Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Autism rate closer to 2.6%

As reported by the NY Times, the finding of a 6 year study on the prevalence of autism done in a small town in South Korea found that the autism rates in the general population are closer to 2.6% than the previously supposed 1%. More interesting than the findings is the methodology and its implications for a similar study on sociopathy in the near future:
For the study, which is being published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers from the Yale Child Study Center, George Washington University and other leading institutions sought to screen every child aged 7 to 12 in Ilsan, a community of 488,590, about the size of Staten Island.

By contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and most other research groups measure autism prevalence by examining and verifying records of existing cases kept by health care and special education agencies. That approach may leave out many children whose parents and schools have never sought a diagnosis.

In recent years scientists have come to see autism as a spectrum of disorders that can include profound social disconnection and mental retardation, but also milder forms, like Asperger’s syndrome, that are pervasive and potentially disabling but that often go undiagnosed.

“From the get-go we had the feeling that we would find a higher prevalence than other studies because we were looking at an understudied population: children in regular schools.”
I wonder what would happen if a similar study for sociopathy was done on a small town. The autism study found larger than expected numbers among "the poor, among racial minorities and “potentially among girls.” Here's what they found amongst the hidden majority:
Among the children with autism spectrum disorder in regular schools, only 16 percent were intellectually disabled, more than two-thirds had a milder form of autism, and the ratio of boys to girls was unusually low: 2.5 to 1. In addition, 12 percent of these children had a superior I.Q. — a higher proportion than found in the general population.
Three guesses at where larger than expected numbers for sociopathy would come from and what unexpected traits they might find in a higher proportion to the general population. And would there be any opposition to testing children for sociopathy this way?


  1. hey foucault

    R u up for a dialog?

  2. i think it's interesting.

  3. why is m.e so preoccupied with autism and aspergers? i thought a sociopath wouldn't give a shit about auties.

  4. It's concidered to be in the spectrum of sociopathy as far as I understand.

  5. no it's not, sociopaths are to normal people what normal people are to aspies/autism. you can't compare. they are polar opposites. the only relation is the lack of empathy, sociopaths willingly ruin people because of their lack of empathy.

  6. I'm still curious if there's a reason that the rate of autism has been increasing over the years or if it just seems to be rising more rapidly because in the past there weren't ways/knowledge of measuring such things.

    or maybe autism is the new ADHD.

  7. To my mind it just sounds like a poorly disguised PR puff piece paid for by corrupt money-grubbers with a vested interest in creating new markets for securing funding and donations in a quest for a profitable 'cure' for people who aren't diseased *shrug*

    How was bias determined? Or did they just assume that their frames of reference were universal and valid for all times and places and that so-called disorders are regarded as such universally? How much did the subject's behaviour deviate from the norm of his or her own cultural group? Did they take into the account the mean of the behaviour curve or just its extremities? Is biology the cause of their results or cultural social conditioning or food or water or something else?

    (Oh, look, in other recent science fiction Korean teens rank the lowest among 36 countries in terms of relationship orientation and social cooperation *slow hand clap*)

    I don't believe it's sound scientific investigation to label anyone according to Western cultural ideals and values instead of the norms of their own society. But I don't think the aim of their scare story (oops, I mean 'research') is to improve human development and wellbeing - it's to line their own pockets by slowly making 'normal' a state that is almost impossible for children to achieve.

  8. wtf is a dialog can i smoke it

  9. jase who the fuck are you? a parasite?

  10. Haven

    what happened was that since the 90s they incorporated other personality disorders and symptoms into Autism. Also they changed the diagnostic method.

  11. Ah, that explains a lot. Thanks.

  12. Haven

    I am curious, if you had a choice of being a psychopath/sociopath or a BPD which would you choose and why? In other words, if you could trade self-harm, empty, low self-esteem, and emotional pain for apathy, pseudo-empty (by definition but you don't feel bad about it), fearlessness, confidence, and no conscience. You would be able to fake human relationships and be seen as "normal" however on the inside you will never be able to really understand them or make any real connection. You will not feel any hurt if someone leaves you but you will also never be able to love (oxford English dictionary) anyone.

