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Author: Subject: Hypthesis on Autism/Asperger's
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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 13:43
Hypthesis on Autism/Asperger's


Hey all, not really sure how to phrase this but I a hypothesis on the occurrence of Autism/Asperger's Syndrome and I felt it related to biochemistry. Well, obviously or it wouldn't be here...

Anyway, I felt Asperger's/Autism might be a physical adaptation to avoid other humans as vectors of disease. As an altered brain structure is noted in Autistics, which generally relates to social interaction and sensory input. Which would indicate some sort of biological adaptation to some sort of environmental stimuli.

I'm not entirely sure how to test such an hypothesis, but the reason it struck me is that humans are a very strong vector of infection/disease. Anyone have any ideas how you'd investigate such a thing?
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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 17:27


It certainly would be hard to prove. You could start by doing a study of varying infection rates of autistic people during epidemics, to see if autistic people get infected less. This would only answer part of the question, though.



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[*] posted on 10-4-2014 at 05:00


Well, the first thing to understand is that evolution doesn't purposefully "adapt" organisms to anything. Asperger's/Autism would simply be emerging traits which might or might not be selected for over time if they have some benefit to an individual. You could check infection rates as Cheddite suggested, however this would only be a tiny piece of the puzzle - you'd also have to demonstrate that these traits are actually increasing survival in some significant manner, enough that they have better or equal odds of being passed on to the next generation as "normal" traits do, in whatever scenario you're looking at.

I consider it very unlikely you'll find any evidence for the idea, but that doesn't mean it's not worth seeking out if you're curious.
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[*] posted on 10-4-2014 at 19:16


I think your assumption that humans are very strong vectors for disease is incorrect. Perhaps that is the case now, but back when we were walking around africa that was almost certainly not the case. Since we have only become disease vectors in the past couple of hundred years (insignificant on an evolutionary timescale) I dont think your hypothesis has much hope of working out.



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[*] posted on 15-4-2014 at 07:18


im ill once a year and its partially controlled.. i just had my illness, it lasts approx 1 week and its all in all just being snotty and having fever, plus loosing hearing more / less intense
rest of the year im not ill at all
however i once had more or less an accident with cold weather making it that i cant really feel cold so i just dont wear jacket in the winther periods even tho it can drop to -12*C where i live

i was at this place where other youths would end up when i was 16-18 and many of them were labelled autists by some degree, they always told me ''i can feel you are autist'' although i never got the label
just an interesting thing.. however i dont remember how frequently the labeled ones were ill

the rise in autism i recall as being somewhat above 700% within the last 10 years, last measurement i could find was from 2007

some could point towards the idea that vaccines have added things that arent healthy for the human body, but such theories have no place on this forum as it becomes political, not to mention it usually starts flame wars




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[*] posted on 15-4-2014 at 07:54


Quote: Originally posted by Antiswat  
the rise in autism i recall as being somewhat above 700% within the last 10 years, last measurement i could find was from 2007


Couldn't this be due to better diagnostics? Or the fact parents are more prone to go to the GP when they think there is something wrong with their child?

The number of children dying before the age of 1 has declined significantly over the last decades, but you never hear anyone about that. Although it is correlated with better diagnostics / health care.

Another example is the ''fact'' the Netherlands have the highest pre-born mortality rate of the EU. The only reason why the former fact is presumed is because in the Netherlands the definition is different, I don't know the numbers but I would dare to bet it is not the highest in the EU.
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[*] posted on 15-4-2014 at 07:58


They now have test for certain forms of autism in utero and
have identified a primary protein defect that triggers it.

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_url?hl=en&q=http://www.res...

Curiously the protein folding defect is triggered by a relatively low
grade fever. As vaccines can trigger a fever they could appear
to cause autism when in fact any fever would do it.
As this can be tested for before any vaccines are given
you can pretty much say that at least in these cases,
that vaccines are not the cause.

One likely cause of increases in genetic based defects is that
natural selection has pretty much been eliminated for three to five
generations. Things that would have previously prevented
reproduction no longer do. Plus environmental toxins are
increasing mutation rates.

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[*] posted on 15-4-2014 at 09:20


I'm pretty sure natural selection is still happening, just the mechanisms have changed. Less saber toothed tigers and starvation, more drunk driving, drowning and falling down stairs-

I'd guess we're selecting for resistance to artificial chemical and radiation induced genetic damages as well.




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[*] posted on 15-4-2014 at 10:24


I'd say we have reversed natural selection. We send our
healthy young men off to war to be killed. Keep sick people
alive as long as possible. More intelligent people tend to
have fewer off spring. In a few generations we will be
back to slime on a rock.

Lawyers jump all over anything "chemical" that could be harmful. Are these things really more harmful than naturally
occurring toxins?

To me it looks like ADHD <---> Autism has been turned into a continuous scale. This allows big pharma to sell more pills,
the schools to hire specialists etc. Of course the people at the far ends of the scale really do need this kind of help.
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[*] posted on 16-4-2014 at 00:23


Unless things changed since I last checked, there is no scientific consensus as to whether the increase is of autism itself, or diagnosis. Remember the DSM manuals are somewhat arbitrary and change, and lumping Asperger's with autism will affect diagnostic statistics.
http://www.asatonline.org/about_autism/ontherise

And for anyone curious, pharmaceutical companies don't generally give that great of a return on investment and their profit margins are somewhat attenuated. Big money is in high risk/high reward startup sellouts. Blockbuster drugs aren't being discovered, they get more expensive to research daily.
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/average-profit-margin-small-b...

http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/average-profit-margin-phar...

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/health_systems_and_services...

It is just bad in pharma, funding/climate-wise, as everywhere else. Maybe worse due to all the scientists competing for diminishing funding resources.
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[*] posted on 16-4-2014 at 02:00


Quote: Originally posted by gregxy  
I'd say we have reversed natural selection. We send our
healthy young men off to war to be killed. Keep sick people
alive as long as possible. More intelligent people tend to
have fewer off spring. In a few generations we will be
back to slime on a rock.


I don't share your opinion, healthy men have always died young, in the last millenia, and in the last one million years. On the contrary, couldn't this even be a force for natural selection? As healthier men die a little less then the little less healthier? Dead is the number one driving force for selection.

Intelligent people have less children, no question about that, but their children are raised in a far more healthy and secure environment, which gives them the opportunity to become intelligent as well. This does not mean they are becoming bigger in number, but it also doesn't mean they are out-selected. One thing that is important for the above stated is that intelligent people mate with intelligent people, which is true. It could lead to the formation of two different species, but we are not there by far.

Keeping sick people alive as long as possible has nothing to do with natural selection, as they don't reproduce anymore. The fact we do this is because it would be unethical not to do while we can.

Natural selection is still going on strong, but not in the way it was centuries ago, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I just think the definition of natural selection is taken wrong. Natural selection is the selection of the fittest in his environment, but the environment doesn't have to be ''natural'' in my opinion.

[Edited on 16-4-2014 by Tsjerk]
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[*] posted on 16-4-2014 at 10:19


by what i have witnessed 'sick people' do get children
i have even witnessed mentally impaired having more than 3 children, but ofcourse they have rights so somewhere its not ethically wrong

with the psychiatry we have today anybody can get labeled
i know a person who have been labeled with something that basically describes that the person wants to be around other people the whole time
where i would perhaps be labeled anti-social, perhaps its because pretty much everybody i know drinks their brains out, kills themselves halfway on hard drugs even on a normal day or have no actual passion in life and seemingly just wastes time waiting to fade away




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