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- Reverse Ageing Through Diet 1
Wrinkles suck. Likewise lower back bane. And all that stuff that comes with ageing. It starts early, as soon as growth stops in our twenties. So, we pop a vitamin, take up yoga, jog, and try out the newest diet. None of it works. Fortunately, most people have a huge comfort zone —and a tremendous capacity for denial. Then came COVID. What to do when suddenly that rather large space of absolute denial shrinks to your apartment or home? No, you're probably not going to die if you're under 70 -- unless you are co-morbid or fat. But just about every American is "comorbid" -- at the very least has a risk factor. Fear is the great motivator. It makes us question. So now we are questioning-- everything from capitalism to democracy to globalization to universal mobility. Not to mention, cruise ships and other offenses against nature. What about the next “novel” virus? There are sure to be more contagions. And you look in the mirror and see wrinkles. As I pointed out in two years ago in Books I and II of my Ageing Young series of books, ( II now withdrawn for rewriting in light of current events) human beings evolved to live in small communities of 30 to 50 people, peacefully interacting from time to time with other communities nearby as they moved around within areas limited by the length of our legs. We still got sick and contracted diseases. But a really lethal disease would wipe out an entire community before it had a chance to spread it to another. Disease is a natural thing. It occurs in all animal and plant populations: it is one way that the eco-system regulates itself, preventing overpopulation while weeding out the weak from the strong. Through disease “ecology’ achieves balance, preventing one species from damaging others. All animal populations are driven by reproduction as a priority. That’s a problem for, say, bunny rabbits in Australia who don’t have oral contraceptives or natural predators. If, for some reason, Peter Rabbit’s zillion kids eat up all available food and force out other species, you get either famine or disease — or both. Crowding encourages the propagation of pathogens of various kinds, not to mention internecine violence, as we see with all human “civilizations” (sic) — and even with rabbits. Yes, crowded bunnies murder each other. Bunnies are just human beings with longer ears. Cute when we're young. Big teeth when old. But creating space for yourself and basic social hygiene is pretty easy, even in a city. So, you need not become a Killer Bunny! Or get killed by a Bunny Virus. That said, as far as disease is concerned the best preventive is good diet. . It doesn’t prevent viral infection in and of itself. But it certainly promotes general health and the immune system-- and reduces those nasty wrinkles and that ugly belly fatg. . Don't Eat Crap Simply put: don’t eat crap. Eat as you evolved to do. This is the Ageing Young Diet .In the animal world, there is such a thing as being too successful. When bunny rabbits overpopulate — or rats — or deer — they will get sick. Modern human societies since the Neolithic Revolution 7000 years ago have been predicated on the idea that resources are scarce and we must compete and “adapt” to ensure that we — where “we” means the thirty or so people important to us — get enough. For our hunter gatherer pre-tribal forebears before the Neolithic however, resources were not scarce — they were abundant. Of course, we had to move around a lot , as the seasons changed and with them, food availability. We shared and cared. We were egalitarian — anarchists, matricidal. Women were equal to men and spaced their children, which, with high child mortality and infanticide to keep the population in check. With some exceptions, we generally ate better. We were healthier. Stronger. Taller. Marshall Sahlins called it "the original affluent society". But the Pleistocene ended and the Holocene changed all that, forcing unnatural adaptations. The verdant forests of the Sahara turned into dust bowls. The Mega Fauna died out. It was an Extinction Event. Kind of like today. It is a myth that prehistoric peoples subsisted mostly by hunting large animals. That may have been true of some communities, as an adaptation to local environments and no doubt it is attractive to the legions of mostly sex-deprived male paleontologists who hark back to the days when Men were Men, Hunters and Warriors — and Women were Girls, goo-goo eyed when you brought back the kill. The reality was different : for the most part we were omnivores eating 40 or more different foods a week. Yes, we hunted anything we could kill small or large. And we scavenged too. And women probably contributed the bulk of the foods. A husband did not ensure a woman's survival as much as women's groups. We were the most omnivorous of omnivores. Then came Climate Change. Many species of animals died off. And plants as well. It was hotter and drier. Just like today. to sub-optimal diets, emphasizing just a few foods and chronically under-nourished. We were