Response to gkhouston (Reply #4)
Mon Jul 16, 2012, 11:58 AM
proverbialwisdom (4,716 posts)
6. For example, were I to post this some SMALL#WHO SAW might strongly attempt to shout down discussion.
Last edited Tue Jul 17, 2012, 10:17 AM - Edit history (2)
Or so DU history would suggest. IMO, it is a bad idea that EVERY such post be easily alerted to those who inexplicably and vociferously attack these scientists and their work. Minority voices merit protection. The feature should be voluntary. Participation should be my choice. I think posting could rapidly become tediously repetitive (answering criticism), otherwise.
WHY ARENíT WE THERE YET? Valuable but incomplete measures of brain changes in babies with autism
In my opinion the recent research paper, Differences in White Matter Fiber Tract Development Present from 6 to 24 Months in Infants with Autism (Am J Psychiatry 2012 ; 169 :589-600), reports a very important finding and represents a huge amount of work, but the study is quite incomplete both in what was chosen to be measured and how the findings are interpreted by the investigators, Jason Wolff et al. Moreover, even though this study has been touted in the news as a way of detecting autism early, it really isnít ready for prime time as a clear indicator of the autism diagnosis. I think this finding is about things that occur downstream of other biological factors that are driving these changes. Ė And because these changes are downstream, they are fuzzier in that they reflect a mixture of lots of other influences. This makes it hard for them to clearly demarcate risk from lack of risk. Measuring whatís upstream might bring us closer to a clinically useful brain measure of autism risk in young infants.
Because I am a brain researcher, I spend a lot of time thinking about different techniques to measure things in the brain. Let me explain to you why people study things like this, what was measured in this study, and what it means. Then Iíll be able to explain to you why this study is both important and incomplete.
4. What can we do about this? First of all, the concerned public needs to understand what this is about and put this paper into a broader perspective. Second, the concerned public and scientists need to understand the assumptions they are making (like that autism is fundamentally social), and that other defensible assumptions (like that underlying biology produces social ďsymptomsĒ) may provide useful insights. THEN we need to get the research done that will produce truly whole-body, whole systems data about the brain, the brain in the body and the brain-body system in the world. That is my own research agenda, and the agenda of my research program, the TRANSCEND Research Program. My group and others with similar approaches need to network together so we can get this complex task done in a coordinated, efficient and timely fashion to more directly address the public health crisis that autism represents.
And last but not least -or rather of first and highest priority, while that is going on we need to use the knowledge we already have about whole body strategies for making life all it can be to create an Autism Revolution that helps large numbers of people right now.
Blog by Martha R. Herbert, PhD, MD, Posted July 15, 2012
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For example, were I to post this some SMALL#WHO SAW might strongly attempt to shout down discussion.
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