  13. I believe that this increase in autism is evolution at work. I think evolution is trying to figure out a way to improve the mind. The fact of the matter is you have to fail a shit load before you find a winner.

  14. @Wet…. This is actually something I’ve thought about before. I think it boils down to; I can’t imagine what that must be like. I’m not going to be able to give you an answer that isn’t colored by an emotional lens.

    I think I’d keep my BPD. I’ve gone numb, for years. Part of the reason I was drawn to and stayed with Evil-Ex was because he was able to break me out of that lonely void. I’ve said often (in RL) that feeling anything is better than feeling nothing, even if it is feeling something devastating. At least I know I’m alive. Knowing your alive and wanting to be dead (figuratively speaking) is a shit way to walk through life.

    From a perspective of my brain I’d be incredibly sad to not attach to my sister, Friend, or my cat, but then these things wouldn’t really matter to me if I was P/S would they, and therefore I couldn’t be sad at the thought of never having them. If I never had these feelings to begin with I wouldn’t know what I’m missing. What would I care? I wouldn’t feel the crush that I do.

    I can’t help but think all my arguments are moot. They’re colored by my emotions, my outlook on things that I’m not familiar with, when if I had a life of something different it wouldn’t bother me at all.

    Maybe I wouldn’t want to keep my BPD. If I was a P/S type my life would be easier for sure. Even on my ‘normal’ days I’m never really that great. I detach and withdraw, spiral down more than I lift up. I’m not sure the brief periods of euphoria are enough to outweigh the blackened depressions. I would love to live without the self-harm, empty, low self-esteem, and emotional pain. I feel like a hypocrite for not wanting these things that being P/S would relieve me from. I have screamed my lungs out that I wish I couldn’t feel anymore, that I wish it would stop. I can see the benefit of fearlessness, confidence and no conscious but if you can’t attach to the world around you, what’s the point?

    Idk, adding up all trauma, I think P/S would be more beneficial. Emotions really suck a lot of the time. Though really, neither are great options as far as I can tell.

    It’s trading one demon for another. If you’re dancing with the devil does it really matter what the deal is?

  15. It’s trading one demon for another. If you’re dancing with the devil does it really matter what the deal is?

    Ha! The devil does love to dance!

  16. Wet - - - I would say my choice between a Path or a BPD, doesn't matter, they both have their advantages and limitations. Best to view it as a poker hand. (I have used this image before) Success comes from mastering your strengths, honing your weakness playing your hand right. 'What advantages do I have innate, what can I accumulate, and what can I share' (The share part is maturity and acknowledging we are communal creatures) This is why HAVEN's response above is so valuable. This is where faith and fate come into play. Plus all humans carry these traits in a degree of spectrum. What it is to be human?

    Kesu - - - I sooooooo agree with you regarding autism. Seems mother nature in her evolutionary long term adjustment plan feels the survival of our species depends on a certain percentage of this pattern.

  17. Wet, sociopaths aren't confident, they are grandiose. Confidence knows your limitations.

  18. To acknowledge your weaknesses to begin with is a weakness in itself, they should never ever confront you. If you accept your weaknesses you are on the road to modesty.

  19. 'Wet, sociopaths aren't confident, they are grandiose. Confidence knows your limitations.'

    wise words

  20. I love how PMS shows up just to yawn.

  21. I  agree there could be a meaningful Evolutionary component.  We might consider differentiating between forced responses to the environment (metabolic reactions to toxicity, by way of example) and sleeper traits whose expression might confer some advantage in changing cultural scenarios.

    I live in an area of highly academic parenting where all children are tested and tracked. This is similar to the 70's era Soviet sampling of muscle fibers and subsequent assignment of prospective Olympiads to either the endurance or performance aspects of their sport.

