Scientists Identify 27 Genes Associated With Asperger’s Syndrome: What Does This Mean?


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asbergerAsperger’s syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is part of a distinct group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by communication difficulties, social impairment, restrictive, sterotypical and repetitive patterns of behavior. Abnormalities in social interaction may include isolation, and a lack of ability to pick up on non-verbal forms of communication. It’s also characterized by clumsiness and poor communication skills.

It is labelled as a disorder simply because there are observable differences with social interaction and behavior in social settings. Does that not seem highly questionable to you? So what if there are observable differences in behavior? Differences does not equal disorder, they are simply differences that are unique to the individual and require no cure.  When it comes to differences in brain functioning, the American Medical Association has a tendency to label them as disorders without sufficient evidence. When one reads a description of the ‘disorder’ the readers usually believe it without asking critical questions and making critical connections. If we are going to label something as a disorder without evidence, it is equally plausible to label them as an advantage. Truth is, we are made up of the same thing, we all bring our unique individuality to the whole.

Scientists have long suspected that there are genetic components to Asperger’s syndrome and other Autism Spectrum Disorders, but no specific gene has ever been identified. Instead, the most recent evidence indicates  a common group of genes whose variations make an individual more vulnerable to developing ASD. Scientists from the University of Cambridge have identified 27 genes that are associated with autistic traits and/or Asperger Syndrome. They looked at genes that are linked to the observable characteristics and qualities within a human being that are different than the “norm.” Genes identified were associated with empathy, judgement, decision making, social/emotional sensitivity and more. They chose these genes because these children show observable differences from the norm in these areas. For example, a child diagnosed with ASD or Asperger syndrome might look like they lack empathy or social and emotional sensitivity. I do not think we should judge a book by it’s cover, and I do not think differences in the genetic makeup responsible for empathy and emotional sensitivity should be labelled as a disorder. The research is published in the journal ‘Autism Research’ and this is the first candidate gene study of its kind.

The research found that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 27 out of the 68 genes studied were nominally associated with either AS and/or with autistic traits/empathy. A single nucleotide polymorphism is a DNA sequence variation occurring when a single nucleotide in the genome differs between members of a biological species or paired chromosomes in a human. Nucleotides are molecules that form the building blocks of DNA. Therefore, the genetic structure of a child or adult with Asperger’s syndrome differs from the genetic structure of the mass population, different DNA. The cause of this is still unknown.

Observable differences here do not suggest a disorder, they simply mean exactly what the study finds, differences in DNA sequencing, that’s all. How do we know that evolution isn’t taking place? After all, single nucleotide polymorphisms are the most common type of genetic variation among people. Just because there are observable social and behavioral differences, coupled with observable differences in DNA/genetics does not give us the right to label, define and categorize children into a category of disorder. This can prevent them from achieving their full potential. Children often diagnosed with these labels usually show a number of remarkable qualities and characteristics. Medical associations and big pharmaceutical companies like to persuade professional opinion through academic literature, and they do it in a very clever way.

Sources:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S089662730000115X

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/157802.php

http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/genomicresearch/snp


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  1. I have one kind of these so called “disorders”, not Aspergers, but Squizoid. As Autistic Spectrum “disorders” imply that they require a treatment, this designation IMHO allows for institutionalized health to take control over the life of “sufferers”. I happen to know that most people with this gift (I call it gift because its how I understand it is) are prone to see right through the lies of society and the mind controlling mass manipulation, so, we are a threat to the stablished powers. Hence, the need to label us, and make us seem a threat to “normal” people. The Sandy Hook shooter (alleged) had to be Aspergers, ain’t it?

    Reply
  2. I do agree with the previous commentor, that people with those disorders really do see through what the surface of our society is. But when a child is totally unhappy and you would know this because the child would tell you, when they want to make friends but cant be cause theyre social skills are very for lack of a better word bad, when they try really hard to fit in when in truth they cant fit in, you want to help that child develop his unique abilities and you want them to make the friends they want so bad. Well labeling as you call it would be saying this one child is clumsy and this other child is stupid. Or using they’re uniqueness as a way to define who they are. But identifying where their problems start and where they come from you are able to find the individual intervention to bring to this child and help them be who they want to be. Disorders do exist but they are not labels. If you use them as a label you are not doing your job. Now I am not saying that every child diagnosed is actualy taken care of in the proper way because in every area of expertise they are idiots and good ones. Some just label and medicate. Others observe, talk to, listen to, learn from, gets to know the child and identifies as corectly as possible then tripple quadruple checks his findings then trys a bunch of methods before even considering medication. But to say these arent real and are just excuses to toss the different aside is wrong. The commentor before probably delt with people who did not have his best interest at heart, but theres people like me who work with kids and want to specialise in the ones with disorders because I know their true uniqueness and talents. I want them to bloom and be the best versions of themselves as they possibly can be just like the “normal” kids get to do. Some of us dont want to toss them aside, some of us want to learn from them and help the ones that need and want help. Not everything is as negetive as you made it out to be.
    Please excuse my horrible spelling, I am french and have bad english grammar. :)

    Reply
    • Max Born

      A great letter Louise, and I agree with everything you say. But my main point is to congratulate you on your wonderful English, spelling, grammar and expression, all outstanding and better than 90% of my fellow English speakers. I couldn´t find a single mistake, or anything to criticize, and I also dig your modesty. Well done you!

      Reply
  3. Oh and one last thing : by doing what I am doing I am letting these people become the world changers they could be. Be cause believe me, they will change the world.

    Reply
  4. Well Louise, thanks for your input. Perhaps the main difference between my “disorder” and Aspergers is that I don’t ever feel the need to fit into society, and perhaps that saved me of ever suffering any discrimination or labelling as a child. I discovered this as an adult, and it only helped me to finally understand why I was so different and uninterested in what others called “normal”. As I said, for me is a gift, But I do see childs of friends with the Asperger being labelled and treated with medication, and that’s what I dread, the need to treat something perfectly natural as a disease. I commend you for your efforts of helping these childs to be happy and grow to their full potential without the intervention of the society that wants them “normal”. And I really hope this knowledge become widespread instead of trying to medicate the “normalcy” into these blessed kids.

    Reply
  5. Chanda

    I always thought that I was a curse and I was recommended to be admitted in an asylum on 7 different occasions by 5 counselors and 2 psychiatrists. I hid myself for 15+ years. Just now I’m starting to come out and the right type of people are finding me very fascinating and they love me and my gift. They tell me to embrace myself and they acknowledge my unusually strong spirit. I begin to understand why I belong in an asylum because I’m too smart and too strong for my own good. I was a nihilist, but now probably an ascetic.

    Reply

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