Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Switched On

Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional AwakeningSwitched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening by John Elder Robison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This memoir tells what happened when John Elder Robison bravely volunteered to participate in a 2008 study to see what effects transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) would have on the so-called social deficits that characterize people on the autism spectrum. Mr. Robison was in his forties when he was diagnosed with Asperger's. Although he's a successful inventor, businessman, autism consultant and author, he says he's always felt like an outsider because of his blindness to emotional cues. After one TMS session, the "doors of perception" blew open. He wept tears of joy as he vividly re-experienced a rock concert he had attended decades before. After another session, he felt a soul-to-soul connection with members of an audience during his presentation on autism. Although the intensity of these initial reactions faded in time, as he was told they would, he continues seven years later to be more outgoing and sympathetic to the feelings of others. Not all of the outcomes have been favorable, however. His marriage ended. So did a relationship when Robison finally realized the "friend" had been subtly, and publicly, ridiculing him for years. I read this book because I am interested in how the brain works. especially for someone with autism.  Robison foresees a day when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may approve TMS for the treatment of conditions other than depression, the only one it currently approves.

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1 comment:

PipeTobacco said...

That is a. Rey interesting book! I too enjoyed it greatly and I saw additional insight about autism spectrum disorder. Have you read any of the books by Temple Grandin? She too has Aspbergers and her books are very worth considering too for that subject. I have used some excerpts of her writings in my ethology course and in my neurobiology course. Another interesting book is "Ghost Boy". It is about the life of a fellow who was in a vegetative coma for several years as a teen and his effort to regain the ability to communicate. Very good book if you like other aspects of neurobiology.