THE PRODIGY-ALLERGY LINK
From Wayan's journal 1994/7/21
Found an article today on child prodigies with the deceptively cute title "Duh, we don't know why they're so smart." It hid real news for me: "Ellen Winner, a developmental psychologist at Boston College... says many gifted people are either ambidextrous or left-handed, and that many suffer from allergies due to compromised immune systems... The allergies may be due to greater exposure than normal to fetal testosterone, which in turn affects the thymus and the immune system." What can be done about it, the article doesn't say. Guess we have to scour the net for other, larger groups exposed to immune-compromising levels of fetal testosterone. Even then, there may not BE any help for it.
The article, of course, doesn't say if the degree of giftedness correlates with the immune damage or ambidexterity. As an ambi-lefty with an IQ over 180 and allergies off the scale, I have a certain hunger to find out!
Oh, well. Patience. It's more evidence that these immune disorders affecting every gifted person in my family are likely genetic--just another price you pay for the brain. The question is... will things that normalize the immune system also "normalize" the intelligence--in short, lobotomize me?
Is my mind, indeed my whole character, just a symptom of illness?
25 YEARS LATER
I now know my character was shaped mostly by illness. I have a mutation causing Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Along with a host of odd physical problems (including allergies and immune problems), it can cause autism. Amusingly, EDS patients call themselves "zebras". My case exemplifies why. Sixty years without diagnosis, due to that delightful med school mindset focused on statistically common problems: "If you hear hoofbeats, assume horse--not zebra."
Too bad if you really are a zebra.
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