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Independence Can Help

  • Posted on February 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Results from a recent study reveal a not-so-surprising conclusion with two different primary points:

For adults with autism, having the chance to work somewhat independently may lead to a reduction in symptoms of the disorder, a new study suggests.

The research puts new emphasis on the potential for adults with autism to develop and improve over their lifetimes, said study author Julie Lounds Taylor, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. (emphasis added)

Basically, researchers are discovering that autism symptoms are not static, even long after the supposed recovery period touted by many children’s therapy promoters. Adults with autism can make substantial, life-changing gains when given the chance. Even less surprisingly, that chance comes in part by the growth of independence, when that growing independence is properly supported and when the source of that independence involves “the right fit between a person’s abilities and interests and a specific job.”

I knew that! I live that!

Yes, yes, I know research is an important aspect of proving that to the world. But, as the parent of three children with autism, I know that their growth and development isn’t over just because they’ve outgrown the “recovery phase” that was drilled into my head when they were young. I also know that the way to further their abilities is to give the opportunities to pursue their interests, with support. So, I’m glad the researchers are looking and finding what I and many other autism parents have learned by living.

A Scientific Link

  • Posted on October 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM

I’ve listened to many parents and many people with autism describe their experiences. I’ve listened to them describe how and when symptoms first appear. I’ve listened to them ruminate on experiences prior to the recognition of autism, noting that autism symptoms began much earlier in some cases, but not in all. I also recognized that “autism” is a label based on behavioral—i.e. psychological—observations, but evidence indicates that autism is most likely neurological in nature. I deduced that what we call “autism” is probably many different things, with different causes, different treatments, different prognoses, and different complications.

It seems I was right:

People with autism are ?regularly lumped together and treated as a single group. But the world’s largest genetic study of the condition “shows that autism is many different diseases,” says Stanley Nelson, a professor of genetics and psychiatry at UCLA who collaborated on the investigation. “That insight should greatly enlighten how we think about autism and attempt to treat it.”

As the researchers reported last July, the mutations associated with autism fall all over the map. “If 100 different kids with autism walked into a clinic,” Nelson says, “chances are they’d have 100 different genetic aberrations.”

If this doesn’t change how autism research is conducted, then perhaps this will:

  • Dr. Carla Shatz studies neuroplasticity.
  • She discovered that MHC1 is an important protein in brain plasticity.
  • This discovery was made, in part, because she didn’t “know” that MHC1 couldn’t possibly exist in the brain.
  • You see, MHC1 is typically part of our immune response. Immune responses don’t pass beyond the blood-brain barrier in healthy brains.
  • In the brain, MHC1 serves a different purpose, pruning cells as part of neuroplasticity.
  • Imprecise pruning may be a key factor leading to what we call autism.

Research also indicates a connection between immune disorders and autism, and this may be the key to that connection. This might also explain the connection between autism and schizophrenia, both of which seem to involve imprecise pruning of synapses. Dr. Shatz research may lead to the ability to exert external control on how synapses are pruned, which could help people with a range of neurological challenges, from Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s, from autism to schizophrenia, from stroke to brain injuries.

This still leaves us with the question: How much of this should we try to do? Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. More on this next week.

A Guest Is Coming

  • Posted on May 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Perhaps it’s too early to be saying this, since I haven’t gotten confirmation of when the first post will be ready, but I have a guest blogger coming.  I hope to put her first post up on Monday.

I haven’t done much with guest bloggers in the past, but I strongly believe that a key ingredient to productive dialogue is to get two or more people with different points of view to discuss their similarities and differences in a respectful manner.  The objective is not to change people’s minds, but to expand them: to fill in gaps of knowledge we may not even know we have, to correct misinformation we think is true, to share different points of view, and to find—if possible—middle ground we can walk together, and, when that’s not possible, to agree to disagree on those things we disagree on and to agree to cooperate on those things we agree on.

Granted, this is not always possible.  I remember all too well some of the recent debacles in exchanging points of view in the greater autism community.  But I believe I’ve found a stimulating guest who is genuinely interested in sharing her knowledge and learning from those who respond—both “ingredients” are necessary, I think.

