Friday, July 11, 2008
In early development, synapses are created, formed, and strengthen all by experiences and regulated by a set of genes. Even when two toddlers experience the same event (ie. hear a sound of a train) but if the regulating genes do not help to create or form the synapses the development would come out differently; and this is what many researchers believe as the cause of autism. Yesterday, a group of researchers had identified 6 genes which may contribute to this disorder.
This is a good news! Many doctors as well as parents had the same hunch for more than 5 years ago. It is just a hunch, no proof, bunch of theories and conclusions drawn from observations & statistical numbers; but no hard evidents. Even without proof, they come up with seminars, talks, training, consultant certification programs, treatments and have been making lot of money of this hunch! Case in point: doctor Gutstein and his RDI. Sure, it works for some just as well as other treatments like ABA, VBA, and chelation; but it's still not 100% result. It's like using exercise to cure obesity. He does not have the hard evidences, nor does he has the understanding of what particular genes or parts which causes the missing pathway. However, I have to give him the credits of believing in creating more experiences to rebuild the pathway. Well, the pathway can be formed or not, may not necessary relying on the experiences alone. Like keep throwing the ball to a child, so that the child can eventually learn how to catch. But he failed to recognize that the treatment may work only if the child has two hands! If the kid does not have hands, he may develop the kid to catch the ball with two feet!
Oh well, back to the 6 genes which researchers had recently found, I believe this is the tip of the iceberg that there will be more new treatments based on this finding. Parents should be careful when picking & choosing treatments for their kids. We will be as well.
Here is another link to Dr. Walsh's finding
Podcast from the Science magazine