Is Autism Reversible? Einstein Scientists Propose New Theory of Autism

Discussion in 'Parenting News' started by runawaybunny, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Guest

    Einstein Scientists Propose New Theory of Autism - Albert Einstein College of Medicine

    Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have proposed a sweeping new theory of autism that suggests that the brains of people with autism are structurally normal but dysregulated, meaning symptoms of the disorder might be reversible.

    The central tenet of the theory, published in the March issue of Brain Research Reviews, is that autism is a developmental disorder caused by impaired regulation of a bundle of neurons in the brain stem that processes sensory signals from all areas of the body.
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911

    THe TV had an ad last night and the commercial said - We're looking for a CURE for autism - not a managed life - a cure.

    Wouldn't this be fantastic? I think it has reached so many families.
  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I think in some cases it can.

    My son had a lot of various therapies fairly early. As a result, he would not meet the diagnosis criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) today. But I can assure you it's still there -- it's just more subtle these days.

    I'm greatful for the progress, but it would be wonderful if there was really a cure.
  4. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I'm so glad you started this new forum! Thank you.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I like this new forum. Thank you!

    Interesting theory.
    I will try to stay on top of the news about this.
  6. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I've never thought about Autism in this way before... I need to believe there is hope... When I think of difficult child 2's future, it seems so grim... I think certain interventions have helped him and that more progress will be made after we go to hearing, but I still see him having many problems functioning as an adult. WFEN
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I saw some studies a while back where they were testing autistic kids with fevers. A lot of parents with autistic kids say their kids seem markedly better when they are sick, particularly with a fever, so they hooked these kids up and discovered they did have more normal neuro pathways when they had the fever than when they were well again...which says to me that there truly may be something we can do eventually that will physically help these kiddos.

    A cure? Why not? I'll buy it.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think it would be AWESOME if autism could be cured. Not managed with diet and treatments, but truly cured.

    I think there is a strong tie between sensory integration disorder and autism. Just my personal thoughts, based on my sons. The similarity between the first 12 to 18 months of the boys' behaviors are striking. thank you did have the violence that Wiz did not have exposure to, simply because Wiz was the violent person thank you was exposed to.

    But by the time thank you was born I was FAR less uptight about many of the accomodations that were needed for Sensory Integration Disorder (SID). And esp after we had thank you evaluated at age 4 and we did the brushing therapy, the things that made me wonder if thank you might be more affected by autism than Wiz largely disappeared. After a year of the daily brushing therapy we slowly cut back on it. Now we only do it when he is sick or having a hard time coping.

    thank you still has some issues, esp in socialization, but not nearly enough that I would think he was even an Aspie. It does fit MILD Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), but not the fairly severe Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) that he was diagnosis'd with.

    If Wiz had gotten brushing therapy as a toddler I truly think that much of what we went through with him would not have happened. I have thought this for a long time. It is one reason I try to encourage parents who are wondering about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or newly diagnosis'd with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to get evaluation for Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) as soon as is humanly possible.

    I think that if there was some way to put intensive brushing therapy into Head Start, pre-k, kdg and 1st grade classrooms we might see some lessening in the very high rates of autism, or at least a lessening of the effects of autism in our kids.

    This is NOT to discount dietary changes, because they can be so important. thank you actually had a food allergy diagnosis for milk and several other foods. So maybe it was the combination of the 2 things? I won't ever truly know, I guess.

    But I find it fascinating that after I spent several years wondering about the sensory stuff, researchers are thinking that fixing regulation of neurons that process sensory signals could show us the way to CURE autism.

    Sorry if I rambled.
  9. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    This wouldn't surprise me in the least. My Duckie is not diagnosis'd as on the autism spectrum but she has had developmental red flags for it including motor issues, sensory issues and raging. I had a stressful pregnancy (my cousin's infant son died, I was in a bad car accident and I had a low-lying placenta and was at risk for full bed rest) and Duckie's symptoms tend to improve temporarily when she has a fever.
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    What I read on adult autism sites is often a very different point of view from that of parents and professionals. Many are vehemently opposed to seeking out a cure for Autism because they know it would very much change the person they are (skills, interests, abilities, etc). Also they very much opposed to prenatal testing because they know abortion would become the preferred option just like it has with Down's Syndrome and other developmental disorders. Totally understandable there: wouldn't be a good feeling to know there's an 80+ chance you would have never been born had a prenatal test come back positive.

    I don't know how the breakdown would be or if those who are in opposition are more vocal, but it's very prevalant.
  11. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    A cure would be wonderful.
    SRL, I have read the adult sites which say they like who they are. This is from adults who are not working, have no significant relationships with friends or dating. Who wants to change if they are being totally cared for?
    By the very diagnosis which includes self absorption, self centeredness, I'm not sure they have a balanced opinion based on facts.

    They have a choice to accept treatment or not but there is one young man in my house who would jump at a chance to live a fuller life.

    In difficult child's teen years, I'm not sure if I would have opted for a child with this degree of autism. As he grows and is less disagreeable and miserable, less dysfunctional and seems to want to help himself I am more hopeful that he will have a life that won't be institution based. I don't want to leave this earth knowing that my son has no life, no friends and is basically an imposition and a bother to all other family members.

