Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Autism: Connective Tissue Links

The connective tissue "trail" seems to be long and well-entwined beyond most perception.  I have recently read some short articles that propose that fascia/connective tissue enthusiasts are far too "energized" about the topic...which in fact is actually relatively accurate...however, when you stop and take a true inventory of each specific pathology (MS, Cerebral Palsy, EDS, Fibromylagia, Cancer, Lymphedema, etc...) you will almost inevitably find some relevant links that point to connective tissue as a relevant source of potential improvement.  With this reality in mind (and in-hand), I wouldn't characterize enthusiasts as fanatical...rather, they are expressing the physiological "high" from experiencing some intellectual enlightenment.  This enlightenment unearths many "archeological understanding" that brings an inevitable sense of excitement.  This may simply be a fancy way of describing a fanatic...but I think that the main message is that the ethusiasm is well grounded in science rather than some intangible belief or philosophy.

I have recently done some preliminary "excavation" into the world of Autism and have found that there exists a probable connective tissue link there as well.  The intuitive reaction from most would be "how does addressing connective tissue cure Autism"...but this is an altogether wrong question.  The more accurate question should be: "how does this understanding of the role of connective tissue within the autistic person impact my ability to manage and improve their everyday lives".  I do not pretend to think that people with autism do not lead productive and rewarding lives...rather, they are exposed to certain diffculties (whether mild or extreme) with respect to communication, emotional responses, and sensory dysfunction.  Therefore ANY strategy that would directly (or indirectly) contribute to the salutogenetic (promotion of health) approach to life management would be relevant.

This initial "dive" into Autism is quite early...and therefore I lack the necessary knowledge to go into great detail or physiological analysis.  However, I came across an article from the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) that presented some interesting information on "Physical Findings in Autistic Disorder".  You can refer to the article yourself, however it reports that the most frequent findings among the study group (113) demonstrated hypotonia (47.8%) and connective tissue anomalies (41.6%) such as joint laxity, velvety skin, pes planus (flat feet), and prominent fingertip pads.

Although this hardly represents true, hard, scientific evidence...it does at least suggest some potential connective tissue links (more specifically, connective tissue weakness) to some of the sensory dysfunction that is characteristic of the condition.  It is well understood that connective tissue is, not only a powerful sensory mechanism in its own right, but the architectural "mortar" that supports the central and peripheral nervous system.  To be precise, it has an extensive role in the mechanical AND systemic support of sensory competence. 

Although far from a paradigm shifting revolution, it is a personal "Ah-Hah" moment that deserves some more "digging".  Hopefully the "intellectual archeology" bug does its work!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the excavation, Gavin! I think this is a vein well worth exploring.