She’s a researcher.  She’s “for” curing autism, though what she means by that may not be what I (we?) assume she means by that.  She’s also “for” neurodiversity, though, again, what she means by that may not be what I (we?) mean by that.  Really, she’s for improving the lives of those with autism, and she wants to learn—from parents and people with autism—what that means and what it doesn’t mean.  And that, if nothing else, is something we have in common.  How we view the issues of autism may be different, and I already know that some of them are, but our hope (though, not necessarily our goals) is similar.  That’s something we can build upon.

How this will work, then, is for me to post (unedited) her point of view.  Moderated discussion will ensue (I hope): no disrespectful, mean, derogatory, or troll-like comments allowed.  You can disagree.  You can disagree adamantly.  But do so respectfully, on topic—and definitely not “on person.”  Then, I’ll respond in a post of my own.  This exchange will go back and forth—we’re not sure how long.  We’ll see how it goes.  Again, comments will be moderated.  Be respectful and civil and you’ll get through.  Be a spammer or a troll, and you won’t.  I hope you enjoy this new endeavor!

Prevalence Rising

  • Posted on April 13, 2012 at 8:00 AM

According to the CDC, 1 in 88 children in the US have been identified with autism spectrum disorder.  These numbers come from 2000 and 2008 (i.e., they’re already old in comparison to some more recent studies using different, more timely methodologies in other locations), and are compared with the 1 in 110 that dates from 1998.  While none of the prevalence estimates I’ve seen have lined up exactly, this trend towards more people with autism (versus less people with autism) seems consistent.

To my knowledge, there’s no one way to account for the increase.  Increased awareness and assessment is certainly part of it.  Parents are able, without as much difficulty, to persevere until they get a diagnosis, which wasn’t always the case.  How much awareness and access to diagnostic assessment impacts these numbers is beyond my skill to deduce, but I doubt it can account for all of it.

Theories to account for this increase have included environmental and other man-made variables, such as vaccine poisoning.  Vaccine theories don’t hold up with the continued increase, however, which suggests a combination of environmental and genetic causes.

In the past, I’ve made it clear (or tried to) that I’m not overly interested in the causes of autism.  This doesn’t change that.  Whatever the cause or causes, my children are who they are, and they deserve to be treated as human beings, and they deserve to be accommodated and accepted as who they are right now.

They are not broken.  They don’t need to be fixed and they certainly don’t deserve to be devalued because they don’t measure up to some misguided perception of normal or perfection.  I know the research into causation will continue.  I know that we will look for the environmental triggers and genetic factors that may align in such a way as to cause autism.  However that manifests, we must not forget that 1 in 88 isn’t just a statistic.  We’re talking about people.

What Can We Do?

  • Posted on February 17, 2012 at 8:00 AM

On January 31, the Autism Society of America and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network issued a joint statement condemning the proposed changes to the autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in the DSM-V.  Along with this united statement, I’ve read articles, posts, and other statements that have convincingly implied (or stated outright) that the proposed changes are motivated by politics, not science.

I’m not going to rehash these arguments in an effort to try to convince those who support the proposed changes not to do so; nor am I going to try to convince those who are undecided to stand against these politically-motivated changes.  Plenty of people are doing that already.

What I would like to do is act.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure what can be done.  So, instead, I’m going to ask:

What can we do about it?

Scanning Mice Brains

  • Posted on January 23, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Okay, so I get that it is unethical to kick off medical experiments on people before we have some assurance of their safety.  I get that.  I’m onboard with that.

But, creating autistic mice?  Really?  First, that which we call “autism” is a collection of observed behaviors.  Most observable human behaviors can have multiple causes.  Just because you can recreate a facsimile of those observed behaviors in mice doesn’t mean there’s any causal relationship between what you did to the mice and what happens in a normal, naturally-developing autistic human.  That seems pretty obvious to me.

So what is the scientific value of scanning the brains of these artificially created autistic mice?

I totally get testing out the scanning technology to make sure it works.  I also see the value of the scanning technology; I suspect it’s going to help researchers gain a better understanding of the working differences between so-called “normal” brains and autistic brains.  (Though, I disagree with these researchers starting with the assumption of pathology or wrongness.)

But what conclusions can we really draw from scanning the brains of mice which scientists have manipulated to demonstrate autistic-like behaviors?  Do these scientists really think they’re going to gain insight into naturally-occurring human autism by scanning the brains of these mice?

