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Sun Mar 20, 2016, 08:37 PM


An Experimental Autism Treatment Cost Me My Marriage


What happens to your relationships when your emotional perception changes overnight? Because Im autistic, I have always been oblivious to unspoken cues from other people. My wife, my son and my friends liked my unflappable demeanor and my predictable behavior. They told me I was great the way I was, but I never really agreed.

For 50 years I made the best of how I was, because there was nothing else I could do. Then I was offered a chance to participate in a study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. Investigators at the Berenson-Allen Center there were studying transcranial magnetic stimulation, or T.M.S., a noninvasive procedure that applies magnetic pulses to stimulate the brain. It offers promise for many brain disorders. Several T.M.S. devices have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of severe depression, and others are under study for different conditions. (Its still in the experimental phase for autism.) The doctors wondered if changing activity in a particular part of the autistic brain could change the way we sense emotions. That sounded exciting. I hoped it would help me read people a little better....

Before the T.M.S., I had fantasized that the emotional cues I was missing in my autism would bring me closer to people. The reality was very different. The signals I now picked up about what my fellow humans were feeling overwhelmed me. They seemed scared, alarmed, worried and even greedy. The beauty I envisioned was nowhere to be found....

And the hardest thing: It cost me a marriage. When I met my former wife (a decade before the T.M.S.), she was seriously depressed. Shed accepted my autistic even keel, and I accepted her often quiet sadness. I never really felt her depression, so we complemented each other. She could read other people much better than I could, and I relied on her for that.

A dear friend who is Autistic just had a reaction to TMS so negative she has hospitalized herself.

And at least he had a marriage.

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Reply An Experimental Autism Treatment Cost Me My Marriage (Original post)
KamaAina Mar 2016 OP
CamCake Mar 2016 #1
mapol Sep 2019 #2

Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Sun Mar 27, 2016, 04:29 AM

1. The comment section in that article is shaking. I don't know if this treatment is a good thing

or not. Thank you for posting it, though. I would like to do more follow up on it. Can you give a general idea of what some of the negative reactions are? Nothing too personal about your friend, I would just appreciate some general clues. Do the effects stay or are they transient, things like that?

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 11:13 AM

2. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a poorly-understood biologically-based neurological developmt problem

The fact that a hospital such as Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which is a teaching hospital affiliated with a famous Medical School such as Harvard's could offer such an experimental study/treatment program for autism, in the hopes of a supposed "cure" for Autism Spectrum Disorder, thereby attracting desperate people who, due to such poor understanding on the part of neurotypical people, is rather disconcerting--and horrible, for that matter. The fact that this experimental treatment for his autism cost the man his marriage and his family is even more horrific. There's still too much of an intolerance and lack of acceptance in our society, and throughout the world of autism and people afflicted with it for the good of our society and the world, generally. It's rather obvious, imho, that this treatment is not a good thing, at all.

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