Will Scientists Learn How To Fine-Tune Autism?

In his 2000 novel A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge writes about a treatment called Focusing:

Focusing ennobles. It is the key to Emergent success, and a much more subtle thing than you can imagine. It's not just that we've created a psychoactive microbe....

"We can improve the attention-focusing aspects of consciousness: we can take humans and turn them into analytical engines."
(Read more about focusing)

Researchers have announced this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) that genetically altered mice "with a loss-of-function mutation in the murine NLGN4 ortholog Nlgn4, which encodes the synaptic cell adhesion protein Neuroligin-4, exhibit highly selective deficits in reciprocal social interactions and communication that are reminiscent of ASCs (autism spectrum conditions) in humans."

Last summer, it was announced that inhibiting an enzyme called PAK can stop mice from exhibiting signs of hyperactivity and repetitive movement.

If scientists learn a bit more, it is not outside the realm of possibility that it might be possible to induce autism-like behaviors and then remove them. Autism and genius are increasingly seen as being related; some forms of mild autism may provide a shortcut to increased concentration for particular individuals.

An ideal study pill - which can be reversed in time for you to enjoy being with friends on the weekend? Don't be surprised if someday students are asked to pee in a cup or give a blood sample after taking an important test like the LSAT or GRE.

Other barriers are already being broken in the race to cheat on tests:

Via the nifty new site io9; science links here and here. Also, read more about the idea of how autism may relate to brilliance in this well-done article about a musical savant diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder and this set of links on autism, creativity and genius.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/30/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.' - James Blish, 1957.

Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'

Rise Of Skywalker Could Trigger Epileptic Seizures
'... then the screen started to flicker. I stared at it for a while.' - John Varley, 1984.

Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Clothes That Do Photosyntheisis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'

CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'

Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'

Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.