Am I missing something?  Really, if you understand this leap of logic, which to me seems like driving off a cliff versus jumping to a different level of reasoning, please share!

On another note, this seems a bit more promising:

This type of finding—an inherited difference that cannot be explained by variations in genes themselves—has become increasingly common, in part because scientists now know that genes are not the only authors of inheritance. There are ghostwriters, too.

It also adds another layer of significance to our daily lives. A number of environmental factors, from nutrients to temperature to chemicals, are capable of altering gene expression, and those factors that manage to penetrate germline chromatin and escape reprogramming could, in theory, be passed on to our children and possibly our grandchildren.

Given the elusive nature of inherited epigenetic modifications, it seems that, despite decades of investigation, scientists remain on the brink of understanding. The possibilities, however, seem endless, even with the constraint that, to be inherited, epigenetic modifications must affect gene expression in the germline, a feat that even genetic mutations rarely accomplish. But with the skyrocketing prevalence of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and autism, which have no clear genetic etiology in the majority of cases, as Brunet pointed out, “It seems that all complex processes are affected by epigenetics.

While scientists continue to search for definitive evidence of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans, the implications so far suggest that are our lifestyles and what we eat, drink, and breathe may directly affect the genetic health of our progeny.”

What can I say?  I like it when scientists discover that what they knew wasn’t all there was to be known.  This is the science that attracted me so much in my childhood:  Science as exploration and discovery, not science as a god or using science to “prove” politically- or ideologically-motivated beliefs.

The idea that nurture might affect nature as a ghostwriter appeals to me.  Our lives are not predetermined by the genetic makeup of our ancestors, but products of on-going choices that echo through generations.  And we just might have a scientific way to study a portion of that phenomenon.

Retraction: Interview with Stephen Roberts from The Dark Fiction Spotlight

  • Posted on January 10, 2011 at 1:02 PM

On October 26, 2010, I wrote a scathing post about The Dark Fiction Spotlight for hosting an autism anthology that stated in the guidelines, “Anything that will offend Autism Speaks will offend me and will not be considered.”

I didn’t really expect a response from the magazine.  I certainly didn’t expect the response that I received from Stephen Roberts:

I stumbled upon this blog by chance and it pains me that this is the image you’ve gained of myself, my associations and my magazine, The Dark Fiction Spotlight.

I wish to tell you about the autism anthology that will never be. 

[You read the rest of the comment here.]

Well, to say the least, this required a retraction.  But I was curious.  I wanted to know more.  So, I contacted Stephen Roberts, and was granted an interview.

You stopped participating in the autism anthology you were working on with Autism Speaks.  Where did this project come about and what ultimately made you make the decision to pull out of the project?

Well, to be honest, I’m new to the politics and such of autism. All I knew was what I learned from my nephews as I watched them grow. I was tapped by a publishing company preparing to launch that was to be run by a good friend of mine and she said she wanted to do the occasional charity anthology, to which I immediately thought of autism and my nephews.

Once announced, I received a great deal of support from the literary community, but also an outcry as to whom I’d associated myself with and more so my nephews, as they were to be involved in the cover art.

I immediately hit the web and started looking up every forum on autism I could and I found out that autism speaks.org didn’t represent my views on autism to say the least.

You are still interested in pursuing a similar project.  What are you looking for in recipients to the funds you raise?

I would still love to do something to help out the families touched by autism, namely the education of children and even the continued education of adults. I have found that many people write off those with autism, whereas all they need is a bit of patience from us to show us how brilliant they are.

I’m open to collaborate with somebody that has the vision and perhaps even the connections to get the funds earned to the proper place.

I also feel like we need more sites that represent the community of those touched by autism and not just the same biochemical explanations. More communication, less misinformation.

You are helping your sister raise your nephews, who have diagnoses of autism.  How has that changed or shaped your views on autism? 

Frankly, I knew little to nothing about autism several years ago, but when my oldest nephew was diagnosed (he’s 8-years-old now, his brother is 6-years-old), I sort of understood it, but mostly just did what I had to do for them on a day to day basis. I know their autistic, but to me they’ve never been “special” or hindered by anything.

