Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

PSYCHOTHERAPY BEYOND THE FRINGE, continued

Now let’s get back to Larry. What in the contents of beer could be allergenic (prone to create/mimic the allergic response)? Presumably, it was the thing which makes beer different from other alcoholic beverages – the grains in it. If this formulation is valid, then what follows? The grains in any beer consumed by Larry arrived quickly at the site of the brain target, carried there by the alcohol (which enters the blood stream very quickly). The nervous tissue in the drive centre reacts to the allergenic grains mimicking the usual allergic immune inflammation. The inflammation decreases the permeability of the nerves’ membranes. This prevents some ‘pumped out’ sodium ions from de-ionizing within their own nerve. In turn, this leaves an ionized electrical potential, which may ‘jump’ over and de-ionize a chloride ion in a nearby nerve fibre – thus starting the neighbouring nerve fibre going with an active electrical charge moving along it. In Larry’s case, the only thing which seemed to trigger off this ‘short-circuiting’ epileptic-like activity was a response mimicking the histamine/ allergic-inflammatory reaction to something (the grains) in beer.

Without the presence of the allergen in beer, Larry was a really wonderful human being – that is, he never had any epileptic activity affecting his behaviour. Presumably, without the allergic response to beer, Larry’s brain was capable of producing enough ‘neural inhibition’ (described elsewhere) to prevent ‘short-circuiting’. With beer, his brain could not produce enough to block the short-circuiting effects of the allergic response, the rage centre was triggered and he became violent.

But why should the allergic response occur specifically in the ‘drive centre’ area to create this rage response? The answer is probably that there were at least two ‘drive centre’ areas affected by the allergic short-circuiting response. It is likely that the rage centre was implicated to evoke the violent responses. But it is also likely that the so-called ‘reinforcement centre’ was involved which provided reinforcement or reward, and thus strong learning. But what was he learning? He was learning both the habit of responding in an allergic fashion to the grains in the beer (yes, there is other evidence too that allergic responses can be, and usually are, learned), and the habit of seeking and drinking beer – becoming addicted to beer (that’s right, addictions are mostly learned habits, and not a result of some sort of physiological or chemical imbalance).

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