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.
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
Chapter 2: Symptoms and Comorbidities
- What causes the major symptoms of autism?
- How we think depends on how our brains are wired
- How do we put our thoughts together?
- Igor Stravinsky and autism
- The thinking process in autism
- Sensory problems in autism
- Dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism
- Acquired savant syndrome
- Clumsiness and autism
- Self-control and autism
- Self-injurious behaviors and autism
- Self-injurious behaviors, clumsiness, motor stereotypies, faulty facial recognition, and the bothersome nature of change
- Repeating my thoughts on perseveration
- Micro-movements in autism
- Bruxism (teeth grinding) and autism
- Headaches, neck pain, and disequilibrium
- Abdominal pains and migraine
- Blood brain barrier permeability, inflammation and intestinal permeability
- Interoception: The eighth sensory system
- Memory traces
- Oxidative stress
- Sleep problems
- The hidden difficulties of autistic children in school
- No mandatory screening for autism?
- Spirituality in children
- Social connectedness
- Institutional autism and child abandonment
- Feral (wild) children and autism
- Visual sensitivity
- Art, colors and autism
- Autism and the sedentary life
- Eating habits and nutrition
- Pain and autism
- Chronic pain
- Strange symptoms in autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Autism: what have we learned from the dyslexia movement?
- Chronic stress
- Autonomic dysfunction and anxiety
- That curious word “dysthimia” and how it relates to autism
- Bipolar disorder
- Autism in blind children
- Neurodiversity and comorbidities
- Genetic counseling
- A potpourri of cautionary observations and common misconceptions
- Autism: When to suspect a metabolic disorder?
- A little-known fact: very late onset autism
- Symptom improvement in autism: is full recovery possible?
- Learn the signs and act early
- A path of least resistance: tuberous sclerosis
- The Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome
- The rare Urbach-Wiethe disease
- The mystery of the missing smile
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Lessons in regressive autism
- Lessons in late onset or regressive autism: Cortical Dysplasia-Focal Epilepsy Syndrome (CDFES)
- Schizophrenia and autism: the Phelan-McDermid syndrome
- Timothy syndrome
- Down syndrome
- Mitochondrial disorders
- Extreme prematurity
- Birth complications
- Maternal health and diabetes
- Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes
- Antibiotics and the microbiome
- Autism families and building resilience
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Applied behavioral analysis and the use of aversives
- Raun Kaufman and the Son-Rise Program
- The Squeeze Machine
- The importance of desensitization massages in autism
- Storytelling and learning
- The usefulness of exercise
- Let me say it again, “It is important to exercise!”
- Benefits of a fiber diet for autistic individuals
- The ketogenic diet or why bacon is our friend? Historical background
- The ketogenic diet or why bacon is our friend? Metabolic considerations
- The ketogenic diet or why bacon is our friend? Implementation
- Early- and late-onset complications of the ketogenic diet for intractable epilepsy
- Risk of seizure recurrence after achieving freedom on the ketogenic diet
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Toilet training
- Dental care
- Auditory Integration Therapy
- Virtual reality
- Social robots
- Pet therapy
- Transitioning of health care services for autistic individuals
- What accounts for good outcomes in autism?
- Osteopathy vs. Integrative Medicine
- FDA warns against unproven autism therapies
- Do you believe in magic? The sense and nonsense of alternative medicine
- Protecting yourself against health fraud or quackery
- Craniosacral therapy
- Double Helix Water
- Miracle Mineral Solution (sodium chlorite)
- Introduction to neuromodulation
- Neuromodulation therapies: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation: historical aspects
- Neuromodulation in autism: basic principles of transcranial magnetic stimulation
- From autism science to autism therapy
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation and autism: generalities
- A cautionary note on the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in autism
- The FDA and safety of rTMS in children
- Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and autism: true therapy or quack therapy?
- Caveats to the nature-nurture debate on autism
- Twinning and Epigenetics
- The pathology of autism, is it strictly a “genetic disorder”?
- The triple hit hypothesis of autism
- The rising prevalence of autism: lessons learned from the Flynn effect
- A perspective on psychological theories of autism
- Ludwig Wittgenstein debunks Theory of Mind in autism
- Zombies, Theory of Mind, and autism
- The Autistic Buddha and Theory of Mind
- Gestalt psychology, ADHD and autism
- What is the buzz about gamma?
- The origins of the inhibitory/excitatory hypothesis in autism
- Mirror mirror on the wall…: Mirror neurons and autism
- Dangers of electromagnetic radiation…and autism?