    Living with a child with autism has been a horrid, ugly road that has taken a toll on siblings, family, myself and our home but if we feel that if he comes out the other side able to manage it will be worth the anguish. If his life is spent doing nothing but living on public assistance and in squalor with nothing that makes life liveable, it would have been better to not have been born.....You will never know how hard that is to say in a public forum.

    I love my child. I have medical insurance, good access to medical options available, a stable home life and fairly balanced handle on what is the possible outcomes. I can't imagine the toll on families with less time, ability or resources.

    My hope is that if it's too late for a cure for my difficult child that at the least all of our interventions will provide him the ability to have a decent quality of life when we are gone from this earth or as he catches up on some of the delays.

    A choice for a cure would be good.
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    It would be wonderful if there could be a cure. But I'm not looking forward to one soon.

    Honestly though..........I don't think there will be a "cure". Many believe it's just the brain is wired differently. So? I have a bit of skepticism that any medication/treatment is going to re-wire that brain the way it is supposed to be. Also you have a large number of autistics who are that way due to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and brain damage. These cases are even less likely to see improvement, let alone a cure.

    husband at 61 can hold down a job. (most of the time) He is well educated. He can pay bills. (most of the time with supervision) He can basically take care of himself. Yet his AS all but screams at you. And he appears to be taking a long backward slide as he ages.

    husband spent 16 yrs military. He had leadership positions. Military forces socialization ect. Can't see where it truely has done him much good.

    husband's cousin who is also a college professor. He can function basically with his wife filing in the gaps. But still, his AS all but screams at you. You can't miss it, unless you've never been exposed to it.

    With both, even without experience with autism, you know there is something just can't quite put your finger on it. Know what I mean??

    I guess because of husband's male family members all either being autistic or showing strong traits..........being able to function, yet not really........Makes me have my doubts.

    Not sure I was able to word that right.

    And with Travis.......Brain damage makes his more severe. I've worked on him since he was little, even though I didn't have a diagnosis.....and I think we've reached his limit. I *think* as he's is once again wanting to attempt college. So I guess we'll have to see.

    But while a cure would be nice.........I think shooting for treatment plans that help those with autism to reach their full potential something more substantial to shoot for.
  13. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    This thread is really making me think... If I wasn't so "technically challenged," I would quote what Fran wrote here. Anyway, it's the fourth paragraph from either the top or the bottom of her post...

    Up until now, the only person I've EVER really expressed these feelings to, aside from my husband, is my closest friend (who I've known much longer than I've known my husband).

    Autism is just so heartbreaking... WFEN
  14. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    WFEN, some of our kids do manage to function and have a life. The idea that my difficult child would be a college professor or even a full time employee is so out of our world that I can't even relate. Being a spectrum disorder, I know some kids function in the world with support but at this point I have very little evidence that this is true with my son.
    I haven't given up on him but I am realistic and tell myself the truth in what I see difficult child can do. No one has nudged their child out of his comfort zone more than I but I can not force him to do what he can not.
    WFEN, keep hoping that the steps you take get difficult child a little further every year, or every 5 yrs or even every 10 yrs. I know that feeling of seeing what they can do and realizing it isn't enough yet.

    Daisylover, I have family who have AS quirks or poor social skills but they all made it through college and held jobs, had families and had a life. None were anything like my difficult child.
  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    This is SUCH a difficult, and an enlightening discussion. I too think a cure would be wonderful, or at least a treatment that mitigates or eliminates some of the more egregious effects of autism.

    I have read a lot of the material published by adults with autism. Many of them seem to be very strident and militant, even radical. And I think it's important to keep that in mind when reading the perspectives.

    Fran, I think you get right to the crux of the matter. For every Einstein, there are countless thousands of others living borderline existences. And for that matter, Einstein might have had an easier, better life if his genius were tied to better social skills. We can never know that.

    Looking back at my life, I've been able to become independent, and successful, and happy. But I think it was a long fought and hard won battle. Knowing what I know now, there are so many incidents where being on the spectrum made things so much harder than they had to be. If I didn't have to get through the maze inside my own head to understand and interact with the world outside, I think I might have had an easier road through my early life.

    I too think about this a lot. At this point, I can't really envision a life for my difficult child beyond an institutional setting. psychiatrists, tdocs, therapists etc. have all said "difficult child has so much potential. He can do blah blah blah if only he applies himself." But how do you get someone whose arrogance borders on megalomania, who truly believes that his life is perfect the way it is, to look beyond being led by the hand.

