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The Rain Man's Disorder: Savant Syndrome

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posted on May, 28 2005 @ 06:08 AM
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I take it people have seen/heard of the film 'The Rain Main', if not check out this link.

People who have this disease have been found to have amazing skills. One real life event was a man who opened a phone book and in eight seconds he had memorized the left page with his left eye and the right page with his right eye.


Range of skills

All people with savant syndrome have an amazing memory that is very focused in one area. The most common behaviors demonstrated by people with the syndrome are obsessive preoccupations with trivia (facts about U.S. presidents, for example), license plate numbers, maps, or obscure items. Some people have startling artistic or musical abilities. For example, one man can hear a piano concerto only once, then play it perfectly. Other people with the syndrome have outstanding mathematical skills, such as being able to perform complex calculations within a few seconds. Some can also perform calendar calculations, meaning given any date past or future the person can tell what day of the week it is.


There was a TV program on about a man who had an epileptic fit at a young age, and since then he has had amazing math skills. He can calculate totally random sums in his head, i.e 922.34/3432.546. He can also recite pi to over 10,000 places.

So this got me thinking, surely we all have the capability to have these amazing skills but we just need something triggered in our brain. Do you think we'll ever find out what and how this can be triggered? Technology would surely gain greatly from this and even medical advances would be made. Has there been any research into this or does no-one really know what to research?



[edit on 28-5-2005 by phixion]




posted on Jun, 1 2005 @ 04:45 PM
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My son who is 7 and has autism, recites the whole chinese scene from the beginning of Shanghai Noon, from memory.
We will be in the car and he will just start spouting it off.
He knows all of his movies forward and back in english.

He is now into changing his favorite DVDs to other languages with subtitles (French, Spanish) and putting those to memory.

I believe what Rain Man had, is called an autistic savant.

As far as research, maybe the government is already actively researching on our children. Maybe they are breeding us for more brain power using vaccines.
My son was injected with liquid mercury as normal reccomended vaccine procedure, (way over the EPA limit per lb of weight) and as a result became withdrawn and lost the few words he had. It took him years to regain the synapses and pathways in his brain to be able to express words clearly. I know he can "remember" and "say" anything in his head perfectly. But he has trouble letting the outside world know it, and speaking clearly.

So you want to have special powers like photographic memory??
Inject yourself with the Thimerosal preservative (%50 mercury by weight) and see what happens.
It is classified as a neurological poison. You might lose the ability to speak, and have a dis-associated relationship with your body, but you might get special abilities like autistic savants. Don't worry the government assures us its perfectly safe to inject into babies.

Seriously - If you have children that need shots, get informed first. Do your own research, and ask your doctor if their vaccines are Thimerosal free.
Unless you want to have "X-men" children that don't talk right, don't walk right, and are partially disabled.


[edit on 1-6-2005 by kdx175]



posted on Jun, 1 2005 @ 06:42 PM
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I have a theory that when part of the brain is not in use or diminished in some way that it leads to a shift in the amount of activity it devotes to another region....similar to people that are blind have more acute hearing, etc. Some type of chemical change could take place to enhance an area for some reason.

When I was in school, I was an A student..not a complete genius but up there in the top 5%. I devoted alot of my time to reading while by myself and was acutely aware of my surroundings while others sometimes didn't pay attention in class. I also couldn't remember where my classes were from one to the next in the beginning of the school year..took me awhile, constantly was leaving homework at home and my books in class...extremely absent minded. I think the 2 things tied in together....Also found out I was hyperthyroid...Hyper so I forgot things and hyper so I was constantly reading... I read somewhere that now they are working on a way to raise the level of intelligence in people and it's bringing good results...So maybe intelligence in certain areas has to do with a chemicals in our bodies trying to spur the areas of the brain that are deficient and it makes the non-damaged or affected areas super strong.

I don't know, does that sound reasonable?? I wonder if that's also why some people are psychic after an injury (and we all have a little bit of the ability) and are just enhanced that way.



posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 01:32 AM
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Those who have such amazing skills and are autistic can probably do what they do because their brain is so focused on one kind of activity. Even the very normal among are able to do a multiplicity of tasks everyday all day long. If you are on this board, are you carrying on a conversation with someone, watching television, listening to music? When you drive to the store do you also eat a hamburger, talk on the phone, shave, paint your toenails, learn a foriegn language? You shouldn't but most here do at least some of those things. The human brain is a remarkable organ no matter whose it is.



posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 01:42 AM
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Actually, we should notice that most (all?) savants have abilities that are much more mechanical than creative. You'll notice the common press spouting off about great mathematicall abilities. Then you do some research and ask, can they prove the Riemann hypothesis, or do ground breaking mathematical work? No. All they can do is what a calculator or a good CAS system can do. That's not to special. Even playing music, one of the most creative endeavors, the best autustic savants can do is recall from memory.

The real way to make geniuses is to start teaching children mathematics at a young age and also teach them the classics. That, along with meditation, will enable anyone to refocus their mind and truly uncover the creative genius within.



posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 08:07 AM
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The brain is a very exciting piece of meat. The things it can do!
Two books by Dr. Oliver Sacks (He also wrote Awaknings which was made into a movie) that are very good are," Anthropologist on Mars, and "The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat". Each book tell of actual patients that have extraordinary brain function. Some born that way and some developed because of some outside occurance.
Absolutely great reads about real people and the amazing thing a brain can make happen.



posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 12:37 PM
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One way to get smarter is by scaring the Brain Stem...

like muscle, that part of the brain will regenerate itself...



posted on Jun, 26 2005 @ 08:37 PM
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Originally posted by mwen
One way to get smarter is by scaring the Brain Stem...


