Ask Mr brain...all will be epxlained

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 12:00am

Where did the bikini get its name from? The two-piece swim suit is named after the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

While it might seem like a good idea to name a skimpy outfit after a tropical island in the South Pacific, the bikini was named for rather different reasons.

Between 1946 and 1956, Bikini Atoll was the site of 23 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests by the United States and the first bikini was unveiled in Paris on June 3, 1956. Inventor Louis Read, a former engineer, said he called it a bikini because, like the atom bomb, its effect would be 'highly explosive'.

What is autism? Autism is one of the most common and serious developmental disorders, usually appearing before age three.

It affects the development of regions of the brain responsible for social interaction and communication skills.

It is characterised by impaired communication, including abnormal speech patterns or loss of speech; lack of eye contact; a restricted range of interests; resistance to change; obsessive movements such as hand flapping or spinning; a lack of awareness of others' existence or feelings; and social isolation.

In its mildest form, autism may resemble a language disability; more severe cases involve socially inappropriate behaviour, including self-injury.

Autism occurs in about one in 700 people and is four times more common in boys than in girls.

People with autism show uneven skills development. They may have problems relating to others, but they may have highly developed skills in other areas, such as drawing, composing music or solving maths problems.

The cause of autism is still unknown. Research suggests that it may arise from physical problems in parts of the brain that interpret sensory input and process language. Imbalances in brain chemicals, particularly serotonin, and genetic problems may play a role too.

There is no known cure for autism, but many autistic people become more responsive as they come to better understand the world.

In most cases, treatment is provided in an individualised programme which focuses on behaviour modification and skills development. Some drugs may help to relieve certain symptoms.