Autism Updated: Symptoms, Treatments and Controversies

Excited to say that I recently published my latest book on Amazon.  The same is entitled, “Autism Updated: Symptoms, Treatments and Controversies”.  The book is meant to provide a comprehensive introduction to autism.  The Kindle edition is available for $5.99 while the paperback edition (723 pages) costs $19.99.

The book starts by offering a historical background on autism spectrum disorder and a description of the varied symptoms it can manifest.  Other chapters deal with risk factors, comorbidities, the different approaches to treatment, the latest scientific advances, and a personal perspective as to the ongoing social debate regarding neurodiversity.  An addendum describes the autism related achievements of many people that have left their mark at the world stage.

I hope that the comprehensive nature of the many subjects discussed may help the reader by offering those in need a reference manual with practical advice, citations and position statements by different medical agencies.   However, the short vignettes are also meant to provide for entertaining reading.  Information can therefore be customized to each person’s needs and individual sections may be read independently of each other.

In the following paragraphs I provide the introduction to the book as well as the Table of Contents.   After reading the book (or Kindle ebook), please let me know your comments.  I would like to incorporate any changes/additions that you may have in future editions.

INTRODUCTION

Sometime in the early 1990’s a friend of mine, Charles T. Gordon III (nicknamed CT), approached me with the idea of establishing an organization that would promote research into autism. CT was the father of an autistic child and was distraught when considering that even though there had been major advancements in the neurosciences, not much was applicable or of benefit to his son’s condition.  CT placed me in contact with Eric London, who together with his wife Karen, were trying to fund the first organization aimed at accelerating biomedical research regarding autism.  This was the beginning of the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR); friends helping friends in an organization wherein like-minded parents were dictating research initiatives.  Nothing fancy about the early beginnings of the organization, with Eric coming to pick us up at the airport in his old station wagon and Karen doing most of the paperwork from the living room of their own home.   Back then the overhead was practically nil with most people participating in our brainstorming sessions with the good intention of seeing positive changes made in our nation’s research infrastructure.   Several years later when my first grandson was borne, it became clear that he was within the spectrum.  In the case of parents, the ubiquity of the condition serves to explain why some people make reference to autism as a “pervasive” disorder.

Throughout the years I have been able to participate in many scientific advisory boards and layman support groups regarding autism. My own basic research gradually shifted from Alzheimer’s disease, to schizophrenia and finally to autism.  Along the way I was fortunate to meet many individuals that represented the very best of humanity.  I have been humbled and honored in getting to know Steve Edelson, Jane Johnson, Terri Arranga, John Elder Robison, Jonathan Mitchell, Olga Bogdashina, Jill Escher, Katie Wright, Wenn Lawson, Stephen Shore and many others. These people are my heroes. We may not all share the same thoughts regarding autism, or the best ways to intervene, but we do keep their best interests at heart. I appreciate our differences and have tried to assimilate the positives from each of our different perspectives.  It may be scary, but challenging the status quo from our different viewpoints is essential towards moving forwards.

I am most grateful to my wife Emily Casanova. She thought that I needed a creative outlet for some of my academic interests.  She assumed that this would ultimately focus on the history of medicine or electronics, but early on I decided to expand on my clinical interest regarding autism.  Emily gave me a subscription as a Christmas present to WordPress to start me blogging (https://corticalchauvinism.com).  I thought that writing on the subject of autism would convey to others not only some of my experiences, but also a passion for learning more about the subject.  The name of my blog is Cortical Chauvinism. It was the nickname given to me by my good friend Michelle Dawson.  Michelle attended one of my lectures in Montreal and took a liking to my self-professed phrase of being a cortical chauvinist when applied to the possible localization of pathological abnormalities in autism.  Raymond D. Adams, a towering figure in the field of Neurology once said that diagnosis followed the three rules of real estate: location, location, and location. In my case, I have always thought that any pathological correlate of significance for autism would be most prominent within the cerebral cortex.

It has been said that gaining knowledge is the first step to wisdom, but sharing it is the first step to humanity.  Autism is part of my life and I wanted to share my personal experiences with the reader. I think the small vignettes provide a window as to my way of thinking.  However, this is a “buyers be aware” scenario as anything that is so deeply personal is likely to be biased. In this regard, I have the baggage of my education as a physician, my contact with patients, and a lifetime of personal experiences that will always color my way of thinking.  Given my travel and participation in different congresses and local meetings, I stand to further educate myself and mature in my positions from the experiences of others. In this regard I welcome comments and especially personal stories, doubts and criticisms conferred to me during my lectures, webinars or in my blogs (corticalchauvinism.com).

Finally, I am most grateful to my four daughters. Each one of them has surpassed my expectations.  Their character, goodwill, generosity, and spirit of self-growth have always inspired me. My first grandson Bertrand, nicknamed Little Bear, has reminded me that life itself is a miracle not to be taken for granted.  Needless to say, the lives and struggles of our family fills me up with purpose and for that I am deeply grateful.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

 

Chapter 1: History

 

Chapter 2: Symptoms and Comorbidities

 

Chapter 3: Risk Factors

 

Chapter 4: Therapies

 

Chapter 5: Neuromodulation

 

Chapter 6: Theories

 

Chapter 7: Anatomy and Pathology

 

Chapter 8: Research

 

Chapter 9: The Autism Debate

 

Chapter 10: World Outlook

 

Addendum

 

 

 

2 responses to “Autism Updated: Symptoms, Treatments and Controversies

  1. Seems like an interesting book, which I will learn a lot from. After I will read it, I will write a review and provide additional comments.

    Liked by 1 person

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