Published October 27, 2015
A newly revealed study from a Pentagon think tank theorizes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has Asperger’s syndrome, according to a report obtained by USA Today.
USA Today obtained the 2008 report under the Freedom of Information Act request.
Putin's "neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy," wrote Brenda Connors, an expert in movement pattern analysis at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Studies of his movement, Connors wrote, reveal "that the Russian President carries a neurological abnormality."
Researchers are unable to prove their theory, however, because they did not perform a brain scan on Putin, but instead the paper cites work by autism specialists to back their findings.
Putin is not the only public figure associated with autism. Some have speculated that Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Lewis Carroll, Andy Warhol, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart showed signs of the condition.
In 2013, the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the U.S., eliminated “Asperger’s disorder” as a diagnosis, merging the condition with autism.
Before the recent revisions to the DSM-5, Asperger's syndrome was considered to be a mild form of autism, often referred to as high-functioning autism (HFA). According to the Mayo Clinic, the core issues for children with autism include problems with social interaction, language and behavior.
However, one of the main differences between Asperger's and autism is there is no speech delay in Asperger's, and the autistic symptoms are much less severe. Often times, individuals with Apserger's have good language skills, but their speech patterns may be unusual, and they may not pick up subtleties such as humor or sarcasm.
According to the Autism Society, while children with autism may seem uninterested in social interaction, those with Asperger's typically want to fit in and interact with others— but are incapable of knowing how to do so.
Another distinction between autism and Asperger's lies in cognitive ability. Autistic children may often possess intellectual disabilities, but individuals with Asperger's by definition cannot have an intellectual delay and often have above-average intelligence.
Fox News’s Dr. Manny Alvarez expressed his concern with the drop of the Asperger’s diagnosis in December 2012, writing, “I think no longer having Asperger's as a diagnosis may diminish the amount of proper early intervention— which is key to mainstream treatment.”