New from the TMS lab and autism research

Last night I attended Brain Health / Body Wealth at Harvard Medical School.Dr. Alvaro Pascual Leone told a rapt audience about new discoveries in brain plasticity and what it may mean to us, especially as we age.Then Dr. Dan Press talked about practical neurology, and what’s on the immediate horizon for conditions like Alzheimer’s

After they spoke Paul Levy came to the podium.He’s the head of the Beth Israel hospital, and he spoke of the need for more funding to support the cutting edge research that doctors like Alvaro and Dan are pursuing.To my surprise, the event finished with this video of me: 

www.youtube.com/johnelderrobison

I knew they were going to show it, but I’d never seen the thing projected on a big screen and I almost felt embarrassed being up there like that.But I believe in all I said, and I believe most of all in the promise of the work Alvaro and his team is doing at Beth Israel neuroscience.

There’s a lot of talk about genetics in the autism world.And genetic research may lead to discoveries that help my grandchildren.However, genetics study is not likely to help you, me, or our kids, friends and family.Research like Alvaro’s – using TMS to remediate disability in people like me – has tremendous promise for all of us, in the very near future.

Looking at that video, I was really struck by how far I’ve come in the past two years.If you watched that earlier video of me, watch this one now, from two summers past.Look at the differences in me.In this earlier video, I am robotic and mechanical.My voice is different.I am stiff and rigid.It’s almost a different person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIZsYGxXHis

Compare the animation in my face, my hands, the range and prosody of my voice . . .

TMS has played a big role in the transformation you see between those two films.If we could do what’s been done for me for anyone else who asked for help on the spectrum . . . it would be a parent or clinician’s dream come true.And I believe we will.But not quite today.We are so close, yet also so far . . .

People write me and ask, “How can I sign my child up for this?”I am always sorry to say that clinical trials are still some years in the future, even though you can join our scientific studies now.If you’d like to talk about joining a study you can write Lindsay Oberman, Phd at Look Me In The Eye: Brain Plasticity and TMS
Look Me In The Eye: A return to the TMS lab
Look Me In The Eye: Brain Plasticity and how it affects us
Look Me In The Eye: A summary of my TMS posts

(c) 2007-2010 John Elder Robison
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John Elder Robison
John grew up in the 1960s. He knew he was different, but didn’t know why. His early social and academic failures would be signs of disability today, but back then, they were dismissed as laziness or a bad attitude.
John Elder Robison

John Elder Robison

John grew up in the 1960s. He knew he was different, but didn’t know why. His early social and academic failures would be signs of disability today, but back then, they were dismissed as laziness or a bad attitude.

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