As I say in the video, some of my TMS experiences have been totally life changing. Turning on the ability to see into other people overnight is, as I describe in the video, one of the most powerful emotional experiences of my life and the effects of that are still reverberating today.
But other TMS experiences did nothing. A few may have even made me a bit worse. That's what science is all about. You try different things, pick the winners, and sharpen your focus for the next round of research.
I talk in the video about how one stimulation turned on the ability to see into others. We all agree that's a wonderful, incredible result. But it was also unexpected. The scientists were prepared to measure a subtle temporary change in me. Instead, we got a major permanent shift.
While that's great, it also gives us pause for thought. How will we measure such changes in others? And if that stimulation produces a permanent change, we have to be very careful, because other stimulations could produce permanent changes we don't want.
That's why we have to move slowly, despite everyone wish for speed!!!! The last thing we want to do is damage someone in the quest for insight.
So I've talked of the caution and worry and where we are . . . what about the promise?
TMS has shown me a world of emotional response that I never knew existed. I have always had deep feelings, both for myself and for others, but I lacked the immediate connection. When the TMS turned on "seeing," I was able to look at another person's smile and immediately smile back. I look at people and I just sense what they are feeling. To someone like me, it's almost magical. If you're not autistic, you might say, so what? If you're like me, it's hard to even imagine such a power of perception.
TMS has shown me what I've missed all these years, and I want to make up for all that lost time. But it's also turned my life upside down, as the balance of wants and needs changed for me overnight, and I see many of the people in my life in a different light.
I wish this work were as easy as it seems when we hit it right. We stimulate an area, and get a powerful result like I describe. But then we stimulate it again, and nothing much happens. Why? We don't know. We stimulate an area in me with great effect, and it does nothing for someone else in the study. We get a result on someone else, and it does something opposite for me. How? Right now, it's an extremely complex puzzle, probably the most complex puzzle I've ever known in my life.
I believe Alvaro and the scientists will unravel it, and I will be proud to make whatever contribution I can. Alvaro and his team at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are truly the best in the world, and they are defining the cutting edge of autism research.
We are going to find the answer to this puzzle. I feel very confident that we will learn how to "turn on" emotional intelligence in other people like me. In doing so, we can take away a huge component of disability from high functioning autism.