  22. Linking autism to human evolution is wishful thinking. Ranging between severely disabled to empathy challenged doesn't sound like a step in the right direction for mankind.

    I'm pretty sure Sociopathy technically isn't a recognized medical diagnosis, at least not in the States. There's ASPD, Dissocial PD, Conduct Disorder, Psychopathy, et cetera... And Sociopathy is used interchangeably with most of those. So you'd have to narrow your definition to what exactly you think sociopathy is.

  23. I think of autism being an attempt at evolution so savants and aspers.

    Savants make sense considering the way work is focused on specialization. We need specialists and the need for well rounded people in higher levels isn't as necessary. If savants had the interpersonal skills or could perform basic level tasks outside their field they would certainly be better then the general population. Think of the autistic person in rain man being able to analyze and apply. His ability to gather and remember data would far surpass that of a normal person.

    Aspies are much the same in their narrow avenues of interest. Yet it can also make them absolutely useless in many other scenarios or on the whole useless(Who really cares if you've memorized 1200 different types of lens.). Anything they latch onto though they gain a complex understanding of and their ability to recall information is near peerless. In an age of an over abundance of information people who collect, dissect, decipher, and recall, are beyond useful.

    Evolution is a trial and error process. People expect evolution to be a third eye or telepathic powers. Evolution doesn't give needless things. Evolution is just adaptation until a species has adapted to the point on not being that species. Mutation is a rarity.

    Humans though have gotten rid of survival of the fittest. Simply put it isn't PHds who are having 6 kids. Most of the worlds population is born in either poverty or a third world nation. Third world nations have staggeringly high birth to fertile female rates. Some are as high as 12 children per female of child bearing age.

    The lack of global empathy that many aspies feel makes sense in a world where entire villages no longer raise children. Instead we have a world were only the nuclear family handles that. The need to care about others outside of that seems moot in a way.

  24. Is it the geekification of SW now that's getting to you medusa? Are you pining for the good old penis crossing and incestuous gods of SW? just watched Thor ;)

  25. Thanks again kesu for the articulation. jeeze! am I beginning to sound like an ally?

    To further expland; If this were a fact then it follows that a higher degree of social empathy than what we're currently accustomed to will also be evolved in order for these new mutations to assimilate with or structure the new mainstream.

  26. How often do same symptoms result in different diagnoses? I expect that some of these autistic(?) Koreans would fall into different categories on the spectrum, sociopathy included.

  27. It is being debated whether or not it is ethically the 'right' thing to do. The debate is heated, and I get the impression that some European countries leans towards doing this kind of control.

    But I am also finding that there actually are people - scientists and privatists alike - who do see us as "something" that can potentially be put to 'good' use.

    I think some parts of the global population will be put under this kind of control, whereas smaller groups will remain free, and that means we'll remain part of the human species.

  28. Haven:

    I think I’d keep my BPD.

    And I would definitely keep my psychopathy. I think it's in the human nature to feel most at home with what you are. If you want to be able to not feel remorse, to not feel bad about not connecting with others, and not getting hurt by things others get hurt by, you would want this in a manner that allowed you to also keep your BPD, because it is part of who you are.

    To say "Okay, I'll swap and become PBD instead of a psychopath", or vice versa (in your case), would be like saying "Okay, I'll die and become something I can't experience because it isn't me!".

    It's an interesting thought experiment, but in reality it's an impossibility.

    (Then again, I really am very glad with being me and can't imagine how I'd be better off as anything else!)

  29. I'd rather switch back and forth -when it is convenient. But it would get exhausting. Why do people HAVE to choose?

  30. I's hungry!

    I's tired!

    GEt me a sodie pop!

  31. "I think it's in the human nature to feel most at home with what you are."

    I certainly would rather keep my autism than trade it in for psychopathy or BPD. I have met some people who do want a drastically different personality type, though. Most of the time they want to be neurotypical. I think it's really sad to see a person like that, but someone who thinks neurotypical is best would probably think I'm sad instead.

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