Yuval Levental: Plastic Surgery and Autism

The following blog is written by Yuval Levental, a reader and contributor to our blog site. At present Yuval, who is on the autism spectrum, completed a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and was interested in doing research on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). He will soon start a job in Information Technology. Yuval has previously written an essay at corticalchauvinism.com where he discussed his life, views on neurodiversity, and a couple of autism symptoms (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2015/01/14/visualizing-neurodiversity-breathing-for-treatment/).

I asked Yuval todescribe himself so that the reader would get to know him better. This is what he said: I am a person on the autism spectrum who advocates for treatment or a cure, because the evidence for autism as being positive is meaningless in most cases.  I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from ESIEE Paris.  Through researching the cause of my autism, I have developed interests in physiology, cellular biology, and neuroscience.  In the quest for a cure, I have successfully progressed by attempting to introduce more potassium and less sodium in my diet, and have recently undergone Botox which mitigated my symptoms.  Additionally, I like to spread awareness of arguments against Neurodiversity through social media and Wikipedia.  Other hobbies of mine include recreationally solving complex math puzzles, traveling, eating new foods, and learning about different cultures.

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Will I be the world’s first person to be cured from autism using plastic surgery?  Stay tuned and find out!
The story about my experience with autism and my desire for a cure is written here (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2015/01/14/visualizing-neurodiversity-breathing-for-treatment/).  Several experiences in school led me to question whether the connection between autism and genius was legitimate, and I discovered solid evidence countering this assertion.
While doing research on the causes for autism, I discovered a 2011 study (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/children-with-autism-have-distinct-facial-features-study/) which claimed that certain autistics had different facial features than non-autistics.  Those features included wide-spaced eyes and a shorter nasal width.  I saw that this perfectly described my face.  I was already taking potassium supplements beforehand to reduce the symptoms of my autism (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2015/10/03/is-my-form-of-autism-a-type-of-hypokalemic-low-sodium-sensory-overstimulation/).
Picture of my face, July 15, 2016
I went to a plastic surgeon in France while I lived there, but decided to move back to the United States.  I went to Michigan Plastic Surgery (miplasticsurgery.com/) in East Lansing, Michigan to get a consultation.  The doctor there said that the muscle on top of my nose was working too hard!  This would potentially cause a lot of the autism symptoms I have.  He said that to relieve the pressure, he would start by injecting Botox in the muscle area, which would weaken it by blocking neurotransmitters for three-four months.
On July 18, 2016, I had the Botox injection, which only lasted a couple minutes.  The effects that followed it were really interesting.
I felt like a weight that was on top of my forehead was lifted off.  I felt like my perception was more multidimensional, and that I could see around me at different angles.  Additionally, I felt like there were a few hooks in the muscle region pulling me forward.
I noticed that I could speak more fluently, and didn’t feel “paralyzed” every few seconds like I did before.  It was easier for me to plan into the future, but at the same time, feel more comfortable in the moment.
Before I fell asleep that night, I felt like there was something “empty” or “missing” in that region.  The sleep that night was very gradual and relaxing.  I am glad to say that I don’t feel that anymore, I feel the area but not as intensely as before the botox.
Picture of my face, July 19, 2016.  Notice that the muscles at the top are less tense.
For the future: They have to do botox injections every four months for one year from July 18, 2016.  Then, it will be determined if I need surgery.

12 responses to “Yuval Levental: Plastic Surgery and Autism

    • My mother doesn’t, but I think I have all those things. Nonetheless, this doesn’t change that the doctor saw that I have a muscle on my forehead that was working too hard and treated it.

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  1. As an autistic person, I been suffering from autism and I hope the Botox would help reduce my autism symptoms.

    Yuval, does this Botox treatment would help reduce my suffering and where could I get my Botox treatment?

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    • Hopefully, you will get my comment. This doesn’t apply to every single case of autism, it may or may not. What you have to do, the way I did it, is set up a consultation with a plastic surgeon. Hopefully you can get one for free (like I did) or low-cost.

      Then, ask him/her if the muscle on top of your nose is working too hard or putting too much pressure. If that’s not the case, ask him/her about if there are any other facial muscles which are working too hard. If this is true, then he/she will most likely give you botox.

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  2. Roger actually has a point, and I can add to it and say that the botox only helped because the muscle was causing a sensory overload. Eliminating an overload will always produce better functioning results, but it is NOT a cure. I have to emphasis that. The facial feature study is limited in numbers and needs to be repeated for confirmation with a much larger test group – and I would suggest those tests should also be done within the Autism group alone. The reason I say this is because I am sure there will be differences within that group – meaning that the facial feature idea is not anywhere near as profound as has been speculated in the OP.

    I don’t think there’s much to see here, except further proof of the importance of finding the source of a sensory overload and dealing with it for improved functioning levels.

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  3. Pingback: Yuval Levental: Autism and the Pursuit of Knowledge | Cortical Chauvinism·

  4. These features may result from low muscle tone (thus relaxing and softening the lip area and muscles around the face) which is a common symptom of autism and possibly the absence of facial expressions leaving wrinkles or patterns. The features need not necessarily imply an underlying deformity with the skull itself or any true disfigurements. Also these features may be within the common range of what people look like, autistic people may just gravitate towards the area: a neurotypical person can have similar appearances. Research is also showing other conditions like schizophrenia and even some personality or creativity differences also cause changes. Even life experiences can make a person sort of look a bit different over time like elderly couples or people suddenly looking aged after a famine. I wouldn’t worry too much.

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    • I wan’t to add some of my theories. The original article claimed 2/3rds clustered with controls, and the subjects were children, and some of the features of the face in developmental disorders often can be corrected or counterbalanced during puberty.
      Also I notice some neurotypical people have wide eyes, lips, and they have narrow midfaces (google Andrew Garfield). (And I also remember seeing a picture of a person with autism who had narrow eyes and a small short mouth). And the study itself mentioned the differences were on the scale of millimeters.

      So what is the difference that makes it so noticeable? I believe it is due to hypotonia, low muscle tone which causes few wrinkles leading to a round childlike face, and the skin around the mouth and eyes and cheeks to puff out. If they invented a drug to restore strong muscle tone to the whole body, I would like to see how it would affect appearances

      Liked by 1 person

      • I went and decided to google pictures of people with ALS and look at pictures before they developed it.
        I found a football player named Steve Gleason, before his condition, his eyes were squintier, his cheeks were less puffy, more wrinkles around his eyebags and nose. His face changed after he lost muscle control. It looks more puffy, childlike, and narrower. More evidence of it being rooted in muscle tone.

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  5. Pingback: Yuval Levental: Plastic Surgery and Autism – The Final Treatment? | Cortical Chauvinism·

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