Scientists May Have Found The Root Cause Of Autism | IFLScience

 Scientists think they’ve found out what could be at the root of autism and, no, it’s not vaccines. According to a new study, it could be caused by having too many brain connections called synapses.

“An increased number of synapses creates miscommunication among neurons in the developing brain that correlates with impairments in learning, although we don’t know how,”


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    While it has no bearing on people suffering with it, Hans Asperger was a terrible person.

    Should Asperger Syndrome Be Renamed? Unearthed Documents Reveal Disturbing Truth About Hans Asperger

    Hans Asperger assisted and supported a Nazi program that killed disabled children, previously unseen records have shown.

    Asperger has been hailed as a pioneer for his work on identifying a number of characteristics he called “autistic psychopathy”, which became the basis for the diagnoses of the condition that became known as Asperger’s.

    The Austrian doctor claimed during his lifetime that he had protected his patients from the Nazi regime, the BBC reports, saying he was wanted by the Gestapo for refusing to turn over children under his care. He had been seen as an opponent of Nazi ideology before his death in 1980.

    However, a new study of records by medical historian Herwig Czech has shown that Asperger sent patients to the Am Spiegelgrund clinic, the “euthanasia” clinic where 789 children were killed, mainly through lethal injection or gassing.

    Other children at the clinic, many of whom had severe mental problems or disabilities, died through starvation and diseases picked up there, or were subjected to inhumane medical experiments.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mitkä ovat ADHD-piirteisten supervoimat?

    ADHD-piirteisiin ihmisiin liitetään ennakkoluuloja ja negatiivisia mielikuvia, mutta itse asiassa ADHD-aivot saattavat olla juuri se puuttuva palanen, jota työyhteisö kaikkein kipeimmin tarvitsee.

    Kommelluksia, väärinymmärryksiä ja haaveisiin uppoutumista? Kenties, mutta myös nokkeluutta, hyvää riskinottokykyä ja aikaansaamisen taikaa. ADHD-piirteisillä ihmisillä on vaikeutensa, mutta myös sellaisia vahvuuksia, joista muut saattavat haaveilla. ADHD-aivot voivatkin epätyypillisyydessään tuoda työyhteisöön ja -tiimiin sitä paljon puhuttua diversiteettiä.

    Suomen ADHD-Aikuiset ry näkee ADHD-piirteisten positiiviset puolet, kuten myös aiheesta Supervoimani ADHD -nimisen kirjan (Into 2021) kirjoittanut Sari-Marika Durchman. Katsotaanpa, millaisia ADHD-piirteiset ihmiset ovat heidän mukaansa.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Link Between Autism And Gut Inflammation Uncovered In New Mouse Study

    People with autism spectrum disorders often display immune dysregulation, which can lead to elevated intestinal inflammation. Until now, the link between these two seemingly unconnected types of symptomologies had not been understood, yet new research on mice suggests that both may arise from exposure to inflammation while in the womb.

    Appearing in the journal Immunity, the new study reveals that an inflammatory cytokine called interleukin-17a (IL-17a) appears to play a major role in both autism and gut inflammation, yet via completely separate pathways. According to the authors, prenatal exposure to this molecule may therefore represent a common underlying cause for these two co-morbid (occurring at the same time) conditions.

    Previous research has already indicated that maternal inflammation triggers the release of IL-17a, which can interfere with fetal brain development and cause autism.

    Taken together, these findings imply that viral infection during pregnancy may alter a mother’s microbiome, and that postnatal exposure to this maternal gut bacteria could influence immune function in offspring.

    It’s important to note that this study was conducted on mice and that it is not known if the findings will hold true for humans.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mitkä ovat ADHD-piirteisten supervoimat?

    ADHD-piirteisiin ihmisiin liitetään ennakkoluuloja ja negatiivisia mielikuvia, mutta itse asiassa ADHD-aivot saattavat olla juuri se puuttuva palanen, jota työyhteisö kaikkein kipeimmin tarvitsee.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Uutta tietoa ADHD:sta – näin se näkyy aivoissa

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Key Brain Region In Babies That Develop Autism Is Unusually Large

    Scientists have noticed that a key brain structure appears to undergo an unusual growth spurt between six and 12 months in babies that go on to develop autism.

    They found that the amygdala underwent an unusual growth spurt in babies between six and 12 months of age that went on to develop autism. This enlargement then continues until the child reaches the age of two, an age where behaviors associated with autism can start to be seen.

