Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PBS (New Jersey) presents "Decoding Autism"

On Tuesday, October 18, WHUT (Howard University Television, Washington DC), aired “Decoding Autism”, from New Jersey PBS, with the major link here

The staggering increase in the rate of diagnosis of one of autism spectrum disorders may occur because we look for it now. The rate for New Jersey is higher than for the nation. There is a concern that this is related to pollution in New Jersey.  Boys are four times as likely as girls to develop an autism spectrum disorderically as clinically defined.

Asperger’s syndrome is considered to be part of the autism spectrum, even if many “patients” have superior intellect (if focused), and don’t consider it a problem.  One boy says it is a good thing because it helps him draw.

The program examines the role of genetics, which is considerable. But identical twins are not always concordant (about 60% of the time).  Environment and utero influences could trigger genetic tendencies.
The brains of some autism patients may have “too many connections” and may not get “pruned” properly (although, then, why does autism usually show up so early in life)?   Or perhaps a particularly narrowly focused talent (music) could lead to other skills (athletics) being crowded out, but this is hardly a consistent observation.

The show reports the discrediting of connection of autism to vaccines, which “don’t cause autism”.  So when parents refuse to allow vaccination, they hurt the effort toward “herd immunity”.  But by coincidence, vaccines are given at the same time when symptoms of autism appear.

I remember meeting filmmaker Gode Davis in a Friday's restaurant in Providence, RI, New Years Day, 2003, on a visit, and his first remarks was that I have Asperger's. He said he could tell by the lack of usual body language.  

The program covered the founding of “Autism speaks”, like here.


Picture: from an Amtrak train crossing into Trenton, NJ, 2010. 

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