Archive for April, 2012

The autistic reporter is baaaaack, on the onion of course

Apr 18 2012 Published by under Asperger's

Michael, the autistic reporter for the venerable new site the onion, is back. This time he is trying to use logic and reason to understand war and the emotions of the people involved in it. Needless to say he is in Afganistan where he interviews military personnel from both sides. It is overall hilarious and does in fact show that war makes no sense. I embedded the video below for your viewing pleasure.
Here’s to acceptance! (no matter where it comes from)
Rami


Four American Troops Tragically Killed Along With 23 Afghanis

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BREAKTHROUGH IN AUTISM: ELECTRONIC SCREENING

Apr 16 2012 Published by under Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

The Autism E-Screening Device is a first-in-class project of Sovereign Research, LLC. It is the product of many years of research and diligent cooperation between our doctors and engineers.

Measuring skin conductance as a means to assess emotional arousal is not a novel idea in itself. In fact, skin conductance measurements have been the gold standard of neurology research for over fifty years. The point being that changes in skin electrical activity represents the resultant of all commands from the brain. These commands reflect the state of alertness in the brain and are issued to keep the rest of the body in tandem with the degree of readiness the brain sees appropriate at any given moment.

The brain gathers input about the prevailing level of threat from all the senses, interprets these threats based on historic and instinctive standards; and then issues commands to the rest of the body to recruit whatever faculties and resources are needed to meet this threat level. Individuals who are highly sensitive to stress (including those on the autism spectrum) generally respond more vigorously to stress than neurotypicals. Additionally, highly sensitive individuals react to low level stressors that may not even provoke a response in neurotypicals. All this may seem as a survival disadvantage for the highly sensitive since they are overwhelmed regularly by mild irritants, chemical or behavioral. However, this continued readiness allows highly sensitives to cope better with severe stress and crises in general, a situation that stumps most neurotypicals.

This is the biological premise of the Autism E-Screening Device. The device employs skin sensors to collect data about changes in electrical activity. These changes directly reflect the level of perceived threat as interpreted by the brain. The Autism E-Screening Device is effective as of 7 weeks of age and for the rest of one’s life. It cannot be used at an age younger than 7 weeks since the nerve endings in the skin take that long to develop and give meaningful electrical output. There are several ways the E-Screening device can assist in autism.

1- Baseline: measuring skin conductance in a rested, unchallenged and pleasant environment can tell us so much about the perceived level of threat. The higher the skin conductance value at rest, the more likely that the person is on the spectrum. Higher values also indicate how far to the left this person is on the spectrum. For a visual understanding of the spectrum please refer to the Personality Spectrum TM graph.

2- Challenge test: With the use of an activated tuning fork placed to the person’s ear for a few seconds, skin conductance test is repeated. The activated tuning fork represents a mild irritant which usually provokes a vigorous response in individuals on the spectrum. The tuning fork usually evokes only a mild response if any in neurotypical individuals. Note: if you will be testing a hearing-impaired individual, please contact Sovereign Research for further instructions.

3- Follow-up: After initial screening, treatments, therapies and behavioral conditioning typically follow. The Autism E-Screening Device can be used as a means to objectively and quantitatively assess the usefulness and effectiveness of any such treatments. Successful treatments should result in a decline in skin conductance values for both baseline and challenge tests.

4- Home monitoring: This maybe the most valuable use of the Autism E-Screening Device. Continuous monitoring can be used by parents wanting to assess their sensitive child’s state of mind and learn the triggers they need to manage, avoid or use measured steps to expose their child to. Connecting the device to a home computer (or in the near future mobile device) one can objectively assess their own emotional arousal and learn to take measure to calm themselves down when they are threatened. You see skin conductance represents the brain’s interpretation of perceived threat which sometimes may not be commensurate with one’s immediate needs for survival. Being able to gain insight into our perceived threat level helps individuals pierce the sources of their anxieties and take measures to resolve, avoid or cope with these sources of anguish.

Rami Serhan, MD
Author, Psyche-Smart Autism; Integrative Medicine Consultant
(206) 659-1ASD (273)

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