less healthy, our lifespans suddenly limited. Today, we have “progress” — McDonald’s. We migrated to the mouths of rivers or places close to the sea, where food was more plentiful and invented agriculture, animal husbandry and the like.. Once we lived in small reverse dominance societies which were egalitarian and consensus ruled. Now, we were sedentary. There were simply too many people in one place and we developed social hierarchies, “institutions” and the concept of “property” for societal harmony. These were dominance societies. And “property” included people: women became chattel. Others became slaves. Suddenly, just like today, we had to cope with hoarding, violence and war. So, from simple egalitarian communities we evolved simple tribes; then larger tribes, and finally “civilizations . As civilizations grew , population dense communities led to trade, migrations, colonization ...genocide.. We also moved to sub-optimal diets, emphasizing just a few foods and we were chronically under-nourished. We were less healthy, our lifespans, limited. Rather like modern America. No, America! A Big Mac is not food! In fact, a lot of what you eat is not nutrition. Sugar is a drug. With “patriarchy”, women had no control over their own bodies and had to give birth more often. Populations got progressively larger, even with war. The end result was that Nature bit back in the form of plagues. Like today.--with new pandemics. Our ancestors ate berries, natural vegetables and tubers, wild grains, insects, fish, bird's eggs, small animals and birds, and occasionally parts of large animals left over from a predator's kill. Not to mention, a range of herbs. We had a very, very dirty biome with all kinds of bacteria and worms, too. We got many times more fiber than we do today. Once we were all vegans. And also carnivores. And insectivores. Nature was a cornucopia. Now, we have another kind of cornucopia -- it's called a "supermarket". Choose carefully, choose widely. And get rid of those wrinkles Anti-COVID diet series: 1: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/grow-your-blog-community (this article) 2: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/the-anticovid-diet-part-2 3: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/you-re-lazy 4: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/the-anti-covid-diet-get-what-you-need 5: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/copy-of-the-anticovid-diet-5-does-dieting-kill 6: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/copy-of-anticovid-diet-6-protein-the-skinny 7: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/anticovid-diet-7-are-fried-roaches-the-future
- Food: When the Stone Age Meets Modernity
A malamute is as close to a stone age dog as you will get. A pity that most dog food is crap-- not what your puppy was meant to eat. But you eat crap too. Your dietary needs were established in the Stone Age. If you survived to 30, you would live a long, healthy life -- without the need for drugs and doctors, that keeps a lot of us alive today. It is a basic truth that a varied, natural diet keeps you alive. History teaches us that in any plague, it is the weakest and most vulnerable who die first — generally those with the poorest diets, living in the most unhygienic conditions. Keep in mind that not everyone died from bubonic plague — perhaps 50 to 70%. Survivors were often well-off or just ate better. We have learned from COVID 19 is that while the condition puts older people at risk, some older people do remarkably well. People as old as 106 have recovered successfully while people in their 20s have died. People with optimum diets do better. The malnourished die. A longevity diet therefore is always an antiviral one since it enhances the immune system and reduces the chronic inflammation that causes many of the diseases of civilization for cancer to heart disease. Such a diet usually means a lower BMI since it must eschew processed foods and emphasize variety, to supply the widest range of nutrients. As I said, we were omnivores, evolved to need a lot of different kinds of foods, supplying a very wide range of nutrients and supporting a diverse microbiome. Open your mouth. Look inside. Your teeth tell you what kind of animal you are. Many studies have shown that obesity is as life threatening as smoking; in the case of COVID 19 much more so. Eat crap food and you end up in the ICU like Boris Johnson who is just 55 and overweight. Eat better food like heath conscious Prince Charles, who is 71 and very careful about what he puts in his mouth, and it’s just a mild infection. Sure, Donald Trump survived-- with only early detection and advanced drugs to stop the virus from propagating and probably a couple of doctors always in the next room. Most people aren't so lucky. Like all viruses, COVID must be dealt with before it takes hold. The death rate in Japan, with only a voluntary lock down, was amazingly low. By contrast, the death rate in Canada with stringent lock down rules was many times higher, even if you figure in reporting errors or governmental