Saturday, October 26, 2019

Autism: A Disorder of Conflicting Causes and Treatments Essay examples

Autism: A Disorder of Conflicting Causes and Treatments Despite its 50 year-old diagnosis, autism is still one of the mostly commonly contracted and rarely treated childhood diseases. Studies suggest that as many as 1 in 500 children may display autistic symptoms. Manifestations of this disability include the stereotypical physical contortions and hand-flapping motions commonly associated with autism, as well as inability to relate to the outside world, limited social skills, lack of concentration, and hypersensitivity to certain stimuli-particularly noise (1). Perceived causes include poor fetal development, genetics, allergies, and a lack of crucial enzymes. Because for many years the disorder was thought to be a result of poor parenting, only recent studies have begun any attempts to identify the causes of childhood autism. Many diagnosis and potential treatments have been tried only by the parents of autistics; undergoing research is still slow and often under-funded. Eric Courchesne (2), a leading scientist whose studies of the cerebellum have opened a new field of belief for the region's potential functions, suggested that autistics have a marked propensity for cerebellar lesions and Purkinje neuron loss, leading to an inability to "rapidly and accurately" change attention from one focus to another, particularly in the areas of visual and auditory stimuli. Dr. Margaret Bauman, (Dept. of Neurology, Harvard Medical School and a child neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston), and Dr. Thomas Kemper (Depts. of Neurology, Anatomy, and Pathology, Boston University School of Medicine) have a different hypothesis (3) which nonetheless correlates with Courchesne's theory. They believe that a dysfunctional ne... ...improve concentration and awareness. Rimland suggests using a B-complex vitamin and magnesium to attempt to control some of the more physically apparent symptoms of autism. However, although many websites advocated the use of various vitamins and minerals to treat autism, none portended to have found a cure, or even plausible reasons for the benefits. Although research is still in the beginning stages, and many treatments are mere shots in the dark, autistics and their families continue to hope that cures and qualified treatments are not far-off. There are many available resources including group home projects (10), family support (11), and a wide-range of literature (12), much of it written by survivors themselves. Internet Sources: 1) 2) 3)

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