I presume you mean scarring the brain stem. You are aware of what the brain stem does, aren't you. Damage to the brain stem usually results in nothing but death.



posted on Jun, 26 2005 @ 08:45 PM
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Originally posted by kdx175
My son was injected with liquid mercury as normal reccomended vaccine procedure, (way over the EPA limit per lb of weight) and as a result became withdrawn and lost the few words he had. It took him years to regain the synapses and pathways in his brain to be able to express words clearly. I know he can "remember" and "say" anything in his head perfectly. But he has trouble letting the outside world know it, and speaking clearly.

So you want to have special powers like photographic memory??
Inject yourself with the Thimerosal preservative (%50 mercury by weight) and see what happens.
It is classified as a neurological poison. You might lose the ability to speak, and have a dis-associated relationship with your body, but you might get special abilities like autistic savants. Don't worry the government assures us its perfectly safe to inject into babies.

Seriously - If you have children that need shots, get informed first. Do your own research, and ask your doctor if their vaccines are Thimerosal free.
Unless you want to have "X-men" children that don't talk right, don't walk right, and are partially disabled.


I used to work for a company that assisted in big drug company class action legal defense. Thimerosol was among the cases that we were involved in. Thimerosol is thought to be single-handedly responsible for the large increases in cases of autism over the past 50 years. In some places, autism has risen 850% in just one decade. I'm not sure how much of this stuff I cannot comment on because of NDA's and how much of it is public knowledge, but Thimerosol is BAD.

Zip



posted on Jun, 26 2005 @ 11:49 PM
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Mercury, I was reading something about a year ago that you might find very interesting, about our innate ability to achieve savant-like abilities without being autistic, and about the transformation of our brain's physical structure in response to our mental needs.

National Geographic had some articles on the mind in its March issue. In one such article, it was mentioned that the brain had the ability to actually grow in some areas according to need. For example, taxi drivers in London were shown to have a larger rear portion of the hippocampus than the average person, and a smaller front hippocampus. Because the rear portion is involved in our ability to make a mental map, this portion increased based on need, and restructured neighboring regions to increase the ability. You may think that people born with a larger rear hippocampus may naturally choose this career because of their ability, but when subjects in an experiment in Germany spent 3 months juggling, they found an increase of gray matter in areas associated with visual and motor activity, and a deacrease in surrounding areas. The brain is plastic and this is completely reversible.

Blind people were looked at in another article. It was thought possible that nerve connections reached across the brain to occupy areas such as the visual cortex that were not needed. To test this, normal people were blindfolded for 5 days. After only 2 days, there was a burst of activity in the visual cortex, which was odd considering this was not nearly enough time for nerve connections to grow to this area:

"And after just a few hours with the blindfold removed, the visual cortex again responded only to input from the eyes. So what accounts for this sudden ability of the brain to "see" with input from the fingers and ears? Pascual-Leone suggests the connections from these senses to the visual cortex may already be there but remain unused so long as the eyes are doing their job. When the eyes shut down, he next best way of getting the same information springs into action. It's provocative, but we're arguing that the brain may not be organized into sensory modalities at all. What neuroscientists have been calling the visual cortex for the past century might not be devoted exclusively to the eyes, but should more accurately be defined as the area of the brain best able to discriminate spatial relationships-and it will grab whatever input is available to perform that task"

This doesn't discount what was said in the previous article. Certain parts of the brain have certain functions, but the brain is hardwired to use any portion of the brain for another purpose.

I wish I could find the article on autism, but I can summarize what was said fairly accurately. With an autistic person, certain areas of the brain are more active than others. Sometimes memory is used extensively, and people can remember dialog from entire movies like was mentioned above. Sometimes savants can find the 'sweet spot' in a room where sound waves converge to produce the best sound while music is playing, and there are also a number of other abilities that they may have. If we all could consciously 'turn off' parts of our brain, we could all have these abilities. We could be Einsteins one instant, and Beethoven's the next. It was even mentioned that job-specific pills could be created to direct brain power to a specific region or a few regions of the brain that are needed more than others based on the profession in which they are involved.

I remember seeing on TV, I think either Ripley's Believe it or Not, or Guiness Book of World Record a man who could concentrate his brain power to do some unreal mathematical problems. He was just an average guy, but on command he could unleash, so to speak, his savant-like powers. He would be given a number like 681,472, and say instantly that 88 is the cube root. He could take a problem like 24/127 and find the answer to however many decimal places you would like to know. He described it as having laser guided vision in a way. Nothing else was in his mind except math when he wanted to show off. He didn't say how he was able to do this, but it would be interesting if humans could activate savant-like abilities by methods like meditation, concentration, and lots of practice. The impacts this would have would just be amazing.

Edit: I want to provide links, but I don't have access to national geographic articles online, and I am unable to find the link to the autism article. Sorry, guess you guys just gotta trust me


[edit on 26-6-2005 by zhangmaster]



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