Tag Archives: Genius?

Indiana Boy Genius Diagnosed With Autism Has IQ Higher than Einstein

Boy Genius Diagnosed With Autism Has IQ Higher than Einstein

Kristine Barnett noticed that her little boy Jacob – whom doctors had tagged as autistic – seemed to have a fascination with patterns. So she took him out of his school’s special ed program and let him study the things he’s passionate about. Now Jacob is on his way to winning a Nobel Prize.

Jacob Barnett, who was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism at 2 years old, is now studying for a master’s degree in quantum physics.

Jacob was silent for much of his childhood. But when he started to speak, he was able to communicate in four different languages.

As a child, doctors told Jacob Barnett’s parents that their autistic son would probably never know how to tie his shoes.

But experts say the 14-year-old Indiana prodigy has an IQ higher than Einstein’s and is on the road to winning a Nobel Prize. He’s given TedX talks and is working toward a master’s degree in quantum physics.

The key, according to mom Kristine Barnett, was letting Jacob be himself — by helping him study the world with wide-eyed wonder instead of focusing on a list of things he couldn’t do.

Diagnosed with moderate to severe autism at the age of 2, Jacob spent years in the clutches of a special education system that didn’t understand what he needed. His teachers at school would try to dissuade Kristine from hoping to teach Jacob any more than the most basic skills.

Jacob was struggling with that sort of instruction — withdrawing deeper into himself and refusing to speak with anyone.

But Kristine noticed that when he was not in therapy, Jacob was doing “spectacular things” on his own.

“He would create maps all over our floor using Q-tips. They would be maps of places we’ve visited and he would memorize every street,” Kristine told the BBC.

One day, his mom took him stargazing. A few months later, they visited a planetarium where a professor was giving a lecture. Whenever the teacher asked questions, Jacob’s little hand shot up and he began to answer questions — easily understanding complicated theories about physics and the movement of planets.

Jacob was just 3-1/2 years old.

His mom realized that Jacob might need something that the standard special education curriculum just wasn’t giving him.

So Kristine decided to take on the job herself.

“For a parent, it’s terrifying to fly against the advice of the professionals,” Kristine writes in her memoir, “The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius.” “But I knew in my heart that if Jake stayed in special ed, he would slip away.”

His IQ rounds out to 170 — higher than that of Albert Einstein. He’s been working on his own theory of relativity. Professors at Princeton’s Institute for Advance Study were impressed.

“The theory that he’s working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics,” astrophysics Professor Scott Tremaine wrote to the family in an email.

“Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.”

Warner Bros. has snatched up movie rights to Jacob’s story. Kristine and her son have embarked on a European book tour, but hope to have some time to rest by July.

“My goal for the summer is just to give him a few weeks off,” Kristine told the Indianapolis Monthly. “The last time he had that was when he came up with the alternative theory to the Big Bang. So who knows what he’ll create?”


The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Genius

The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Genius

by Soren Dreier

Margie Profet was always a study in sharp contradictions.

A maverick thinker remembered for her innocent demeanor, she was a woman who paired running shorts with heavy sweaters year-round, and had a professional pedigree as eccentric as her clothing choices: Profet had multiple academic degrees but no true perch in academe. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Profet published original theories about female reproduction that pushed the boundaries of evolutionary biology, forcing an entire field to take note.

Indeed, back then it was hard not to notice Margie Profet, a vibrant young woman who made a “forever impression” on grade school chums and Harvard Ph.D.s alike. Today, the most salient fact about Profet is her absence.

Neither friends, former advisers, publishers, nor ex-lovers has any idea what happened to her or where she is today. Sometime between 2002 and 2005, Profet, who was then in her mid-40s, vanished without a trace.

Best known for three landmark papers in the prestigious Quarterly Review of Biology (QRB) and Evolutionary Theory, Profet recast a trio of everyday curses into a trinity of evolutionary blessings. Allergies, menstruation, and morning sickness, she argued, eliminate germs, carcinogens, and mutation-causing toxins from the body.

Her theories were hotly debated among scientists but embraced by mainstream media. In quick succession, Profet landed a six-figure MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and published two books, including Protecting Your Baby-to-Be, on what to eat—and avoid—during pregnancy.

Magazines and newspapers played up her model looks and touted her beautiful mind. Her “radical new views,” the New York Times announced, gave “ordinary annoyances an active and salutary spin.”

Though controversial to this day, Profet’s work is “a paradigmatic example of how evolution can offer new solutions to old medical riddles,” says Michael Jones, a retired psychiatrist who discovered her papers while researching evolutionary biology at the University of Missouri.

Now, converging research suggests that Profet’s allergy theory, which has thus far received less attention than her other work, may be her most important. Scientists have generally confirmed an inverse relationship between allergies and many types of cancer, but struggle to explain the observation.

The traditional view is that allergies are an accident of nature. Profet argued that allergic reactions evolved to expel toxins, including deadly carcinogens, from the body.

Prior to Profet’s work, the only discussion of allergies as protective pertained to the finding that food intolerance expels such pathogens as parasitic worms.

Profet observed that the sneezing, scratching, watery eyes, and blocked sinuses of pollen allergies all combat toxins, as do the nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea of food intolerance. In extreme cases, blood pressure drops like a rock during allergy-driven anaphylactic shock, to slow circulation when toxins come calling.