I guess we (my family) must be doing something right, as their schools consider them to be gifted and they grow both socially and academically in leaps and bounds. 

What do you consider the most important areas for research in autism?

Again, to me I believe it to be all about education. Isn’t it a magical idea that my nephews could be given a shot that would immediately “fix them”, giving them perfect speech and altered personalities?

I do not mean to insult anybody on their views, but I just personally feel that education is key to the benefit of an autistic child as to ensure a healthy and prosperous adulthood.

I’m always open to learn more about the study of autism and welcome all opinions and websites to learn from.

If you had the opportunity to interact autistic adults, what would you most like to learn from them?

 If I could ask anything, it would be what I can potentially look forward to in the growth of my nephews. I’d love to know their views on the political stances taken on autism and the politicians who seem to be asking everyone but them.

I know that autism doesn’t make you “slow” or anything to the like, but in fact simply one who views this world from a different perspective. That’s something special in itself and anybody should want to converse and learn from them.

I hold my nephews to the highest of standards as far as their futures go and I’d just love to be able to know the stories of others and what they’ve achieved as individuals. Much like how a high school student might want to know what to expect in college, I’d just love to see what’s next. 

What change do you consider most important in how we, as a society and a world, address the challenges presented by autism?

I think we all just need to listen more. For one, I think that the whole puzzle piece symbolism is absolutely insulting. I don’t know if this is the consensus of the community, but once I really thought about it I didn’t like it. It implies that they’re not human or just don’t fit with us as a society.

What I’ve seen with my nephew’s teachers is that patience is key; all students are different, but they will tell you what they need if you’re willing to listen. No assumptions, no exceptions. 

For my readers who also write speculative fiction, can you give any tips on how to break into The Dark Fiction Spotlight?  (Also, do you have any idea when submissions will open again?)

Well, I wouldn’t say it takes much more than a love for your craft and the darker side of fiction to fit in with us folk. We’re open to most concepts as long as it’s dark in nature and the only thing we do not like are those who don’t take writing seriously.

We as a group do not believe in writing to be a hobby anymore than it is a talent to be born with. All the best writers I know don’t sleep some nights as their so obsessed with their craft.  Unhealthy? Perhaps. Does it pay off at times? Yes.

But all in all, Daniel, Stacy, Thadd and I are pretty easy folks to work with, at least I think so.

Unfortunately The Dark Fiction Spotlight is on hiatus, but not in a negative sense. We’re developing a solid game plan to take our 4theluv/contest money e-zine and evolving it into a print/digital magazine at pro rates. This is something we take very seriously and do not wish to rush just yet. We’re also considering anthologies, contests and things to the like on the site until said launch, so please do keep in touch with us and or visit the site to see what’s going on.

The site:

www.thedarkfiction.com

TDFS submissions/query e-mail:

tdfspublication.subs@gmail.com

While I cannot apologize for my gut reaction, I sincerely apologize to Stephen Roberts, The Dark Fiction Spotlight, and my readers for not researching the proposed anthology more extensively.  I know I’ll be check in with The Dark Fiction Spotlight from time to time, and I hope you do as well.  And I hope Stephen Roberts gets to edit the anthology he was hoping for!

Mommy Minder, Mommy Finder

  • Posted on January 3, 2011 at 8:00 AM

There are a few in the autism community that thoroughly investigate any studies they find interesting.  I’m not one of those.  But once in a while I do find a study that strikes a chord with me.  I don’t latch onto that study as gospel truth, but I do reflect on it once found.

One such study relates to visual skills.

Children with autism may lack certain visual skills needed to be independent in adulthood, new study findings suggest.

For example, they might find it harder than other adults to find shoes in the bedroom or apples in the supermarket, according to researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

The study authors asked 20 children with autism and 20 typical children to press buttons to find a hidden target among multiple illuminated locations in a room. One side of the room had more targets than the other side.

The children with autism took longer to recognize patterns in the test structure that would help them choose where to search for the targets. The findings suggest that the ability to search for objects in a large-scale environment is less efficient and less systematic in children with autism compared to typical children, the researchers pointed out in a university news release.

Personally, I’m a little skeptical that the findings (concerning finding hidden targets in multiple illuminated locations) can be generalized to finding shoes or apples, or that the delays in these skills identified in autistic children necessitates a similar lacking in autistic adults.  However, it does strike a chord with me.