    The amygdala is a cluster of almond-shaped cells found buried in the middle of the brain that’s associated with the processing of social behavior, fear, and emotional responses. Researchers have previously known the amygdala is unusually large in children with autism, but this is the first study to highlight how and when that enlargement occurs.

    “We also found that the rate of amygdala overgrowth in the first year is linked to the child’s social deficits at age two,”

    “The faster the amygdala grew in infancy, the more social difficulties the child showed when diagnosed with autism a year later.”

    The question remains: what causes the amygdala to swell and the development of autism? The researchers believe their work can’t answer that yet

    “Our research suggests an optimal time to start interventions and support children who are at highest likelihood of developing autism may be during the first year of life. The focus of a pre-symptomatic intervention might be to improve visual and other sensory processing in babies before social symptoms even appear,”

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Harnessing Neurodiversity Within Cybersecurity Teams

    Neurodivergence, by its name, implies a different way of thinking. The question we wish to examine is whether the inclusion of this neurodiversity can bring something positive beyond the simple expansion of general diversity to and within the cybersecurity teams.

    Understanding neurodivergence

    The world is basically divided into those with neurotypical and those with neurodivergent ways of thinking. Neurotypical is ‘typical’ only because it is more common. Neurodivergent simply diverges from the most common. There is no choice in the type – it is fundamentally governed biologically by how the brain works in different people.

    It has been said, from the ‘divergent’ viewpoint, that ‘the ‘normal’ brain is easily distractible, is obsessively social, and suffers from a deficit of attention to detail and routine.’ This is what most people have and must work through, largely using a lineal thought process.

    The neurodivergent brain is not cluttered with social complications, has a finely tuned sense of detail and focus, and is not easily distracted (this is called hyperfocus). Most importantly, it has a tendency towards non-linear thinking (for which, read problem solving).

    Hyperfocus and non-linear thinking have clear and obvious benefits to problem solving in cybersecurity. But neurodivergence is the minority, and like all minorities requires accommodation from the majority in order to flourish.

    The two types of neurodivergence that we shall consider are classified as ADHD and ASD (formerly known as Asperger’s syndrome). It is important to note that there are different types and degrees of ADHD, and that an important (but not defining) difference between ADHD and ASD is the ability to ‘socialize’ within a typical society. Aspects of each classification can also be apparent in the other, but in general, ASD has greater difficulty in social constructs.


    Neurodivergents are capable of long periods of intense concentration on a single subject. This is called hyperfocus. It is possible in neurotypicals, but the focus is likely to be disrupted by social, image and other neurotypical interruptions that will not interrupt the neurodivergent.

    Non-linear thinking

    The concept of non-linear thinking (sometimes described as seeing patterns in things not obviously related) is difficult to grasp – especially for the neurotypical mind. Conceptually (this is not a scientific or clinical explanation) think of it like remembering a connection between two stimuli. In cybersecurity, the memory may be that this incident may be associated with that incident and lead to this outcome.

    The ability to see the relationships comes from memory. Complex memories are based on connections between different memory snippets. If we don’t have those connections in the memory, we can see neither the problem nor its solution. This is neurotypical problem solving – this can lead to this and result in that. If the incident is not within our linear conception, we do not see it.

    The neurodivergent brain does not work like this. It does not rely on known connections stored in memory. Memory is a fog of unrelated incidents that have not been consciously filed as being connected. Nevertheless, the neurodivergent brain can see possible patterns and connections in this much larger fog of incidents and solve problems without being aware of how the solution is achieved.

    The closest parallel for neurotypical brains is the idea of ‘sleeping on a problem’. It is not uncommon to be faced with a problem that is so difficult that we give up – yet wake up the next day knowing there is a simple solution. It is our subconscious that works on and solves the problem – possibly in a non-linear fashion – while we are asleep.

    Accommodating neurodiversity in the security team

    The potential power of harnessing hyperfocus and non-linear problem solving in cybersecurity is obvious. But neurodivergency must be accommodated. The potential for these cybersecurity strengths is not a constant. There will be times where the disadvantages of the conditions are in the ascendency. We’ve all heard the ‘squirrel’ jokes. These can be conceptually accurate but should be considered insensitive (unless both parties are in the same minority). Those periods need to be accepted and helped where possible, and not blindly criticized.

