Recommended Reading for August 24, 2010

Wheelchair Dancer: Body Matters, Edges, and Disability

We all experience limitations and restrictions.  Not all of those — like not being able to speak a second language — are disabilities.  The second language example is a true comment, and I would have thought that it was a pretty obviously bad comparison.  But it and other similar remarks kept coming up.  In addition to those comments, I was also thinking about a second order of experience: the kind where someone claimed kinship/commonality/knowing what I am going through on the basis of their limiting, but non-disabling experience.  I’m referring to the kind of thing like, for example, comparisons of feeling tired from having flu and the tiredness in chronic fatigue syndromes or, say, multiple sclerosis.  A second example is that feeling sad or disappointed is not the same as the emotion of depression.

Lena at the ch!cktionary: What My Feminist Agenda Looks Like

I reject the argument that feminists can’t fight for women and for poor, queer, disabled, and non-White people. Because guess what? Many women are poor, queer, disabled, and non-White. For them, being part of the latter means many more disadvantages and much more discrimination than just being a woman. A feminist agenda has to recognize that women are not simply all oppressed in the exact same way because they share a gender.

Thea Lim at Racialicious: Sympathy Grifting: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Fraud

Much of [fraudulent cancer patient Ashley Kirilow’s] success seems attributed to the fact that she easily roused pity with her little lost girl story and her brave smile. Kirilow embodied a version of white womanhood that we want to believe in (or at least we’ve been socially conditioned to embrace it): pretty, plucky, determined, and in need of rescue.

Pam Belluck for the New York Times: Tai Chi Reported to Ease Fibromyalgia

A clinical trial at Tufts Medical Center found that after 12 weeks of tai chi, patients with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, did significantly better in measurements of pain, fatigue, physical functioning, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education. Tai chi patients were also more likely to sustain improvement three months later.

Jane Hughes for the BBC News: New brain scan to diagnose autism

The Medical Research Council study looked at 20 non-autistic adults and 20 adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

They were initially diagnosed using traditional methods, and then given a 15 minute brain MRI scan. The images were reconstructed into 3D and were fed into a computer, which looked for tiny but significant differences.

4 Comments

  1. I am highly interested in this autism diagnosed by MRI thing. People talk about how ASDs are omgsoeasilydiagnosed! *rolls eyes* but if that’s true at all, it’s really only the case for children. I’ve been through the mess that’s adult diagnosis and it took me ten months from first looking into diagnosis to actual diagnosis, and I was in the best possible position I could have been in many ways. (I was living in a city with an autism centre that has a branch specialising in adult diagnosis, and offers free assessment.) Things look decidedly different for a lot of adults looking for diagnosis. So although I worry it might become exclusive (if it identifies 90+% of autistics, what about the other 10%?) a test that’s relatively easy to administer (well, MRI) and objective (the symptom list for ASDs and various diagnostic criteria is biased towards kids because it’s usually diagnosed in childhood, there’s issues that it might be biased towards men and there’s undoubtedly other things here, and that’s not even getting into the objectivity of the professional doing the assessment…) would be good to have.

  2. Yeah, there are a lot of concerns I have about MRI identification, like autism just being a name to describe certain stuff which doesn’t necessarily say anything about what’s at the root of things (or if any *one* thing even is) or if it’s the same thing for everyone, and what will happen if not everyone who falls under the header by observation ‘passes’ the MRI? But it might be good.

    Also everything Kaz said.

  3. Actually that (above) was me. (I did something iffy when I was entering my name and email and such and closed the page or something). I had thought that the comment had just failed and was waiting until later when I’d be able to write something up again to try again. But I see it got through anyway.

  4. The autism brain scan thing is…not awesome. It actually kind of sucks. Not because scanning brains for autism is a bad thing, but because the statistics of it means it’s pretty much useless.

    If you have 1000 people, about 10 have a diagnosable autism spectrum disorder. The scan is accurate for 90% of autistic people, and about 80% of non-autistic people. That means that 9 of those 10 will get accurately labelled as having autism. 1 will be mislabelled as non-autistic. Meanwhile, there are 990 people without autism. 792 will accurately be told they are non-autistic. 198 (!!) will get back false-positives. That means that the test has identified 207 people as having autism, and 793 as not having autism. Only 9 of those 207 people actually have autism! The test is only accurate in 4.34% of people who get a positive test result.

    This does a fairly good job explaining it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2010/aug/12/autism-brain-scan-statistics