“Are Autism and Schizophrenia at Opposite Ends of a Brain Disorder Spectrum?” Comments, Page 1

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11 Comments (2 Discussion Threads) on “Are Autism and Schizophrenia at Opposite Ends of a Brain Disorder Spectrum?”

  1. Ya know. I had my first (and so far only) bout of hypo-mania a couple of years back, and I arrived at the same conclusion. Although my “hypothesis” was wholly unscientific, it simply seemed to make sense that the behaviors I exhibited (ridiculous socializing, inability to focus on anything, elevated mood etc.) were dialectically opposed to autistic behavior. I’m glad I stumbled across this journal article. It’s quite interesting stuff.

  2. I just met a girl who I am discovering is very likely schizophrenic. She is very intelligent 33 year old who speaks passionately of her work with autistic children. so here’s another connection, no?

  3. My son has been diagnosed with autism/asperger syndrome since he was 8 years old. Now at age 25 he is also diagnosed with schizophrenia! (Though looking back I’d say he’s had psychotic type symptoms for quite some time.)

    So if they are opposite sides of the same spectrum how can he have both?!?! Very confusing!

  4. I’m not sure how this answer will be taken, but as an energetic hands on healer I tend to tune into the energy fields of people around me. Sometimes this has been kind of a curse in some ways. I use to work on a psychiatric unit as a Nurse. Some of the things I picked up from clients:

    Schizoaffective: I was sitting next to this client and he was talking with his mother. There was another client on my other side I was talking with. Somehow I tuned into him and he felt as if his mind was thick dark sludge with a mumbling voice in the left back hemisphere.

    Catatonic: A female came onto the unit, she had been there many times, and the catatonia is a component of her schizophrenia. After the unwilling connection with the schizoaffective client I decided to try connecting with this client. I found her mind to be dark, quiet, and peaceful almost in a resting state one may say. I tried to visualize a small candle light in her mind and bring her consciousness to it. When she came out of the catatonic state, her family said this was the first time she came out of it so fast.

    Hypo-manic: A student nurse came on to the unit, at this time I worked as the unit secretary. I had to ask the charge nurse to have the student nurse remain on the unit with the clients and out of the desk area. Every time he came near his energy felt like billions of ping-pong balls going off in every direction at high velocity.

    I have many more examples besides these. Even encounters of spiritual nature.

  5. I have a 8 year-old grandson who has been with opposite disorder. He is in counseling. He knows he has anger issues. He has meltdowns which involving screaming angrily. He has punched holes in his (hollow) bedroom door when sent to his room.

    My husband is a 68 year-old who was diagnosed with Pick’s disease in 1997. He is in a full care facility now. I am concerned about a genetic link. He is 3rd in line of 6 siblings and there is no known history of Pick’s.

    I also have concerns re my daughter. She has been verbally & emotionally abusive to me. She lives in the Dakotas and while I enjoyed a lovely 8-day visit in July, I just returned from a 8-day visit over Christmas. She can be so loving and warm, but can change to become very critical and unpleasant toward me. I’ve thought it to be a result of my husband’s terrible diagnosis, but now am concerned about her personality (disorder). She has had counseling and is taking an antidepressant (as far as I know) presently, but I cannot discuss this with her as she becomes very defensive (understandably I guess).

    My question, I guess, is can my grandson’s problems and my daughters unpleasant behavior toward me, be due to some genetic component related to my husband’s disease? In his unit at his nursing home there’s a resident a few years younger than him that has Pick’s disease whose father died of Pick’s. I am very concerned for the relationship between my daughter and myself. I’ve been seeing a counselor since my husband’s diagnosis and am being treated for depression and anxiety with medications and am doing quite well.

  6. The crucial data about autism is that its incidence is doubling every 4 years.
    The genome is not doing anything in four years. Publishing endless papers on speculative genetics is comfortable, academic and well funded… but the brain structure and the genome change little in a hundred thousand years, while autism incidence has rocketed from one in 10,000 children worldwide in 1992 to one in 150 today. And by the simplest extrapolation, will be one in every two children in 2030.
    Gee…. what ever could be the problem? Certainly not some change in the human structure. Only the the environment can change that fast. Duh: only the environment CAN BE the problem that our grandfathers did not face… who had the same genome. But genetic research is glamorous, and gets roughly 14 times as much NIH funding as does environmental investigation. And Amish have: zero autism. And Mormon boys have one in 75 autistics. Genetic? I don’t think so.

    1. @Oliver — Hmm, I think the logic of arguments about heritability and change and the role of the environment can be pretty tricky. For example, it seems to me that contrary to what you’ve suggested, a rapid rate of change in the incidence of a given condition is actually entirely compatible with a genetic explanation of susceptibility to that condition. For example, if a nasty virus appears that starts killing off all males, we might attribute the rise in male deaths to the appearance of the virus — but no one would say that the deaths have nothing to do with being male. Indeed, understanding why the deaths are occurring might depend largely on understanding what it is that is different about males which is rendering them vulnerable to the virus.

      Likewise, if it is true that the total incidence of autism (and not just the total incidence of diagnosed autism) is doubling every four years, then it might well be the case that changes in the environment are playing a central role — but the question of why those environmental changes are creating a higher total incidence of autism might be answerable only with reference to the underlying genetics of the population.

      I don’t know what the fact of the matter might be, but I’m fairly certain that we cannot exclude genetics merely because the incidence of a given condition is rising more rapidly than the expected rate of change in the genotype.

      All the best,

  7. Hi @ Dr Greg

    Oliver is 100 per cent correct.

    If your nasty virus is responsible then that is BY DEFINITION it is a problem caused by the environment and not genes.

    The environment of special and unknown viruses that leave women unaffected.

