Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Possibly a cure for autism?
The Stanford University team turned skin cells from people with “Timothy syndrome” into fully fledged brain cells. The abnormal activity found in these cells could be partially corrected using an experimental drug, Nature Medicine reports. UK researchers warned the findings might not apply to everyone with autism.
Then there are the ethics of a cure. The goal should not be to pathologize the different and stamp out the savants (quirky geniuses like TV’s ‘Bones’) – wiping out autistic personalities, trying to force everybody to be the same; shades of Nazi eugenics – but to do what special ed tries to do now, alleviate suffering by compensating for weaknesses, only more effectively. I understand the best special ed for the autistic is great: they can take advanced/gifted courses in their best subjects while at the same time learning things like how to look people in the eye and shake hands properly. How to adapt to normal people in order to get along. If science can figure out how do that with meds, great. A world without eccentrics would be poorer. From RR.

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