obfuscation of statistics. Of course, there are different variants of the virus. And the Japanese have better hygiene. But…. only 24 % of Japanese are obese. In Canada it is well over 60% — and this in the nominally higher risk groups. Obesity puts extra stress on all organs and their functions and hamstrings the immune system. As a result, fat 20-year-old can be more at risk from a virus than a fit 70-year-old. And a fat five-year-old can develop something that looks like Kawasaki Disease. The Japanese diet has its pitfalls. Too much salt (heart disease) and iodine (Hashimoto’s Disease) for one thing. But it is still a lot healthier than any Western diet, which emphasizes processed foods, with loads of not just salt but sugar, unhealthy fats, hormones and antibiotics. Yeah, I know — that shit tastes good. But it’s still shit. You might say that our civilization is built on shit. When we first invented agriculture, we used our own shit as fertilizer, which led to all sorts of nasty diseases. Japanese still eat a lot of raw food, rice rather than bread, and vegetables, usually in smaller servings. And they are very, very into hygiene. Diet skeptics will say, “ What about Italy and the much touted “healthy” Mediterranean Diet?--how come so many Italians got COVID?: Sorry — only about 40% of modern Italians follow the Mediterranean Diet, fewer in areas away from the sea like Lombardy which was hardest hit by the virus. The traditional Spanish diet as pretty healthy too — depending on region — but McDonald’s has conquered the world! Along with Chicago Pizza and microwave dinners. The Myth of the Hunter When zoologists study an animal, one of the first things they look at is dentition, which tells them a lot about what the animal evolved to eat. As I said, open your mouth and look. Relatively weak jaws with insignificant canines, clearly designed for chewing and grinding. Our Pleistocene diet included a lot of nuts and seeds, berries, wild fruits and vegetables, birds eggs, and insects, supplemented by birds, fish and small animals. Nope, we did not eat three meals a day. We grazed a lot. Or gorged on one big one. No, breakfast is NOT the most important meal of the day! As I mentioned, this narrative is not popular with the mostly male paleontologist community who imagine themselves as the guy below. Maybe we should include anthropologists as well. Stephen, the nerdy anthropologist, just wishes that sexy Diana in the Dean’s Office would appreciate the Power of his Mind. Stephen spent six months studying the Inuit, who treated him kindly and confirmed all his biases, not bothering to mention that, traditionally, their women were polyamorous because men tended to die young in hunting accidents. Nerdy anthropologists die early from heart disease and cancer. The Eskimo women took one look at Stephen and thought "Ewwwww". Stephen will nowhere with sexy Diana. The myth of the Hunter is no doubt also appealing to Joe the Sub Manager, doing Excel day in and day out and fantasizing about screwing the office girls. Sorry Joe, it s a myth. And Gold’s Gym won’t help you. Women are not necessarily impressed by large pecs. Tarzan was well-groomed, with a name brand loin cloth--muscular but not excessively so, polite, genuine, honest, and smelled really, really good thanks to the best jungle male colognes. Hair style by Maurice, downtown. Totally in love with Jane because she is the only human woman he had ever met. Great for a couple of nights in the jungle. Jane does not care about Tarzan's hunting skills..... In the Stone Age, prowess as a hunter was not as important for men's success with women as a host of other factors. Maybe because in the era of MegaFauna, before the Eskimos were marginalized to the arctic in the north and other hunters and gatherers to the deserts and jungles in remove locations, it was a major challenge to kill something big . In those days, big was really big! You try to kill a sabre-tooth tiger with a flint knife! It took cooperation, coordination with the whole group-- including the women. Not to mention wolves. Cave art, the first attempts at human wish fulfillment, notwithstanding, Man was probably more of a scavenger than a hunter, picking the bones of large animals killed by alpha predators. That was the easy way! Work. Ugh. Our ancestors did “work” from time to time, but not all the time. My point is that an individual good with a bow and arrow or spear was of little use by himself. Cooperative agency made all the difference. Bands leveraged “reverse dominance” and egalitarianism to get tight efficient teamwork — rather like the British SAS during world war II, where rank was less important than efficiency. There were no leaders or “chiefs” in prehistoric bands. Even today, in the remaining marginalized hunting and gathering groups such as the !Kung, the best hunters got a lot of good nature ribbing about their failures and flaws to keep them in place. It is called “insulting the meat”. The Patriarchal Diet? In addition, since, much of the food was gathered — not hunted — often by women — and everything