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".


Anonymous said...


You need to shift your focus away from the previous targets of the marginally-quirky/undiagnosed of ASAN and the Autism Hub (a few good people and a whole lotta strange-fruits with some seriously dubious autobiographical claims).

The problem is now people like Steve Silberman who are promoting the idea that autism is no big deal to a mainstream audience.

farmwifetwo said...

I find non-scientific based studies to be the norm of late and the fav of those who want to push their personal agenda's. Venn diagrams are us. When they return to actual research, I'll start caring/trusting science once more.

For now, we'll keep doing what we're doing... which is proving that just b/c you are severely autistic and are unable to communicate "normally" doesn't mean you are ID, simply autistic.

jonathan said...

Silberman claimed that I was probably misjudging his future book in progress. It may be at least a year or 2 before his book is out. I will be interested in seeing what he has to say. In the meantime, I will do my best to reserve judgment.

jonathan said...

Farmwife: Though I have not read the actual studies but the article. I presume they were not necessarily non-scientific based. I think at least some of them did pass peer review and others are still in progress.

Adrianna said...

Strangely enough, some people subscribe to that reasoning that there is no such thing as a bad brain, even if the brain is question suffers from sociopathy.

Some disabilities just can't be accomodated, and some peopel are just plain...bad. If that sounds judgmental, then so be it!

QuoteDaAutieNevermore said...

Jon, you're NOT the Autism Gadfly. You're the Autism-Ass-Mosquito-Who-Bites-People-Who-Sleep-Naked-On-The-Ass.

Btw, I agree with Adriana, the issue is determining what would count as a Bad-Brain (anybody who says nothing is a PC douchebag that nobody should give the time of day) because said criteria can't be too limited but it also can't encompass too many people of neurological differences.

jonathan said...

Andrew Ackner: Perhaps we should count your brain as one of the bad ones.

Oliver M Canby said...

You go Jonathan! Let's send Andrew Ackner to the cleaners.

Anonymous said...

Oliver M Canby said...

"You go Jonathan! Let's send Andrew Ackner to the cleaners."

This particular Barney-I-mean-Andrew
was probably once told to

'go pick on somebody you own size'

since that's obviously kinda hard for a guy like Andrew here to do,

Andrew likes to generally restrict himself to trash-talking, making threats and general bullying from the relative security of the internet, safely hidden behind his computer screen,

but even here he still tends to favor the disabled, women and small children as his targets

those weak and vulnerable enough to where even a guy like Andrew just might stand a chance

Oliver M Canby said...

Anon: Who are you? You seem great!

QuoteDaAutieNevermore said...

Why aren't you posting my reply Mitchell you coward

jonathan said...

Because it was an abusive post that involved a lot of name calling and incredible rudeness. You have a lot of growing up to do and when you can reach a maturity level where you can post a tempered response then come back.

QuoteDaAutieNevermore said...

Nope, I don't think so I'm going to be coming back. The anonymous guy is a coward. It is just humorous to think that he runs his mouth about me hiding behind a computer screen when he posts anonymously. Also, only a true low-life uses someone's worst performance, especially being that it was my first time ever stepping on stage as a measuring stick as the epitome of my stand-comedy to link, when he is well aware that I have damn good vids on that channel. There is no panache in doing that, just to smear a guy under the veil of anonymity.

Me, I have class, I'll best someone with their best work, because that is class, class that this anon clearly lacks.

The point is, I've just cured My Marty McFly Syndrome, so from this day forward when it comes to cowards like you Mitchell, Canby, and that anonymous person (whom I'm positive I know who you are,) I really don't care what you guys have to say about me. You guys are online journalists with no lives, no income, no foreseeable future and your blogs are bigotry driven, biased biles of text, and you guys are not worthy of my respect whatsoever. So call me a coward, a bully, a liar, an idiot, or a guy who is cocky over nothing, enjoy living in a house of glass, me I'm no longer gonna waste time throwing bricks, I have a legacy both on the mic and in the canon of Literature to build, proving myself to bums like you guys is just a slap in the face to myself but most of all, to all the people who have had an interest in me in my life and have helped inspire me to live up to my potential.

Similar to the words of the Late, Great, Mitch Hedberg "Hey, I did not lose a leg in Vietnam so that I could waste my life arguing with cowards." (I have both my legs.) "Like I said, I did not lose a leg in Vietnam.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan, thanks for the article. Please tell me: do tests such as an MRI detect the brain changes that you described? Or are there other means of detection?
Thanks,and good luck,

Yuval said...

Following from your original post, Einstein and Gates only became successful because they were bullied. They were in extensive special education (but hide it), and the changes in their brains from the bullying made them successful. Additionally, it is rumored that many engineers and Nobel Prize winners have "mild" Down Syndrome and "mild" Fragile X along with autism, as those are all forms of Neurodiversity and they were all bullied.