Autism and the brain.

Sheldon Cooper, BBC Sherlock and Abed from Community walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says “Is it gonna be a joke about media overusing the autism trope?”.
My awesome sense of humour aside, If there is a mental disorder overrepresented in the media then it’s (high-functioning) autism. The writers love themselves some genius socially awkward nerds solving unsolvable riddles and making ordinary people look adorably illogical. But how true is this stereotype? And what does autistic mean, if it’s not exactly Sheldon Cooper? Some people believe it equals the Rain Man-esque ability to count all matches in a box at one glance and others might think it means over-the top lack of social skills and having a huge bottle cap collection. Mostly, the reality is somewhere in between: autism is very broad (it’s called autistic spectrum disorder for a reason!) and no two diagnoses are the same. So let’s see what it really is and how the brain is involved.

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Science of being high: Your brain on acid.

Your ego disappears, you feel united with the Universe, you see things which are not there and your time perception is distorted: Even if you’ve never taken drugs these effects sound familiar to you; this is what your friends told you after they took acid at some festival or after their recent trip to Amsterdam.

Prehistoric art suggests that psychedelic drugs have a pretty long relationship with humans, their usage in spiritual and healing rituals going as far back as about 5000 years (our ancestors knew what’s up). However, due to political mostly than scientific reasons, psychedelic research was prohibited not long after blooming in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Currently, what can be called a reneissance in the research of psychedelic substances is taking place as more and more scientists turn their attention towards the neural correlates of the fascinating altered states of consciousness associated with psilocybin (the main component of magic mushrooms), ayahuaska and LSD.

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