  16. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Trinity, I don't know of any magic. My difficult child is doing well right now( I don't want to jinx it). Aging, constant reflecting his behavior back at him, his willingness to see(for the first time) that he has sabotaged himself by his absolute confidence that he was right and no one else could possible know as much as he does.
    We changed up some medications, we tried to keep things real at home and I definitely stepped back and out.
    I agree with you Trinity that for every success there are too many young adults floundering or living a marginal life. I didn't see my difficult child living anywhere but a structured type arrangement. He did move forward from there but he isn't ready for total independence. He is smart enough to know it.
    If someone on the spectrum is functioning and doesn't want to be cured, heck more power to him/her. I love quirky, different people. We shouldn't all be the same. However, if you are oppositional simply because "how you are is good enough" and live a life of nothing/video games and contribute nothing it is a parasitic relationship. They have to live off of others.
    Trinity, it is so difficult to see how someone like you and some wonderful people I know who struggled to get where they are with the challenges that autism spectrum gives you. It was natural development for the N/T person but you guys really have to work at it. You did conquer it but I'm sure it is an ongoing process. You have my utmost respect for your honesty and your willingness to share your struggle.
  17. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Fran, Thanks for the advice - One of the reasons I love this bb is because it helps me tremendously to listen to what more experienced parents have to say. I just learn so much from being here... And, like you, I'll NEVER give up on difficult child 2. I've read about some of the struggles and successes your difficult child has had and know that both of our difficult children are still "cooking" (I think I got this expression from one of your posts)... They haven't reached their full potential yet...

    Like you and Trinity, at this point, realistically, I don't see difficult child 2 being able to make it on his own. It is frustrating because even though husband and I do everything we can to help him with his daily living skills, social skills, etc., it just doesn't even come close to being enough... This is one reason we made the decision not to delay the hearing any longer even though husband is still recovering from his heart attack.

    We want to do everything in our power to get appropriate services in place for difficult child 2 no later than the beginning of the next school year. difficult child 2's neuropsychologist believes that the SD should provide residential services for difficult child 2, at the very least, a full day program that puts much emphasis on daily living skills, social skills, etc... The process is so stressful but hopefully the end result will be worth it...

    Trinity, Like Fran, I have so much respect for you - You've come so far with so many obstacles thrown in your path. Sharing your experiences with us gives me hope for all of those on the spectrum...

    Runaway Bunny, thanks for starting this forum. It is wonderful to be able to keep up to date on issues that affect all of us so deeply. It's nice to be able to get different view points and perspectives from the CD family.

    Whenever I visit this forum, I leave it deep in thought... WFEN
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Fran, wow......I've had that thought many times over the past several years. Sad, but true. I think that is somewhat why I won't push Travis when he's stubborn about applying for disability. It's not about pride.....I still want him to be able to believe that at some point he'll be able to earn enough money to support himself. I'm afraid that once he truly concedes that he will give up on himself.

    With my original reply......the jest of what I was attempting to say...was that while other male family members are on the spectrum and functioning fairly well, their autism is not "cured". Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. husband's cousin, for example, happens to be an extremely interesting person to go to should you need any info on the civil war. He can give you details that are amazing and left out of history books because they're thought of as trivial.

    I worry Travis will never reach independence. I keep hoping and praying, but yeah. That's my fear. I don't see it happening at this point, or in the near future. For all I've pushed and guided......while there has been much improvement.....we seem to have hit a brick wall we can't get around. And his other dxes only complicate the issue further.
  19. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Lisa, you do have a unique set of obstacles.
    I so often feel that difficult child has it in there but I haven't found the key that opens the door. Something to make the light bulb turn on. Believe me I soak up stories of successes and look to see how the parents did it. There are so many more stories of folks who used to be just different or quirky that we now know are on the spectrum. Unfortunately, my difficult child doesn't have a specific gift to build on. Not music, art, history, science, trains, sports, math etc, etc.

    I have been looking for my "Anne Sullivan" to my very own Helen Keller for years. There should be a way to access their natural intelligence to make then learn how to survive. I think I have written this in another thread years ago about our kids having a blindness and deafness of the mind. Unfortunately, at this age, it is either me, who teaches or difficult child's wish to attain what he desires(if he can remember to focus daily and remember what his goal is) I don't believe my difficult child doesn't have potential as much as we don't know how to teach him to care enough to learn it and make it his own.

    It's been a long time since I have been so reflective on my difficult child. It's sad to read but it is my truth. I will continue to look for ways to help difficult child help himself but he also hears the truth from me. I'm pretty direct about why he should do things. Short simple relevant answers work best for him.

    He has a gentle heart. Unfortunately that isn't enough to function.
  20. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I used to think difficult child 1's obsessive interest in computers was going to be detrimental to his success. Once his therapist, a number of years ago, made me understand otherwise, we helped difficult child 1 take as many computer courses as possible while in high school. Now I see it, as Fran put it, as his "specific gift to build on." I hope and pray he uses it wisely...

    I just wish that Lisa's difficult child, Travis, Fran's difficult child, difficult child 2, and everyone else's difficult children had some sort of "specific gift" too. Sadly, it just makes it so much tougher for them to succeed in life...

    Lisa, I think you have a good point - If Travis doesn't think he can make it without public assistance, I think I can understand how he could give up on himself... It's just so sad... on the other hand, difficult child 2 is perfectly content to have others take care of him. I just wish he had some sort of spark in him, a desire to do things on his own... WFEN