Wednesday, January 11, 2012

From Asperger's to Autism: Modern Maladies and Treatments

The public consciousness is a double-edged sword. Every malady gets its fifteen minutes of fame these day, just as Warhol used to say; but when the curtains are down, we have nothing more than a vague impression to hold onto, let alone genuine understanding or an informed and sympathetic perspective.

The vast majority of us have come across the autism spectrum and Asperger's syndrome by now. Implicit in many media reports is an ill-informed assumption that the two differ only in degree and not in kind, like a thin end of a wedge into the brain.

As far as we can tell, autism is a neurological disorder which restricts our innate ability to communicate. Normally, children develops these means in accordance to the instruction in their genetic make-up: even if their sensory organs are severely impaired, as in the case of Helen Keller, a deafblind lecturer, it is still possible for them to get their message across by proxy. For autistic children, however, the assembly directions are probably too garbled for their neurons to establish the proper networks in the first place.

Asperger's syndrome is controversially described as being on the benign end of the autistic spectrum, due to the relative preservation of both linguistic and cognitive functions. Their condition are chiefly characterized by an impaired sense of social interaction, along with repetitive and sometimes restricted behaviour and interests. Stereotypical traits such as physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are neither necessary nor sufficient for a diagnosis.

In general, parents with autistic children are braced for a daunting future compared with the case of Asperger's. But on one hand, there are sporadic reports of so-called "high-functioning autism", of which Dr Temple Grandin is afflicted with; on the other hand, some children are completely debilitated by Asperger's because severe social interaction disabilities are only ever addressed by behavioural therapy and never cured by it.

While there's no elixir to be sought in the annals of science - there may never be one - parents can seek solace in complementary medicine. We use the term because there are vast areas of possible treatments which researchers would have loved to explore if they had more resources. Behavioural, pharmaceutical and dietary changes are all possible candidates.

For instance, two America researchers, Patrick and Salik, recently performed a study on autistic spectrum disorders by prescribing a sizeable daily dosage of fish oils and borage oils to their patients for three months straight. (Borage, aka starflower, is an annual plant originating in Syria.) They didn't really know what to expect, but at the end of the trial, those on the fish oil group displayed demonstrable improvements in both language use and learning abilities.

Wide-ranging effects are seldom good news to statisticians, since their results are compromised by too many factors to reach any definitive conclusions. But if you are still in the dark about what your child is actually afflicted with, it's the best remedy you can get. So give it a shot now, and leave the research to the professionals.

If you're interested in reading more about the health benefits of omega 3s and fish oil supplements, feel free to visit my website where I discuss the truth about omega 3 fish oil and what I personally use to stay healthy and in shape.

You can view my website now by clicking this link:

Article Source:

No comments:

Post a Comment