Category: Neuroscience

The Four Kingdoms of Autism

I attended a lecture at Simon’s Rock College at which the presenter mentioned a 2013 post by former NIMH Director Thomas Insel, entitled The Four Kingdoms of Autism. I was not familiar with this description, and it seemed to me to be a useful way to think about how autism is viewed. Dr. Insel offers four different …

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“Schizophrenia’s Unyielding Mysteries”

“Schizophrenia’s Unyielding Mysteries” is the title of an article published in the May 2107 issue of Scientific American magazine. Quotations in this blog post are from that article unless otherwise specified. Schizophrenia and Autism: Similarities and Differences I’m interested in schizophrenia because it is so closely associated with autism. At one time, autism was labeled …

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Anxiety: Who? Me?

I’m participating in a panel on Friday (June 9) at Northeastern University on Anxiety, as part of the CHATTER event. Of course, I’m quite nervous about this. As part of my preparation (which helps to reduce anxiety), I have been reviewing my past talks and writings on the subject. I discovered that my blog does …

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The Good Nudge

Another Obama program that may or may not survive in the new Administration. A recent (January 23, 2017) issue of The New Yorker contains an article (“Good Behavior“) that describes the final days of an Obama initiative to use behavioral science in the service of improving government performance. The article focuses on the Flint water …

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The demise of mirror neurons?

The latest (April 2016) issue of Scientific American contains an article that caught my eye. It is billed as “Cognitive Psychology” and subtitled “By honing ax-making skills while scanning their own brains, researchers are studying how cognition evolved.” This is clearly a very speculative venture, and the article (“Tales of a Stone Age Neuroscientist” available …

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Another Mischaracterization of Autism

An article entitled “The Gene Hackers” appeared in the November 16, 2015 issue of The New Yorker. It attracted my attention because it touches on neuroscience and other topics that interest me. I always worry when I read an article like this that autism will be mentioned in an unfavorable light. I didn’t have to wait …

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Growing Old Disgracefully: AS Connections 2014

Here is a blog-friendly version of remarks I prepared for delivery to the AANE Conference in Boston. I have tried to reflect some of the (less stilted, I hope) actual delivery, but not including some of the shoutouts I did to individual people who were in attendance. I have also added links to resources concerning some …

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Whose Table Is This, Anyway?

My good friend John Robison has written an important and articulate piece on autism advocacy. He says … it’s time to recognize the primacy of autistic people in the formulation of policy relating to research, education, treatment, and services for our community and our people.   We are able to express our own wishes and opinions, and …

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Cart Before the Horse Research: Multisensory Integration in Autism

A short article appeared on the ScienceDaily website a few weeks back, reporting on a piece of research published in The Journal of Neuroscience, January 15, 2014. The title of the research study was not given, but a link brings one to “Multisensory Temporal Integration in Autism Spectrum Disorders.” The brief summary of the research is …

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Nick Walker’s Definition of Autism

Nick Walker says that What is needed is some good basic introductory “What Is Autism” text that is: 1.) consistent with current evidence; 2.) not based in the pathology paradigm; 3.) concise, simple, and accessible;  4.) formal enough for professional and academic use. Since I couldn’t find such a piece of text elsewhere, I wrote one. I’m …

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