One responsibility that seems to be primarily mine in my household of men is keeping track of things and finding them once they go missing.  To me, it’s always seemed to be a skill of thoroughness.  You put things back into their place, and when they’re not there you look everywhere until you find it.  But, perhaps, there’s more to it than that.

Perhaps I am able to identify things in a manner that my husband and children cannot.  Whether it’s a perceptual ability or a skill, I don’t know.  I mean, if you literally cannot see what you’re looking for—and by see, I mean differentiate the object you’re looking for among the clutter—, then how can you find it?  But, perhaps it is a skill.  Perhaps it is one of those skills that neurotypical individuals (and some neurodiverse individuals like myself) pick up more or less naturally to the extent that they don’t know how to teach it to those who do not acquire the skill in a similar manner.

It’s worth some thought.  Perhaps if I spent less time being annoyed that I am expected to know where everything is even after they’ve moved them and more time helping them develop this skill of minding and finding that I take somewhat for granted, then perhaps we would all be better off. 

On the other hand, from what I’ve heard from other mothers (and not just mothers of autistic kids), this seems to be a common complaint among women.  Perhaps it’s a male/female thing.  I mean, if the study didn’t account for the imbalance between boys and girls with diagnoses of autism, but had a balance between boys and girls in their typical peer group, then perhaps the difference they recorded could be less about typical/autistic development and more about male/female development.

So, what do you think?  Is it a skill or an ability?  Is it related to autism or something else?

Offending Autism Speaks

  • Posted on October 26, 2010 at 2:16 AM

Okay, so I didn’t intend to take a break from my bullying series until I’d finished with it.  But, I think this is worth it.

For those who don’t know, I am a professional writer—a professional writer at the beginning of my career, but a professional writer nonetheless.  I write full-time.  I make money.  I have been professionally published.  I’m writing two novels and a non-fiction book, along with many other shorter projects.  I market my skills to local businesses (and sometimes not-so-local businesses) and I get paid well for my work.

My point is that I have many interests.  One of the interests I’m resurrecting, after years of studying business, is my fiction.  I’ve neglected my fiction sorely over the last decade of child-bearing, autism-diagnosing, and degree-getting.  Now it’s time for that passion to be re-born.

While I make some effort to keep my variety of interests separate, there is some overlap.  The main character of one of my novels is rather Aspie-ish.  (Though, I’m not going to call her an Aspie—if, for no other reason, then because she’s a fairy.)  My other novel, which is being co-written by a friend of mine, has strong “outsider” themes.  My non-fiction book melds my interests in autism and business and confronts one point where those interests overlap.

Then, there are other, less pleasant, intersections.

I receive many newsletters for writers, including Writing World.  I scan the articles and choose which ones I’ll read in detail.  One I chose to read in detail was about dark fiction markets, written by C. M. Saunders.  This article recommended The Dark Fiction Spotlight as a token-paying market that publishes dark fiction.  So, I checked it out.  As I was scanning pages on the website I found a sub-tab called “Anthology for Autism.” 

Hmm, I thought.  Now, that could be cool!  I have an idea of for a short story that is both dark, science fiction and involving an autistic main character.  The story isn’t written; it’s one of many projects that has been postponed due to time-constraints.  But, I figured if there’s actually a market for it…

So, I started reading about this anthology, and it starts with:

About Autism Speaks:

Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and look forward to continued successes in the years ahead.

Oh, dear.  It didn’t look quite so promising any more.  But, I kept reading.  Maybe they’re open-minded.  But, then…

I repeat:

Anything that will offend Autism Speaks will offend me and will not be considered.

Honestly, my story would definitely offend Autism Speaks.  And, frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I remember trying to interview someone at Autism Speaks once.  It didn’t go well.  It wasn’t even an advocacy piece, but that didn’t matter.  Even a piece designed to inform parents of their information options offended the Autism Speaks representative I spoke with.  They were only willing to participate if they had full control over what I wrote, which is an ethical no-no in the journalism world.

So, I took a break from my bullying series to warn my fellow speculative fiction writers and autism advocates that The Dark Fiction Spotlight or Lady Luck Publishing might not be publishers you want to patronize or write for.  As much as I hate to write off potential markets, I won’t be pursuing any opportunities with them.

