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Autism – What We Know And What We Don’t Know (Yet)

This factual TED talk about autism is a concise and enlightening lecture that reviews our current state of understanding, particularly from a genetic perspective, of this challenging condition.

Wendy Chung, director of clinical research at the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, begins by looking at the epidemiology of autism as a diagnosis, and proposes some possible causes for the marked increase in presentation in recent years.  She also discusses the previous worry about vaccines as aetiology, and then provides insight into causes and correlations that are supported by real evidence.

After a very clear and interesting section on the genetics of autism, Ms Chung also presents her recent research on identifying gene mutations that lead to ASD development, and shows some of the new ways that early diagnosis in infants is being achieved.

As an alternative viewpoint – Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism herself, provides wonderful insight into the autistic mind:

Abraham Verghese - A Doctor's Touch

The Importance Of Touch

Filmed July 2011 at TEDGlobal 2011

Physician and writer Abraham Verghese speaks earnestly and with great humanity about the powerful role that touch plays when helping our patients in a therapeutic setting.

Transcending the clinical routine, Verghese portrays, sometimes with poetic intensity, the fundamental human need to connect – without which we might risk losing sight of the patient as a person.

“…the power of the human hand  – to touch, to comfort, to diagnose and to bring about treatment”

Obviously, as osteopaths we work with touch in a way that is central to our interaction – in examination and treatment – powerful allies when helping a person to recover. Nonetheless, this talk entreats us to reaffirm the responsibility this interaction brings, and to best use the opportunity we have to help.