shared, men were simply not as important as important as we like to think nowadays. In any case, the death rates for male children in particular were higher. Clearly, males were the Weaker Sex. Sorry Tarzan. Sorry Stephen. Sorry Joe. To add insult to injury most these early societies were “matrist”, if not actually matriarchal. Sorry guys you're wankers. Women choose men on the basis of personality — and also on their ability to sing, dance and play and otherwise entertain — oh, and give them great orgasms -- things that Lord Greystoke never learned from the Great Apes. The Myth of the Hunter of course assumes scarcity of resources, which came about through climate change just 10,000 years ago and led to those "civilizations", with conditions exacerbated by inequality and hoarding--dominance societies, whose tensions were expressed in violence and war. Not to mention, overwork for most people. In prehistory we didn’t have to work hard — in fact ” no more than 15 hours a week. Even today somewhere in our heads, a bell goes off after 15 hours. Although we go to the office 40 hours a week, actual productive work is still only about 15 hours. The rest? Various forms of play. And play is not about dominance, it is about keeping the game going. It aint productive. As I have said, dominance cultures generate tensions -- anxiety, depression, envy, jealousy. In the office, nobody likes the guy who wins all the time although the may suck up to him. Dominance relationships also breed dishonesty. "Winning" ends a game, usually on a sour note. So, your team lost. And hate those fuckers on the other side of the stadium. Nurture does not change nature. It just adds to the bricolage. Man the Sperm Donor Here's he kicker. Many hunting and gathering cultures practice -- or at least believe in -- partible paternity, which means that women do not assume their children are born from one set of sperm. According to this idea, I woman may sex with several men to endow her child with the attributes of each. The smart guy. The fun guy. The strong guy. The sexy guy. Etc. Man is not a Hunter -- he is a Sperm Donor! The Myth of Man the Hunter is in its own way toxic. If not only screws up our relationships with each other and work and at home, it leads to us poisoning our bodies. For example, It presupposes a carnivore diet based on meat for protein, which lacks variety and starves the body of the nutrients it needs from other food sources. We evolved as foragers, not primarily hunters, with women and their groups gathering most of the food from multiple sources. We're omnivores. A lot of our protein came from insects and small animals and birds. Certainly not from cows. Some indigenous peoples have evolved to handle high protein diets - notably the Eskimos-- but their diets are not just seal meat and are more varied than you think. Still, it has an impact on their longevity. The Eskimos survived -- but not in as good health as indigenous peoples with a wide variety of good sources. Their dogs, as true carnivores, did much better.
- Can or should you hire neurodivegent people?
Let us keep in mind that everyone is “neurodivergent”. The distinction between “neurodivergent” and what you might call “neuroconvergent” is in terms of normative behavior. From the standpoint of neurology, each person’s brain is unique, just like people’s fingerprints and retinas. Yup, you gotta “brainprint”. And that is the key to everything! That said, some people see the world raw; and some cooked, to paraphrase Levi Strauss in his definition of “natural” and socially derivative or “cultural. People with “ADHD” see it raw. “Normal” people see it through the lens of culture—cooked, as it were. I like sushi. A lot of my normal friends like hamburgers. In our hunting and gathering past, we needed all kinds of people. Diversity of perception and cognition was a survival advantage, providing extra tools in engaging with the ever-changing challenges of uncertain environments. In a hunting and gathering society, everyone is a chief. In "civilizations" almost everyone is a follower. With climate and ecosystem changes 10,000 years ago, agriculture and population dense, multi-level hierarchical societies changed all that. Today, with the advent of the Anthropocene and the threat of imminent human extinction, new technologies, especially advanced information systems are also revolutionizing human life. Previous social systems required people who were submissive to social order and could ignore reality. Today, we innovation and, creativity – which means people who think differently and take their marching orders from their hearts, rather than habit. It takes a leap of faith. And this is a slow revolution, in fact evolutionary. Still it can make all the difference in terms of success or failure. So, jump if you can. But remember that you may fall since our system is ambivalent. "Normal" means wanting your cake and to eat it too. Inclusiveness or just different cogs? “Woke” for example demands “inclusiveness”; exalts “difference” yet is also conformist, if not normopathic . One size fits all. The