    So understanding is key to employing neurodivergency within the security team.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EU-rahalla tehdään autismitutkimusta, jonka tiedotteet kuulostavat natsien propagandalta – moni autisti ei halua parannusta vaan hyväksyntää

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Asperger’s study asks: Are hackers cognitively different?
    Hackers are frequently assumed to have Asperger’s

    syndrome. Psychologists set out to see if this assumption might be true and studied HOPE and Defcon attendees over 10 years.

    Hackers perceive and experience the world differently than mainstream society, for a lot of reasons. Some people have postulated those reasons may be attributed to neurological conditions, such as Asperger’s Syndrome.

    Other than interviews with convicted hackers (mostly young men in jail), there has been little psychological study done on hackers. This is not surprising, as anyone attempting to learn about hacker culture from the outside will always be met with a predictable wall of mistrust, misinformation, and the subculture’s trademark, guarded secrecy.

    Generally, Schell and her co-researchers focused on the perception of hackers as “strange” and examined hacker conference attendees’ self-reported Autism-spectrum Quotient (AQ) predispositions.

    Interestingly, Asperger’s syndrome had been around for half a century but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that The New York Times Magazine called Asperger’s syndrome “the little professor syndrome.”

    A year later, Wired magazine labeled it “The Geek Syndrome” in an article and ran the Autism Spectrum Quotient test alongside its article. However, only case observation was given in the Wired article, with no empirical proof of its presence in the hacker population.

    Still, it stuck — and resonated. Hackers are commonly believed to have higher degrees of Asperger’s than most in mainstream society, while mental health (and depression) is an acute topic in wider tech culture.

    Asperger’s syndrome is characterized by dysfunctional forms of social skill under-development (lack of empathy is a biggie; the inability to imagine what another person might be feeling), communication difficulties, and obsessive interests. It includes positive traits such as high intelligence, exceptional focus, and specific unique talents, including creative pursuits.

    When asked if they felt there was equal opportunity for women and other visible minorities in both work and hacker culture, 79 percent of the males said yes — while 38 percent of the women agreed. When asked if they had ever been victims of cyberstalking or cyberharassment, the results were surprisingly even: 24/23 percent said yes to stalking, 21/19 percent said yes to harassment (with males as the majority “yes”).

    The survey included the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ), a 50-item set of questions. Their findings showed that about two-thirds of the hackers had AQ scores in the intermediate range, with more guys scoring in the higher range.

    The researchers wrote:

    Considering that the hacker conference attendees’ overall group mean AQ score placed in the intermediate area of the autism spectrum, it seems reasonable to conclude that the bulk of the hacker respondents’ thinking and behaving patterns are seemingly not very different from those choosing careers in computer science, mathematics, and the physical sciences.
    Essentially, the results were middle-ground, with no push toward one extreme of Asperger’s prevalence one way or the other. With these results, saying that most hackers are “on the spectrum” would be a mischaracterization.

    Intense World Syndrome Theory and Aspergers
    According to the study, new research suggests that those labeled as Asperger’s syndrome individuals may not be “unfeeling geeks” or emotionally and socially deficient.

    The Intense World Theory sees the core issue in autism-spectrum disorders as not being a lack of empathy or feeling — but instead these individuals are having a hypersensitivity-to-affective-experience issue.

    Meaning, they feel “too much” in a room full of people and the information comes in too fast than can be comfortably processed. This person would combat social anxiety by focusing on details and switching attention, pulling back in a way that appears to be callous or disengaged but is actually a coping mechanism for overwhelming feelings, and choosing to hide their own.

    Caveat: Data collection at a hacker conference
    Before headlines distort too much of this study as the final word on hacker psychology, keep in mind that this was a very limited data set, pulled from a culture that is comprised of outsiders within a group of outsiders — and that by and large doesn’t really want to talk about itself (outside of accomplishments or sharing knowledge).

    The Hacker Attendee study concluded:

    In short, the dark myth perpetuated in the media that the majority of hackers attending hacker conventions are motivated by revenge, reputation enhancement, and personal financial gain at the expense of others was simply not supported by the data collected. Instead, apart from tending not to read others’ body language cues very easily, the majority of hackers attending conferences seem to feel that this personal liability can be compensated by their keen ability to focus on details in creative ways not commonly found in the general population

    I think the practical conclusion here is that hackers have complicated gifts.


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