Chapter 7: Anatomy and Pathology
- Brain development
- Lateralization of brain function
- Autism and minicolumns
- The significance of small cells in autism
- Why are small neurons of importance and why do such findings need to be pursued?
- Small cells define an “intrahemispheric modus operandi” (a preference for operations within a given hemisphere)
- Implications for autism
- The cerebral cortex
- The corpus callosum
- The cerebellum
- Brain weight
- The brainstem
- The amygdala
- Similarities between the brains of autistic individuals and some renowned neuroscientists
- Precision medicine: What will it mean for autism?
- Autism Research: Distinguishing the good from the bad
- The problem of “too many findings in autism”
- Of Mice and Men: Complications of animal models in autism research
- The early history of autism research: John K. Darby, MD
- The importance of postmortem research in autism
- Autism: Banking on the future of our children
- Federally funded autism research
- The National Database for Autism Research (NDAR): playing favorites in autism research
- Response to NIMH Director Dr. Joshua Gordon’s: “Autism Awareness Message”
- Research at INSAR 2019
- The dark side of psychoanalysis: 1. The Refrigerator Mothers
- The dark side of psychoanalysis: 2. Therapy or patient abuse?
- The Direct Psychoanalytical Institute
- Autism: It is not about mercury
- Rubella, the MMR vaccination, and autism
- Vaccines and autism
- Establishing a vaccine dialogue
- Free app of The Vaccine Handbook available from the Immunization Action Coalition
- Andrew Wakefield: mass delusions and conspiracy theories
- A frame of mind: the problem with neurotypicals
- Argumentation, autism, and the Serenity Prayer
- Autism self-diagnosis: The Seinfeld Syndrome
- Munchausen Syndrome, autism, and self-diagnosis
- The Historical Underpinnings of Neurodiversity
- The Neurodiversity Movement: Lack of Trust
- The Neurodiversity Argument: Good intentions resting on a shaky scientific foundation
- Bernard Rimland: Founder of the Neurodiversity Movement?
- The war on autism
- Poverty, social justice and autism: A call to action
- Foster Care
- Medical-Legal Partnerships
- Legislative advocacy
- Child advocacy in politically tumultuous times
- The “Right-to-Try” legislation and autism
- Brain donations and research in autism: the good, the bad and the ugly
- Prevalence rates
- How to follow the rising prevalence rates of autism: an epidemic or a health-related disaster?
- Autism and other health related epidemics
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- The importance of social interaction and the internet
- Sexual abuse
- Autism: screening for potential health problems
- Body Image and Gender
- Substance Use Disorders
- LGBT and autism: What does it means to be different?
- Substance abuse
- Special Education for Autism: An International Perspective
- Autism in Colombia
- A little piece of heaven for autistic individuals: Mas Casadevall
- Historical musing: Salt Lake City and autism
- Autism efforts in Russia
- Autism related efforts in China
- China’s innovations in autism related services
- Maria Isabel Bayonas Ibarra
- Hans Bogte (1951-2017)
- Margaret Creedon: A life well lived
- Stephen M Edelson, PhD
- Adam Feinstein: My Twin Voyages of Discoveries
- Jonathan Mitchell: Autism’s Gadfly
- John Elder Robison
- Alexander “Alex” Planck
- Carmen B. Pingree
- Isabelle Rapin (1927-2017): the Grande Dame of autism research
- Bernard Rimland
- Stephen Mark Shore
- Igor Shpitsberg
- Ruth Christ Sullivan, Ph.D.: the other “Dr. Ruth”
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.
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And a very good book it is or might be!
M. Casanova: I saw your paper from 2002 quoted in GEEKS GENES AND THE EVOLUTION OF ASPERGER SYNDROME  by Eve Penelope Schofield and Dale Falk, which reference guide I have just read.
And Alex Planck is Alex PLANK.
Would love to read the Creedon chapter.
Thank you. I didn’t have any editorial assistance as this was self-published.I expect to have quite a few errors, but they will be corrected in future editions due to feedback like yours. As an aside, I have written a lot about evolution which at one point was one of my main areas of concern. Thank you again, the comment is appreciated.
What provoked you to think about evolution, Manuel?
Yes – self-publication – in the legal world “the person who goes pro se had better not have a fool for a lawyer”.
Evolution and anthropology were my hobbies at one time. I thought that you could use them to explain certain aspects of neuroanatomy and neuropathology. The following is a link to an article trying to unify precepts from these different areas: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3245969/
Hope that you enjoy the same. Best regards
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