Article: Higher perceptual capacity in autism can be both strength and challenge

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A great article in Spectrum News (originally on The Conversation) on the greater perceptual capacity of those on the spectrum. From a Stress Perspective this amplification occurs in only part of the spectrum, or may only be managed by select few (splinters skills are said to be seen as around 10% of the spectrum). This is certainly fascinating for my typical explanation to people about my experience of autism being a condition of “too much information”…

I particularly liked this paragraph:

Understanding that differences in attention might be due to this extra capacity, rather than an inability to filter out irrelevant information, can change the way we understand the condition and how we might intervene to help those who are struggling.

The intervention suggestion would to include methods of distraction, such as listening to music while reading.  This is consistent with my experience of needing to do other things in order to pay attention in classrooms and boardrooms. And previous research on doodling and fidgeting.  I would go on to suggest, since we are looking at ways to prevent meltdowns as well as sensory distractions. That we continue to look at the ways to manage this over-adaptation to stress (in creative populations), such as proper timing of breaks, sensory soothers, reducing toxic noise/light/radiation and looking at reducing immune activation or other inflammation challenges.

Read first paragraphs below or see full article on Spectrum News or the original full version on THE CONVERSATION

Article:

Higher perceptual capacity in autism can be both strength and challenge

by ,  /  16 May 2017

A group of friends is sitting in the garden chatting – only one person hears the ice cream van in the distance. That one person has autism. He is also able to hear the buzzing of electricity in the walls and sometimes finds it overwhelming to be in a noisy environment. The ConversationtheConversation-logo

Our most recent work, published in Cognition, suggests why that might be the case: People on the spectrum can take in more sounds at any given moment than neurotypical people can.

Over the past few years, there has been growing awareness that sensory experiences are different in autism. What is also becoming clear, however, is that different doesn’t mean worse. There are many reports of people with autism doing better than those without the condition on visual and auditory tasks. For example, compared with typical people, those with autism spot more continuity errors in videos and are much more likely to have perfect pitch.

Source. Read more…

PsychologyToday: Sex Hormone Secrets

This article from Psychology Today is an excellent primary on Personality and the dimorphic Sex Hormones.

Here are a few highlights from the article:

“For men and women alike, sex hormones (including testosterone, produced by the testes, and estrogen, from the ovaries) are power players in myriad human abilities and behaviors. Language, cognition, libido, and health all fluctuate as hormone levels change. Yet the impact is nuanced and often counterintuitive. Testosterone revs aggression in status-hungry men, but has little effect in more laid-back souls. Estrogen has long been thought to keep memory sharp before menopause—but for women who start taking estrogen supplements years after going through menopause, the result may be memory problems instead. Finally, just as sex hormones influence behavior, changing situations often modulate the hormones. “The causal arrow between hormones and behavior points in both directions,” says University of Nevada anthropologist Peter Gray. The subject is complex and often confusing. But given the common manipulation of sex hormones through prescription drugs and supplements, unraveling their hidden forces has never been more critical.”

“The ability to read a map or engineer a bridge isn’t due to gender per se, but rather to the way sex hormones influence the structure and function of the brain. Before we’re even born, testosterone in the womb influences development of brain regions handling spatial tasks. And as adults, optimum levels of testosterone and estrogen hone these skills yet again. In animals, there is a direct relationship between testosterone and spatial ability—for humans, that’s not the case.”

“Testosterone steers written language—and presumably, the writer—away from social connections but not necessarily toward anger or preoccupation with sex.

The findings are in line with a host of other studies showing Low-T guys and gals provide us with social glue. Testosterone tends to be low in family men raising children and high in single men playing the field. “Lower levels of testosterone may increase the likelihood men will stay home and care for their wives and kids and decrease the likelihood they will go out drinking with the guys and chasing other women,” says Harvard anthropologist Peter T. Ellison, who has studied the phenomenon for years.”

Read the entire article here “The Sex Hormone Secrets”:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200701/the-sex-hormone-secrets

Additional Reading “The End of Sex as We Know It” from the Dana Institute by Elizabeth Norton Lasley, and Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D..

http://www.dana.org/Cerebrum/2005/The_End_of_Sex_as_We_Know_It

 

Individual Stress and Exercise

I stumbled upon some great exercise research today by PhD candidate Nikos Margaritelis at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki who studies redox individuality that exemplifies our individual responses to stress. That 1/3 of us respond very little, another 1/3 responds by an improvement in oxidative responses and 1/3 respond by a decrease in oxidative response (glutathione is that channel they studied, they measured via F2-isoprostanes and protein carbonyls). The research was a great reinforcement for when i discuss how we are individuals in our responses to stress and furthermore, and probably more importantly, that by studying the mean response, or the average individual, we are being VERY mislead by research.

Continue reading “Individual Stress and Exercise”

Autistic Traits and Experiences in “Love and Mercy” The Brian Wilson Story

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Utensils, noise, stress and autistic meltdowns

I watched a fantastic movie over the weekend. “Love and Mercy” the Brian Wilson biopic. It tells the story of Brian Wilson, the creative soul behind the Beach Boys. It is worth watching on so many levels. Actress Elizabeth Banks portrays his love interest interrupting the abusive cycle of Brain’s therapist Dr. Landy, played by the ever brilliant Paul Giamatti. This intervention exemplified the pain and intensity of breaking free of an abuser. The trials of the disabled to brave the journey back to oneself.

Continue reading “Autistic Traits and Experiences in “Love and Mercy” The Brian Wilson Story”