Sensory link between Parkinson’s and autism

While most of my ideas tend to the crazy end of speculative, it looks like the gray matter/white matter distinction is going to become an important one.

Yesterday, I was working with a woman with Parkinson’s who still has her faculties, except for some significant memory problems and subjective time dilation (“That was yesterday? Feels like it was a week ago”). I grabbed a bib for brushing her teeth that had fuzz on the underside like a peach, and when this touched her bare skin she had an extreme reaction. Later, she described it as her “blood itched”, and she had acted in the moment like she was halfway between a migraine and full-body electrocution.

This sort of over-reaction to peach fuzz is the archetypal example of sensory overstimulation in autistics (autism+peach+fuzz gets 137K hits on Google). It is typically interpreted as “painful”, but I think this is due to the communication barrier between autistics and their caretakers.

Parkinson’s and autism sufferers share the trait of underdeveloped white matter, which gives them a high ratio of gray:white matter. In autistics and Asperger’s, this appears to be due mostly to high testosterone causing higher gray matter production, and it seems possible that the only thing differentiating Asperger’s from autism may be healthy white matter production (hence the healthy verbal development). What we call autism in Somalians is probably just miscellaneous retardation. Parkinson’s sufferers reach this situation later in life when dopamine production gets broken somehow, and white matter begins to atrophy through lack of activation. (As I’ve mentioned previously, white matter acts according to classical conditioning principles, where dopamine is “good” and cortisol is “bad”.)

I think it is quite possible to induce autism in someone who would otherwise merely have Asperger’s through a stress event of some kind that makes a child negatively suggestible at an early age, so that they don’t develop critical portions of white matter during the natural period of development. For instance, if a 1-year-old kid is abused for six months and experiences a prolonged, high level of cortisol, it is unlikely they’ll develop their Broca’s area properly. Why communicate with a hostile world? Probably, heavy doses of mercury from intense vaccine schedules could provoke this sort of cortisol reaction.

Anyway, it remains for me to puzzle out why peach fuzz in particular is often unpleasant. Not like anybody else is gonna do it; I’m coming to the conclusion that no one in psychology really gives a shit about anything except posturing.

About Aeoli Pera

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6 Responses to Sensory link between Parkinson’s and autism

  1. Jonathan says:

    Many people seem to have some degree of sensitivity to certain stimulus. Metal on glass or ceramic creating unpleasant sounds and vibrations that makes you itch. Noisy eating.

    Eh, newbz.

    How about, say, having trouble chewing (sometimes) because your teeth are temporarily super sensitive and with each bite you feel like you’re biting into flesh, not enamel. Can’t really explain what it is. Having a bizarre, painful reaction when someone is walking barefoot on a smooth surface. Or clenching their fist together. Dammit, I hate that. That’s my only criticism of LOTR, that wildman swearing fealty to Saruman by selm-harm. I’m already sensitive to seeing blood, add clenching ones fist whilst bleeding and its enough to cause an extremely awkward sensation in my whole body. It’s too bizarre to make up. I have to jump over that scene.

    Do you think this is the same things as what you’re describing? Is my brain poorly developed? Are these reactions less likely with higher IQ?

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >Do you think this is the same things as what you’re describing?

      Yeah, I think those are good examples of the phenomenon.

      >Is my brain poorly developed? Are these reactions less likely with higher IQ?

      I think they are a symptom of chronic dopamine starvation, which also damages white matter production, which leads to getting some wires crossed. Because poor production of white matter leads to lower verbal and social IQ, I’d expect the latter answer to generally be “yes” due to common cause.

      As for your brain personally, it’s hard to say exactly because dopamine starvation and elevated cortisol will have different effects at different points in your brain’s development. My experience suggests that once the problem is fixed a person can make up a lot of ground in a relatively short time (less than 3 years to regain full short-term memory capacity), but some things can’t be fixed once they’re hardwired inside the development period (once you’re psychosexually abnormal, it either can’t be fixed or it would be very difficult).

  2. Lackland says:

    So, chicken or the egg. Lack of dopamine is impacting brain function?

  3. Craig says:

    Perhaps it’s triggering the fight and flight response. I don’t have a pain reaction to furry peach skin, but I know from my memory what it reminds me of that is bloody painful.

    I remember playing in the back yard when a child, there’s a different tree with seed pods, seeds look like little mini furry orange peaches, you touch them, or brush up against them…Oh no they are not furry sweet mini peaches, they are little balls from hell with tiny hollow syringe like needle prickles that fricking burn with what ever it injects into the dermis.

    Furthermore perhaps something is triggering a fear memory and some or all pain receptors are triggering in response, if it’s a wave of pain it’s setting off some kind of acute pain response.

    An analogy, kind of like a pinball machine going multi ball stimuli mode in the brain.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      No, I don’t think so. Yours was a pretty rare experience, and why would Mrs. Parkinsons have failed to experience this same reaction in all the years prior?

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