Like a lot of people with autism, Jeff Hudale has a brain that’s really good at some things.
“I have an unusual aptitude for numbers, namely math computations,” he says, NPR reports. Hudale can do triple-digit multiplication in his head. That sort of ability helped him get a degree in engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. But he says his brain struggles with other subjects like literature and philosophy.
“I like working with things that are rather concrete and structured,” he says. “Yeah, I like things with some logic and some rules to it.”
So Hudale, who is 40, does fine at his job at a bank. But he doesn’t do so well with social interactions, where logic and rules aren’t so obvious.
“Most people my age are nowadays married,” he says. “But me, not only am I totally single, I’ve never even had a date.”
What Hudale has done for the past 25 years is help scientists understand autism — by letting them study his brain. Hudale’s career as a research subject began in 1985. He was 13 and had just been committed to the Western Psychiatric Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was misdiagnosed as a schizophrenic…