    Of course genes always play some role as if you dont have genes and are a rock for example you would only erode or dissolve over time or whatever as rocks dont have DNA that can be hijacked.

    What Oliver and everyone is else is saying is that while it may be nice to spend lots of money finding the bad genes it doesnt help to contain the illness or put it back to where it was a 100 years ago.

    Going back to your argument if we found the nasty virus and killed all examples of it it – your theoretical problem goes away.

    Rubella causes autism and this live virus is thrown around willy nilly in modified live viruses for children of mothers who are still bearing infants. Not good news.

    Nerve destroying chemicals have been proven to cause illness where nerves are damaged. There are plenty of candidates for these including in recent years (last 5 years), organomercury in flu vaccines injected into pregnant mums. Again not good news.

    A sensible person would start to protect mums and babies from such environmental threats but it seems science just rewrites itself so while organomercury was a nerve destroyer during the 50 years of my chemical career it has been given a clean slate by vaccine regulators and lots of people who dont have any idea about chemicals whatsoever.

    To me we have every year more exposure to these threats and not less and sadly if these are involved, autism and other similar illnesses will rise too.

    1. @john – You’ve said that:

      If your nasty virus is responsible then that is BY DEFINITION it is a problem caused by the environment and not genes.

      On the contrary, there are lots of nasty viruses out there. Only some of them create nasty symptoms in humans, however — and for those that do, the reason they do is that one or more properties of the human body render us vulnerable. That this is true is not a matter of ‘definition’ (or a priori theorizing); it is only via careful investigation (real a posteriori science) that we can answer the question of which viruses affect us in which ways and why. An argument of the form “symptom X is changing more rapidly than the rate of change in the genotype, and therefore the appearance of symptom X is independent of genetic factors” is unsound.

      One way of making it sound is just to assume the conclusion by making it a matter of definition, but unfortunately that definition then no longer matches up with the established usage of the words.

      Unlike much of the published commentary on this topic, my aim is not to defend one explanation or another; unlike many folks, I do not believe that I already know what the answer is and just need to convince everyone else to agree. Rather, my aim is simply to highlight that if we’re going to exclude one whole type of explanation (and in so doing accept all the public health risks that go with ignoring a potential explanation), then we’d better make darned sure our arguments for doing so are based upon sound logic.

      All the best,

  8. Hi Greg

    I have just began to look at the possibility of some connection between schizophrenia and autism. They share many similarities and therefore I ask do they share the same origins? My no1 bet is on brain destroying chemicals in much supply in our food and yes vaccines. (aspartame for example and thimerosal)

    The gene thing is interesting and would imply that the cause of schizophrenia is at a lower level of exposure and takes much longer.

    The rapid increase in autism in the past 5 years shows the source has now increased enormously.

    If they are connected will we see a huge explosion of schizophrenia in the next ten years? Predictably yes, if the source is the same?

    The most likely culprit for me is some sort of brain destroying chemical and there are examples hotly disputed of this.

    Diazinon was one such chemical that could turn minds along with many other illnesses and this did finally get a ban worldwide in 2000. The Australia greenhouse affair of 1961 for example.

    For me the addition of organomercury in vaccines and giving them to children at progressively earlier ages is not for scientific debate so much as due process in law for manslaughter.

    Sadly there are many such brain destroying chemicals and little incentive to curb their use.

    More than 1 000 victims from chemicals in the same group as diazinon was in the past 5 years or so thrown out with the Judge commenting that they had ABUSED the legal process.

    Sadly either from ABUSE or MISUSE of brain destroying chemicals they remain ILL and much POORER from their legal abortive efforts to show brain destroying chemicals destroy brains.

    The effort to show thimerosal is similarly harmful has met with for example the abandonment of an action in the UK a few years ago and the increasing hoops put in front of people harmed by vaccines in the USA.

    Meanly the cynical government and regulators up the exposure to this most toxic chemical.

    It is clear that whatever you believe for the origins of autism and or schizophrenia we do live in a very CORRUPT world where TRUTH is the first casuality.

    With such CYNICISM not by me but by POWER BASES it is almost certain there will never be a suitable explanation for the current rise in autism.

    Sadly people do not admit the CRIMINALITY that wells up with these illnesses that is no part of the persons fault so it is absolutely necessary to protect them from chemicals which take away there ability to manage in this world but also makes them into people that pose a threat to a peaceful society.

    Explaining away 9/11 and all the past terrorist events that at one time did not exist is over the top BUT if we can get it right about banning brain destroying chemicals like DIAZINON then perhaps eventually we will get other rewards like less autism, less schiphrenia and less terrorism.

    At the moment we seem to be racing to a world that will not improve. One USA child in three with neurological illness. UNBELIVABLE but TRUE.

  9. Hi John,
    I suggest you take a look at some of the real science around autism, particularly Eric Fombonne’s work on epidemiology. There is absolutely no evidence for an epidemic. The increase in cases is almost entirely explained by three things:
    1. Wider understanding and knowledge of ASD among the general public, meaning that more families seek diagnosis for their children
    2. Widening of the diagnostic criteria in both ICD10 and DSMIV meaning more kids could be fitted into ASD diagnostic categories
    3. Avoidance of labelling children as having intellectual disabilities (mental retardation)by peadiatricians and psychologists and using an ASD diagnosis instead.

    A recent study in Japan found that rates of ASD actually went up when children were not vaccinated, probably as a result of measels and all the the fuss about themerosal has been entirely disproved.
    Just in case you think I have some kind of vested pro-chemical interest here, I’m a parent of an adult son with Asperger Syndrome, am an environmentally active vegetarian who grows his own organic veg and an autism researcher at a university.

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