A new study of eight child prodigies suggests a possible link between these children’s special skills and autism.
Of the eight prodigies studied, three had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. As a group, the prodigies also tended to have slightly elevated scores on a test of autistic traits, when compared to a control group.
In addition, half of the prodigies had a family member or a first- or second-degree relative with an autism diagnosis.
The fact that half of the families and three of the prodigies themselves were affected by autism is surprising because autism occurs in only one of 120 individuals, said Joanne Ruthsatz, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus.
Eight is not a huge sample of the public, but since actual prodigies in music, art or math are a very small percentage of the population, maybe it is a large enough sample to strongly suggest a link. A Stanford study done in 2002 – Researchers find link between creative genius and mental illness – also found a link between genius and a tendency to be moody and neurotic. In contrast to people considered healthy and normal ( their phrasing) tend not to have those mental issues, but they also do not generally display signs of genius. Jackson Pollock, Virginia Woolf and composers Irving Berlin are all said to have suffered with great mood swings, some persistent melancholy and in the case of Pollock, substance abuse. Another study seemed to find a direct link between a variation in the gene DARPP-32, genius and mental health issues. Van Gogh and mathematician John Nash( A Beautiful Mind) are thought to have that gene variant. Tough choice. Enjoy a well adjusted healthy mood and generally good mental health – thus be happy according to conventional wisdom or be a genius and suffer the baggage that goes with it.
There’s one big, but overlooked, development from the election last night: In Montana, a referendum to state that corporations don’t have constitutional rights has unofficially passed by a 75 percent to 25 percent margin. Initiative number 166 stated that “corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings,” and thus is a blow to the Citizen’s United ruling that helped make this presidential election the most expensive one ever.
While I tend to think the Constitution implies that speech and money are not one and the same, conservatives on the SCOTUS clearly thought otherwise. If you get more speech with every dollar of income it stops being free speech, a right reserved for individuals regardless of station in life and in the egalitarian context of the 1st amendment and starts being a commodity. Did the Founders really mean that we should only have as much Constitutional guarantees of liberty as one was able to buy.
Harry Houdini Hanging Upside Down, March 30, 1916. © CORBIS
I bookmarked and forgot the anniversary of escape artist/magician Harry Houdini’s death (born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) – Houdini: Art and Magic. Harry was one the most popular and highest earning performers of his day. In addition to magic and escape performances, he was a pioneer film maker, but gave it up because there wasn’t much money in it at the time. And he was also a debunker of the supernatural. Like the Amazing Randi, harry would visit practitioners of various forms of supposedly real magic and expose their tricks.
You can read some of the back story on the video below here: SoLost: Midnight Muscle Shoals Music Lesson
Noel Webster is one elusive cat. The man operates Muscle Shoals Sound in Sheffield, Alabama—a recording studio with a past as rich as any in rock-n-roll history. “Hyperbole,” you ask? Perhaps. Perhaps, that is, if an act named the Rolling Stones doesn’t ring a bell. And you’ve never heard of Paul Simon. Or Bob Seger. Or Aretha Franklin.