shoes might look come in different styles but the sizes remain the same, as does the general functionality—and, no, you can’t wear sandals to business meetings. "Woke" is a "rule"; therefore rule-based. As I wrote in one of my earlier pieces, the mantra is “we are all different but we are the same”. You can be “different” as long as you wear the right clothes, have the right opinions, and generally behave as a good middle-class person, signaling virtue that is held as an ideal but not acted upon. If you don’t do that, we will “cancel” you. And we have Google and Facebook, the New York Times, WaPo and CNN to help us. The point of all this is to support the Elite who own everything—including you. “Neurodivergent” people find it hard to conform, although most try. Previously, we just ignored them or put them in institutions. Now we seek to “help” them “fit in”. Drugs, drugs, drugs. Counseling. “Therapy”. But still, the results are depression and anxiety. But suddenly, out of the blue, also red, pink, green, yellow, black society suddenly thinks it needs these people. After all, our modern-day Gods—Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransom and others – have ADHD and/or Asperger’s. But while we know that Giftedness is not “normal”, we still try to normalize it, and therefore neuter it. It is a new age of Eunuchs. Nowadays, we are panning of gold – the gold being giftedness—and sands being neurodiversity. As in previous Gold Rushes, few get rich. Corporations are driving this new Gold Rush, in which only a few will succeed. Yes, the rich get richer. Functional Stupidity I should know, having worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, who do get richer whose corporate ideologies hamstring them in their attempts to do anything truly creative or meaningful. In the neoliberal world that emerged in the mid 20th Century and still prevails, all large corporations’ function through what Alvesson and Spicer call “functional stupidity”. Most of these organizations claim to hire only the brightest and best, creative and “innovative” people who are always learning. Instead, they encourage conformity, compliance with even the dumbest notions of management, petty rules and order, and of course brainless, uncritical enthusiasm. Avelsonn and Spicer’s work dovetails with that of Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa whose study of 2300 college students showed that 45% of them made little or no improvement in the ability to think and analyze problems, the worst being business students. An MBA is certification of what? You need human ‘bots to run large organizations in business, the military, and government. Like ‘bots they are programmed to do certain tasks without thinking in the interests of convenience for their programmers. Unfortunately, as AI progresses, these human ‘bots become less and less necessary. They are certainly not well equipped to find solutions to problems which appear. For that you need the neurodivergent--people who can code, unlock code and hack. And think critically, innovate, and see reality "raw". Care and maintenance But people in the ADHD category or with Asperger’s are not going to help much if you just give them a desk and a cubicle and dull their senses with drugs. John Nash did his best work only after he went off his meds. By and large, corporations seek out lower functioning autistic people who are happy to get any job they can, with employment rates below 20%. They are the perfect wage slaves who can work long hours focused on a single thing, without complaint, solving a wide variety of computational problems, including programming. They are just soooooo happy that someone accepts them. High functioning autists or people with ADHD or the Gifted are usually hired on a case by case basis as contractors. For example, I am the go-to person for managers with apparently insolvable problems. I do not advertise: I get my work by word of mouth. I can handle PR, branding, and media analysis. And I even consult for individuals and groups in disputes. I'm a polymath and autodidact. Despite my success, no one has offered me a full-time job, with the exception of one major network some years ago and a major media company. I rejected both because I recognized I would never “fit in”. Neither company really knew who I was, or more especially, what I was. They were just following the recommendations of highly respected people. People in my category (ADHD / Asperger’s / Polymathic Giftedness) have a critical eye which causes us tend to disrespect authority and conventional hierarchies. We see systemic issues— “organizational stupidity” with amazing clarity. We are poor at managing time. In fact, we have a very different sense of time, especially futurity and which makes schedules or even getting somewhere on time challenges. We forget details that are not germane when we hyperfocus, which is off and on. We do not like to sit in one place for a long time. I hate chairs and use a balance ball! Boring meetings and especially PowerPoint sessions irritate us. We may also blurt things out