Autism where hope and our therapeutic advancements collide

Imagine being asked to juggle 3 different balls.  Now imagine 5.  Now pretend that these 5 balls represent our 5 major senses – taste, smell, sight, sound, touch.  Even in our daily lives – with years upon years of practice – we as humans are not proficient at juggling all 5 of our senses simultaneously.  Think about driving a car, radio playing and suddenly realizing you’ve become lost.  First instinct is likely to turn down the radio.  Why though?  It doesn’t seem like a logical thought. But, the reality is that the mind needs to tune out the other senses that are not required in order to concentrate on the visuals that aid in assimilating the information for our bearings.  Now, think about tasting the first bite of a particular food you love and crave.  To savor the flavor in that moment most people will close their eyes.  Again, this seems like an odd thing to do, but by doing so, we are able to tune out our vision (which is not required at that time) to focus more intensely on our senses of taste, texture, and aroma.  Ah! Now everything is falling into perspective.  There is only a finite allocation of our brain’s resources to devote to our senses.  Now that we have established our 5 senses, let’s add one additional sense to bring the total to 6.  For now, we will call this sixth sense instinct, or that feeling in our gut.  This sense is hard to quantify, but science recognizes its existence.  Okay, we are almost there.  We’ve established that our brain can only process so much information at once.  So, what does all of this have to do with autism?

Well, the mind of a person with autism exhibits irregularities that are often misunderstood and mistreated.  Remember that 6th sense we discussed last?  Let’s add another 2, 3, 6, maybe even an additional 20+ similarly defined senses to the mix.  Each and every one of these addional senses is similar in property to our 6th sense, instinct - non-quantifiable in nature, but very much there.  Even the CDC officially recognizes 7 senses prevalent in Autism Spectrum Disorder (Proprioception & Vestibular are the additional 2 senses).  So as a person without autism approaches life juggling 6 senses with a finite amount of brain capacity, a person with autism is juggling many, many more senses with acute precision and still has a similar capacity (at least in ratio) to process these senses.  These senses can be seen in symptoms like synesthesia where sound actually has a color, a smell, or a number associated with it.  The visible light spectrum may be interlaced with a fabric of numbers.  Possibly even the non-visibile light spectrum is able to be identified through means that are incomprehensible to anyone who cannot experience it.  The mind can only wonder at the possibilities, because truthfully how can someone communicate a sense you may never know?  How would you describe taste to a person with no tongue?  How would you describe sight to a blind person?  These are all tough concepts to fathom, so clearly an autistic person that is predispositioned to be more acutely aware of the same world in which we share will have a challenge functioning in the same manner as a non-autistic person.

Today, current therapeutic approaches for autism focus on the adjustment of awareness of the 5 common senses and the conditioning of best practices for typical human interactions.  Facilities such as The Brown Center for Autism have made tremendous strides and are utilizing revolutionary new approaches in this arena.  At Sonalkiss, our approach is not different in principle, but can be best seen as complimentary to the strides the autism community has already made in efforts to condition awareness of the 5 core senses.  At Sonalkiss, we are focused on building supplementary treatment services that compliment the latest best-practices within the industry through sonal, visual, aural, meridian and neurochemical advancements – all quantifiable through tailored genomics, electroencephalography and microbiology.  As we continue to unravel the mysteries of autism, we at Sonalkiss are confident that the advancements in this arena will pave the way for advancements within the other neurological and autoimmune treatment initiatives we are working on as well.  We look forward to the future that is just around the corner.

The information below is taken from the Centers for Disease Control website.  For additional information, please visit cdc.gov.

What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art. Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age.

How common is autism?

Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.

By way of comparison, more children are diagnosed with autism each year than with juvenile diabetes, AIDS or cancer, combined.* ASD affects over 2 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Moreover, government autism statistics suggest that prevalence rates have increased 10 to 17 percent annually in recent years. There is no established explanation for this continuing increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered.

What causes autism?

Not long ago, the answer to this question would have been “we have no idea.” Research is now delivering the answers. First and foremost, we now know that there is no one cause of autism just as there is no one type of autism. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, associated with autism. A small number of these are sufficient to cause autism by themselves. Most cases of autism, however, appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.

In the presence of a genetic predisposition to autism, a number of nongenetic, or “environmental,” stresses appear to further increase a child’s risk. The clearest evidence of these autism risk factors involves events before and during birth. They include advanced parental age at time of conception (both mom and dad), maternal illness during pregnancy and certain difficulties during birth, particularly those involving periods of oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain. It is important to keep in mind that these factors, by themselves, do not cause autism. Rather, in combination with genetic risk factors, they appear to modestly increase risk.

A growing body of research suggests that a woman can reduce her risk of having a child with autism by taking prenatal vitamins containing folic acid and/or eating a diet rich in folic acid (at least 600 mcg a day) during the months before and after conception.

Increasingly, researchers are looking at the role of the immune system in autism.  This crucial overlap with the immune system is also why Sonalkiss is predominately looking at treatments for autism as the backbone for additional research into neurological and autoimmune disease therapy.