If allergies are a broad filter against toxins, then they could presumably combat known and unknown carcinogens. Might irritants that trigger hives also cause skin cancer? Could a heretofore unknown risk factor fo rbrain tumors reside in an allergen that swells sinuses? Profet argued “yes” to such questions, filling her work with intriguing clues. Heavy metals such as arsenic and nickel are the most likely metals to cause cancer; they are also the most allergenic.

Aflatoxins from fungus that grows on hay and grain are so allergenic that just thinking about them can cause an itch. They are also among the most carcinogenic substances known. Profet learned facts such as these while working with University of California at Berkeley toxicologist Bruce Ames.

In 2008, neurobiologist Paul Sherman and evolutionary biologist Janet Shellman-Sherman applied Profet’s allergic “prophylaxis hypothesis” to 646 studies dating back to 1953.

“We examined inverse relationships between allergies and cancers of tissues and organs directly exposed to the environment versus those not directly exposed,” says Sherman, who with his wife works at Cornell University.

Food-borne carcinogens travel to the stomach and colon and circulate into the bloodstream; airborne carcinogens enter the lungs and brain through sinuses and airways. If Profet was correct, allergy sufferers should get fewer cancers in directly exposed areas.

After an exhaustive review, the Shermans and coauthor Erica Holland, a University of Massachusetts medical student, found this very correlation. Inverse associations with allergies are more than twice as common among cancers of the nine tissues and organ systems that interface with the external environment—mouth, throat, colon, rectum, gray matter, pancreas, skin, cervix, and lung—versus the nine that do not, including the breast andprostate gland.

The brain affords a particularly exacting laboratory for Profet’s theory, the Shermans claim. Dozens of research teams worldwide have shown allergies significantly reduce the risk of gray matter, or glial cell, cancers such as glioma, but have no measurable impact on cancers of the sheath that surrounds gray matter, the meninges.

Eight studies since 2002 have shown that when ultrafine airborne particles are deposited on nasal membranes, they cross the blood–brain barrier via routes that come into contact with gray matter, but not with the meninges.


Mensa accepts Heidi Hankins: 4-year-old from England with genius I.Q.

Mensa accepts Heidi Hankins: 4-year-old from England with genius I.Q.

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Stephen Hawking, Isaac Asimov, and Albert Einstein are all members of Mensa, the standard for high I.Q.s. Famous scientist Hawking scored a 160 on his intelligence test. Mensa says the average I.Q. for adults is 100.

Now the society has recently added a new member. 4-year-old Heidi Hawkins, from Winchester, England, scored a 159 on her exam.

According to The Inquisitr, Heidi’s father Matthew said by the time she was one year old, Heidi was booting up the family computer, and she was playing chess by 18 months. Hankins said she was reading at the level of an 8-year-old by age 2.

Hankins adds, according to the Hampshire Chronicle, “She is just a little girl who likes her Barbies and Legos, but then you will find her sitting down and reading a book.”

He tested Heidi after her nursery said they had no activities that could challenge her.

According to Hankins, Heidi can add, subtract, read, draw people, and write in complete sentences, and she could count to 40, all by the time she was two.

Mensa consists of people from all walks of life, including actors Steve Martin, Geena Davis, and James Woods. Not to be outdone were porn star Asia Carrera and Playboy Playmate Julie Peterson.

Mail Online reported back in 2007 that the youngest child ever admitted to Mensa was Georgia Brown of the United Kingdom, who registered a 152 I.Q. at age 2.


Idiot or Genius?

Idiot or Genius? Difference May Come Down to a Single Gene, Scientists Say

Two genetic letters out of the 3 billion in the human genetic alphabet may spell the difference between a genius and an idiot, according to a new report.

A genetic analysis led by an international collaboration of scientists from the Yale School of Medicine determined that that tiny variation — just two genetic letters within a single gene — determines the intelligence potential or lack thereof of a human brain.

The report appeared online May 15 in the journal of Nature Genetics.

In normal brain function, convolutions, the deep fissures of the brain, increase the overall surface area, one of the primary determinants for intelligence. Deeper folds in the brain allow for rational and abstract thought, scientists believe.

In the latest finding, a team of researchers analyzed a Turkish patient whose brain lacks those characteristic convolutions in part of his cerebral cortex, a sheet of brain tissue that plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language and consciousness.

The cause of this drastic cerebral deformity was pinned down to a gene called laminin gamma3 (LAMC3) with similar variations discovered in other patients with the same medical condition.

“The demonstration of the fundamental role of this gene in human brain development affords us a step closer to solve the mystery of the crown jewel of creation, the cerebral cortex,” said Murat Gunel, senior author of the paper, co-director of the Neurogenetics Program and professor of genetics and neurobiology at Yale.

The folding of the brain is seen only in mammals with larger brains, such as dolphins and apes, and is most pronounced in humans. These fissures expand the surface area of the cerebral cortex and allow for complex thought and reasoning without taking up more space in the skull. Such foldings aren’t seen in mammals such as rodents or other animals.

Despite the importance of these foldings, no one has been able to explain how the brain manages to create them. The LAMC3 gene may be crucial to the process.

“Although the same gene is present in lower organisms with smooth brains such as mice, somehow over time, it has evolved to gain novel functions that are fundamental for human occipital cortex formation and its mutation leads to the loss of surface convolutions, a hallmark of the human brain,” Gunel said.

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