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Scientific Uncertainty

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I’m interested in science, especially biology because I want to know more about how living animals work. I’m especially interested in genetics since I wonder about how traits of parents are passed to their offspring. I found out that the more I learned, the more there was to learn! I wish I understood the science better and could read the original research in the research journals. Why? Because the science is usually a lot more complex and uncertain than what is shown in the news or on the internet.

Speaking of complex, not necessarily easy to understand science, I often have a lot of questions about brain diversity, genetics and how it impacts things such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD, Bipolar Disorder and addiction. I have a lot of reasons I’m interested in the brain and specifically the genes that effect the way the brain work. I’m interested because I have Autism and I think ADD traits, plus I have a genetic tendency toward addiction. I have also noticed Autism traits among my family and extended family. I have often wondered if they would be tested, what the results would be.

Some of the questions that run through my mind include:

Are there certain genes that increase the likelihood of developing Autism, ADD, Bipolar  Disorder and addiction? Are some of the genes shared? If yes, are they affected similarly in Autism and ADD, for example? Are we seeing an increase in people who have many different kinds of brains because we are better at making diagnoses or has there been an increase in the population? I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer is both an increase in the population plus better diagnosis of people who wouldn’t have been diagnosed before. What effect does the environment have on the brain’s development? These are not easy questions and I don’t think that there are easy answers either.

It may take a long time before scientists have the technology or funding to answer questions like mine. I believe that having more accurate answers to questions like these will help me better understand myself and my family. I know that the process of asking why and how will create knowledge but how that information will affect us as society, I don’t know. I do know that keeping informed helps me feel like part of the process.