* * *

For those who read this blog and don’t already know, this last part provides reasons why such an affiliation with Autism Speaks requires me to boycott this company and it’s zines.

In a sense, all of this is about bullying. 

Autism Speaks claims they exist to advocate for families with autism, but only 4% of the donations goes to those families.  They fund research, and one of their major projects seeks a way to diagnose autism in utero, which is a form of eugenics.

That is why I disagree with Autism Speaks’ agenda.  But that, in and of itself, does not warrant boycotting (though it is why I would not donate to their organization).

Autism Speaks goes even further than this.  Autism Speaks is an organization that intentionally spreads fear and despair.  They use advertisements that amount to hate speech against autistics.  They encourage parents to fantasize on camera about killing their autistic children, and use this as a reason why autistics should be eliminated from society.

They use “Autism Speaks” as their name to claim that they speak for autistics; they don’t.  Autistics can and do speak for themselves, like these protesters.  On the site for the anthology, there’s this branding slogan: “Autism Speaks. It’s time to listen.”  Autistics, in return, says: “Autism Speaks needs to listen.”  Instead, Autism Speaks actively tries to silence those not in agreement with their eugenics agenda.

If this wasn’t bad enough, they engage in unethical business practices.  They mislead donors as they raise funds for their research.  They try to control media elements, as they did when I tried to interview one of their representatives.  And they bully their way through politics and the social landscape.  Their message is clear:  If you don’t feel bad (or even homicidal) about having an autistic child, then there’s something wrong with you, because autism has stolen your child’s soul.  (Yes, the soul-stealing is paraphrased, but with their very words one of their representatives has used.)

As an organization, Autism Speaks is a bully—a well-funded, politically powerful bully that believes that eugenics is the solution to autism.  And that offends me.  They use their size and their wealth to attempt to stomp out disagreement.

And they create anthologies where one point of view is all that can be expressed, because they don’t want their audience to become aware of differing points of view.

That offends me.  Autism Speaks offends me.  As a business person who believes in ethical business practices and as a parent of three children with diagnoses of autism, Autism Speaks offends me.  And I cannot write honestly and not offend them in turn.

I wouldn’t change that even if I could.

Kudos to The Chicago Tribune!

  • Posted on November 25, 2009 at 2:20 PM

I saw a headline I just had to read:

Autism treatments: Risky alternative therapies have little basis in science

Alternative therapies amount to uncontrolled experimentation on children, investigation finds

The article starts with a little boy whose parents are currently involved in a bitter custody battle.  One parent, the mother, is subjecting the boy to a “complex treatment regimen” that involves the child taking many pills, being injected with vitamin B12, receiving intravenous infusions of a drug used to leach mercury and other metals from the body, as well as taking megadoses of vitamin C, a hormone and a drug that suppresses testosterone.  The father opposes these treatments.

Unfortunately, this little boy is not alone.

But after reviewing thousands of pages of court documents and scientific studies and interviewing top researchers in the field, the Tribune found that many of these treatments amount to uncontrolled experiments on vulnerable children.

The therapies often go beyond harmless New Age folly, the investigation found. Many are unproven and risky, based on scientific research that is flawed, preliminary or misconstrued. (Tsouderos & Callahan)

And here’s where the kudos comes in.  Sure, as a parent of three children on the spectrum, I’ve heard about all of this.  I know these therapies are opportunistic bunk.  Yet, I still read articles in otherwise respectable periodicals promoting all this bunk.  And here is the Chicago Tribune devoting precious reporting time and significant space in their newspaper to debunking the bunk.  To say I’m impressed is, well, an understatement.  They just might get a subscription out of this!

Also noteworthy:  This article links to these FAQs which states, among other things, that while researchers at John Hopkins have noted neuroinflammation in their studies of autistic brains that this should not be used as a reason for treating people with autism with anti-inflammatory medications, which the researchers fear might happen.

Read this to find out more:

Autism treatment: Science hijacked to support alternative therapies

Researchers' fears about misuse of their work come true

So, I’m pleased with the reporting going on at The Chicago Tribune at the moment, which I find particularly pleasing because this newspaper seems to have close ties to the graduate school I intend to attend.