Updates from the Autism Spectrum – October 2015 Café

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Is Autism on the rise, in the US and throughout the world? Maybe. Or is it something we are seeing more often today because medical science is getting better at diagnosing autism, and we are getting better at recognizing its many shades? Very likely. Is there really an epidemic of autism, as some, including a Presidential candidate or two, keep insisting? Probably not. Is there any link between vaccines and autism? NO. None, according to the best and most large-scale studies conducted till date. Is Autism really one disorder? No. It is better to think about autism as a spectrum of neurodevelopment disorders in how human brains work. And as we are discovering, the range of autistic brains is part of a broader spectrum of how diverse human brains are. Perhaps it is our growing awareness of this neurodiversity which is helping us appreciate the number of people on the autism spectrum and pushing our interpretations past the category of “disorder”, as described beautifully in Steve Silberman’s new bestseller Neurotribes.

Join us this October as Fresno State Neuropsychologist Dr. Amanda Mortimer brings us up to date with current scientific understanding of the autism spectrum. She will share how neurobiology and psychology shed light on the mechanisms through which autism manifests itself, its consequences for behavior, and applied behavioral analysis strategies to enable autistic individuals to function in “normal” society which is still struggling to accommodate neurodiversity. An old friend to the Central Valley Café Scientifique, Dr. Mortimer spoke a few years ago about her research on Dementia.

Dr. Mortimer touched on some of these topics when interviewed for the last episode (22 Sep 2015) of our radio show “Science: A Candle In The Dark“. Have a listen to the archived show via the #ScienceCandle podcast. And join us at Peeve’s Pub on October 5th for another informative Café Scientifique. See you there!

When: Monday, 5 October 2015, 7:00 PM

Where: Peeve’s Public House
, 1243 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721

Contact: 559-278-2460 (cafe inquiries) / 559-573-5735 (Pub’s number)

Here’s the full poster for this event – please feel free to download, print, and/or share with your friends and family:

8. Updates from the Autism Spectrum – #ScienceCandle

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Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 8: Updates from the Autism Spectrum
Airdate: 
22 
September 2015
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guests: Dr. Amanda Mortimer

Topic: During last week’s Republican Presidential Primary Debate, medical science made a rare appearance in the nation’s political media discourse, when Jake Tapper raised the question about appropriate schedules for childhood vaccinations. This was triggered by candidate Donald Trump’s reassertion of a new long-discredited link between vaccines and autism. The two actual medical doctors on the panel, Ben Carson and Rand Paul did dismiss the suggestion of such a link. But Trump went on to claim that we are actually facing an epidemic of autism in this country! What do we make of this claim? Is there any semblance of truth to this?

At the next Café Scientifique meeting, on Oct 5th, we will get some Updates from the Autism Spectrum, from my friend and our guest in this episode, Dr. Amanda Mortimer. Dr. Mortimer has a dual PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Indiana University. Interface between neuroscience and clinical psychology. She is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She is now an Associate Professor of Psychology at Fresno State. She is here with some Updates from the Autism Spectrum.

The Central Valley Café Scientifique will return to Peeve’s Pub on 14 September 2015, for its 9th season. For more information about the Café and announcements about upcoming events, please visit our website, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.