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A New Theory About Autism and the Brain

I would like to explain my new theory of the final common pathway in autism–that is, a way to understand how all the various causes of autism end up affecting the same brain system, and causing a defect in the 40 cycle event binding neural rhythm (we call Neureka!), resulting in problems in understanding and reacting to events.  The basic difficulty is that the memories and perceptions needed to understand and process events do not bind (come together) properly in the center of the brain (the thalamus). 

The 40 Hertz (or cycles per second) brain rhythm is being constantly generated while we are awake, and sent out to scan the surface layers of the brain (the cortex) to discover what is important and bring that information back to the center of the brain for processing.  It scans the brain from front to back, 40 times a second.  There are many opportunities for different causes to affect the functioning of this system and the integration of perceptions and memories.

This set of illustrations shows how the brain responds to an event such as an interaction with another person.  The initial perception (1 and 2) may be the same, but the illustrations labelled with A’s for autism indicate that the scanning and binding system is not steady, but behaves in a “fuzzy” fashion compared with the normal illustrations.  “Fuzzy” here is a metaphor, covering a variety of possible problems.

This theory originated from the observations of my collaborator, Dr. Estate Sokhadze, who showed that neurofeedback (brainwave biofeedback) which enhanced this 40 Hz. Neureka! produced remarkable improvements in many autistic issues.

Dr. Jonathan Cowan

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