described as "autism" brains as compared to control brains of persons without autism. The review article states that it is based on materials supplied by Carnegie Mellon U the institution that conducted the study in which fMRI imaging was used to compare brain reactions of 17 persons with high functioning autism with the brain reactions of 16 control subjects with similar IQ levels:
As the father of an almost 19 year old low functioning son with severe autism, profound intellectual disability ... and epilepsy I understand why it may not have been feasible to include intellectually disabled autistic adults in an fMRI study. What the study authors and the journal articles reviewing the study could have done would have been to describe the results as applying only to those with high functioning autism. After all they expressly and intentionally excluded the 50% of the autism spectrum with intellectually disability (WHO, September 2013) and should have claimed that their results applied only to high functioning autism. Arguably they could have talked about a "high functioning autism brain" but they certainly can not assume their results apply to the low functioning half of the autism world.
The study authors should have been more accurate .... and honest ... in what they tell the world about their high functioning autism study. They could have started with the title of their study and called it:
"Identifying HIGH FUNCTIONING Autism from Neural Representations of Social Interactions: Neurocognitive Markers of HIGH FUNCTIONING Autism".