Monday, November 29, 2010

The bullied brain:another form of "neurodiversity"

As most readers of the gadfly blog know, those who oppose a cure for autism being invented believe that autism and what most rational people would consider other types of deficiencies or even defects in the brain of an individual that would impair them in life are just natural variations involving alternative forms of brain wiring.

For this reason, they will be interested to know there is a new form of neurodiversity being researched, namely the effects of bullying on the developing brain. The new science seems to be showing evidence that bullying causes hormonal changes that can produce damage (or change for neurodiversitites) in the brain. It can reduce the growth of neurons, connectivity in the brain, etc.

For example, neuroscientist Martin Teicher conducted brain scans on a variety of adolescents. The ones who had been bullied, were shown to have abnormalities in the corpus callosum, which connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. There was evidence that the neurons in the corpus callosum had reduced myelin, the white matter of the brain which provides a sheath on the axons of neurons and facilitates transmission of impulses between nerve cells-which would influence functioning of the brain.

Another study suggested that bullied boys have much higher levels of the hormone cortisol than nonbullied controls. It has been suggested this can produce alterations in the hippocampus, the brain structure that controls short term memories. Experiments in bullied rats showed changes to the hippocampus and effects on memory.

Perhaps this is the reason that so many persons in the neurodiversity movement are such bullies. Just as father Flannigan in the movie "Boys town" stated that there was no such thing as a bad boy, they assert there is no such thing as a bad or defective brain only a different one. In fact neurological differences are essential to survival of the species and autistic genes have produced every invention from the spear to the cell phone. Bill Gates success and Einstein's theory of relatively are due to autistic traits or even autism. So by being such bullies and insulting people, they are only ensuring survival of the human race by perpetuating yet another unique form of "neurodiversity".

Sunday, November 28, 2010

autism and Rome

I see that paragon of virtue of our tax dollars at work, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee is having yet another meeting. As far as their value to helping persons with autism I can't help but being reminded of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Phil Gluyas running for Australian parliament?

I see the rumor mill has it that neurodiversity extremist, 21st century Bruno Bettelheim who called my mother a witch, and nice enough to give gadfly one of his annual most horrid autistic adult awards is rumored to be running for parliament in Australia. He was also author of the now defunct blog "Mitchell's gadfly" where he would pathetically attempt to refute every post I had written and would constantly insult your humble blogger. This blog also seemed to be a safe haven for every wingnut on the internet who had some sort of grievance against me and these people would add posts insulting and belittling me and members of my family. In addition to the preceding that I have already mentioned, Gluyas has threatened to get this blog closed down as well as John Best's blog. As far as I know he is suing John Best for some sort of offense but I am not sure what. In addition to his most horrid autistic adult award, he also gives some sort of award for best medical professional who has made contributions to the autism community. His last award was given to psychologist Nick Dubin whom most gadfly readers will remember has been charged with downloading child pornography from the internet. Gluyas has refused to retract the award.

One wonders what the chances are of this august gentleman being elected to a seat in the Australian parliament. Well here in the good old U.S.A. which a few years ago passed the combating autism act we have Ari Ne'eman and John Robison who craft autism public policy and decide which research gets funded at taxpayer expense as well as funding of Morton Gernsbacher's research. So I suppose it is possible that a certain legislative district in Australia has no more common sense than this country in regards to autism policy. If the outcome of this election is known I will update readers.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

my sister's book wins an award

Well I had a nice thanksgiving dinner with my parents, aunt, cousin, cousin-in-law and some other friends of mine and my parents and I can reflect on some positives in my life in that I am comfortable, not living in poverty, and still have supportive parents still alive. I hope all gadfly readers had a good thanksgiving.

A few regular readers of autism's gadfly may remember a post I wrote more than a year and a half ago plugging a book about complexity that my sister wrote and published. Well there is some more good news about Melanie's book. The phi beta kappa society has wisely decided to give her book an award. Our entire family is proud of Melanie.

Simon Baron Cohen and Temple Grandin (and perhaps Steve Silberman also) would have a field day about this autistic man's father, a pioneer in the field of computer engineering going back to the early 1950's and his sister, a Ph.D. computer scientist and artificial intelligence researcher. Maybe this proves how useful autism genes are to society, no matter that dad and sis got the good from the genes and I got the brunt of them.

However, it is my mother's family who has a history of mental illness and learning disabilities and autism, so it is possible the genes from that side of the family contributed to my disease (that's right, disease, Laurent and Ari).

Simon Baron-Cohen has speculated that the rise in autism may be partially because of assortive mating and the rise of the computer boon that engineers are more likely to meet and marry each other. I seem to remember I wrote a post about this on gadfly some time ago, but am having some trouble locating that post. If I do, I will go back in and edit this post.

The point was is that Baron-Cohen wanted to do a study of how many male engineers were meeting and marrying female engineers, given that at one time it was not possible for these nerdy engineers to meet and marry and reproduce, creating all of these autistic genes and people. I wondered how SBC could explain the fact that my father, an engineer, and most the engineers and computer people he worked with in the 1950's and 1960s, during the computer's nascence were all married and none of their wives were engineers. Obviously these nerds were able to meet women and get married and this might be a flaw in this theory, as well as in Steve Silberman's theories and forthcoming book where it is quite possible that he will touch upon these issues.

Well happy thanksgiving and kudos to my sister for winning that award.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

problems with my blog and "senator Fiorina"

Some of you may have noted that my blog archive is at the very bottom of my page rather than closer to the top where it should be. Unfortunately, I was trying to add some more quotes to the quotes section on the home page of the blog and adjust the spacing and somehow I pushed all my stuff down to the bottom of the page. Upon looking at the code, I noted that there were an excessive amount of break statements which added a zillion extra lines and I did not save a template of the original blog. I inquired on blogger's help section as how to access the html in my blog and found out.

Unfortunately, when I click design and edit html only a CSS file loads and not the file containing the HTML code of this blog, even after clicking in the box expand widget templates the file will not load for some reason. Therefore I can't change it back. Otherwise I could go in and edit the file and resolve this problem. Also, on the WYSIWYG editing page, there seems to be no way to place the side bars to the right. I apologize for any inconvenience to anyone who may want to find and access the archives on this blog, but I guess you will have to scroll to the bottom of the page until I can find a way to solve this problem. Any suggestions in comments or email as to how I can solve the problem are appreciated.

Senator Barbara Boxer ,who has been one of the two senators in my state since 1993, has declared victory in her race against Carly Fiorina and is claiming re-election to a fourth term. However, Fiorina has refused to concede the race saying that a margin of a few thousand votes or so is too close to call. Gadfly would agree with this; however, the left leaning media have declared Barbara Boxer the winner. I voted for Fiorina as I saw it as a vote against Ari Ne'eman's confirmation to the NDC which Boxer was a part of. Also a vote against federal funding of Morton "autism is harmless" Gernsbacher's research.

Many members of the neurodiversity community seem to have very liberal political beliefs from what I have read in their blogs. However, one would think they would be enamored of Ms. Fiorina who has stated her desire to overturn Roe vs. Wade and her opposition to abortions except in cases of rape, incest and endangerment of the mother's life. If this happened, the ND argument that autism speaks and other groups seeking a cure for autism's goal of trying to find a way to deliberately abort autistic fetuses would become almost completely moot (excepting the illegal coat hanger abortions that occurred prior to Roe V. Wade). They would not be able to cry about eugenics. Even though we could still have illegal abortions, it might be much harder to obtain genetic testing for fetuses if all that could be done was to abort it. Somehow I suspect most californian ND's supported Boxer due to her appointment of Ne'eman and her liberalism. I also suspect most female ND's of child bearing age believe they have a right to an abortion as a form of birth control. However, they would not give the same right to a mother of an autistic fetus. With the exception of Frank Klein who stated he was for legalized abortion of non-autistic fetuses, I have yet to hear an ND comment on where they stand on the issue concerning nonautistics. I suspect most of them value the child's disability over the child's humanity. I suppose I could have voted for a libertarian or green or other minor party candidate against Boxer, but Fiorina had the greatest chance of winning. If the media or anyone else declares Boxer the winner hopefully Ms. Fiorina will demand a recount against such a narrow margin.

It is my belief that a vote for any politician who would support Ari Ne'eman being able to craft autism policy at taxpayer expense and would support the research of neurodiversity rogue Morton Gernsbacher is a vote for children becoming crippled and sick, not being able to speak, and being in danger of accidentally drowning or running out in traffic and being hit by a car and being killed. Therefore I will await 2012 where all those who feel as I do will cast their vote for any candidate besides Obama or any other incumbent senator who voted to confirm Ne'eman.

Addendum: The latest word is that Fiorina has conceded the election to Boxer

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Look there's a kid in a cage" redux department

I see there is yet another interesting story about an autistic kid in a cage. Along with "retard", calling the special education bus a "tard cart", "look there's a kid in a cage" is yet another cliched insult among those who bully autistic children who attend special schools. I have previously written about my personal experiences with this slight going back to my childhood in the 1960s. I also used this line in my short story, Mr. Twiddle which I wrote quite a few years ago. Also used this line in my unpublished novel "The School of Hard Knocks".

Stories about autistic or other developmentally disabled kids in a cage fascinate me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shallow brooks are noisy

There is an old saw that some will remember- still waters run deep. When I think of the parents, persons with autism who will neither be participating in the silly moratorium on facebook and twitter posting nor the equally silly autistics speaking day who suffer from autism of a loved one or themselves, but who don't have time for internet wars because they are too busy trying to care for their loved ones or they are too impaired to go online and refute neurodiversity's baloney, I think of this old saying.

I also think of the corollary, shallow brooks are noisy. Neurodiversity's latest gimmick is the autistics speaking day. They are going to make a lot of noise today, but will there be substance? Neurodiversity has nothing of substance to say, gets very minimal media attention and has nothing but superficiality imbibed in it. Most of what they say is just nastiness and meaness to those who want a better life for themselves or their children. Or advertising how offended they are by anyone intimating the autism is some sort of affliction or burden on society. I think the corollary of still waters run deep-shallow brooks are noisy- describes neurodiversity in a nutshell.