impulsively—we are just too honest. When I have to do meetings, I bring a “normal” partner whose job is to kick me under the table, when I start talking too much. So how do you “include” someone like me without breaking your nicely stupid but smooth-running functional system? Some companies sequester creative people in creative “teams”. This works well in engineering and design. Advertising and PR companies are not really into real creativity—they are into selling clients media space, campaigns, and the like at inflated prices. They are a like brother keepers-- they don't actually do it themselves. I should know – I have been called in to do pitches for them. I can think of one major company that I worked for that paid its advertising company about $3 million for a new slogan and branding concept. The actual work for this concept was done by a small company of creatives—run by people “on the spectrum” It took about 20 manhours and the people who did the work got about US$2000 to come up with 20 possible solutions, of which the client chose the worst- the one that the creatives included on the orders of the advertising company but did not recommend, not that the caveats were ever communicated to the client! So there are a lot of problems. Still, let’s say you are enlightened enough to want to hire high functioning neurodiverse, innovative and creative people. The need for a progressive work environment Here are the requirements: Flextime. Creative people with Asperger’s or ADHD tend to work in spurts. You need to provide them the opportunity to hyperfocus and do what they do best. COVID has proven that flextime considerably improves work productivity for all employees overall. For ADHD people it is necessary all the time. Flexmobility Creatives need to choose their own location for work, which is often in their own homes although it might be a coffee shop or a park. They also need to move around wherever they are. The usual office layout is not going to work. I don’t use a chair. I use balance balls. No, standing desks are not the answer! Again, such options improve productivity and result in lower costs. Flexcommunication, ADHD people don’t like sitting for hours listening to group think and most company “training sessions” are the kind of indoctrination that they rebel against. Online meetings are better. That’s because I can turn the camera and do other things. The usual trajectory of a meeting is obvious and you know that nothing important will be said until they meeting is almost over, at which point they need my input. Before that, it will be lost in the muddy waters of group posturing. You need to let ADHD people communicate directly one on one a lot, in the formats that they like – not “meet”. US companies waste $37 billion a year on unproductive “meetings”. Anchoring. Anchoring means setting up partnerships with “normal” employees or neurodivergent people with complementary skill sets. As I have said elsewhere, I don’t do meetings without a “normal” to keep me in line., kicking my shins under the table if I start to talk or get too honest. In creative work, I work best with other neurodivergent people—creative partnerships-- which may include people with OCD and Bipolar Disorder, as well as others who are uncategorizable. For example, my book Ageing Young: You’re Never Too Old to Rock and Roll is written with Dwight Whitney who is neurodiverse but does not fit the usual categories. We approach things in quite different ways. Early on we developed a kind of dialectic. Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis. You want people who can disagree with you, who argue, who help you think and and especially help find the problems in what you thought were "solutions". Most companies, however, find people like me and Dwight as simply too “high maintenance”. That is their loss. Julian Macfarlane, DYS ADHD, Asperger's, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia Links for other articles on ADHD and Giftedness Fixing ADHD (1) Fixing ADHD (2) Fixing ADHD (3) Fixing ADHD(4) Fixing ADHD(5) More articles on ADHD... The Gift of Difference GENIUS IS A DISORDER GENIUS IS A DISORDER 2
- Fixing ADHD: Myths 6 & 7
Myth #6: ADHD is a learning disability. This comes from the medical and scientific communities’ definition of ADHD as an “impairment” which interferes with the ability to “learn” in a “normal” school. For example, I could not learn to read or write in school. But this was no a result of an impairment—rather it was the school. I had a tutor I saw once a week and I basically taught myself. I was interested in dinosaurs. This allowed me to read at an almost adult level in just a year or two. The books from the library had great pictures and a lot of text. I wanted to read the text – so I did. ADHD does not stop you from learning—instead it can impair the ability of a school to teach, which is quite another thing. Not all children develop in the same way, at the same rate. In addition, while some neurodivergent children are precocious, other neurodivergent children may have special abilities that simply take longer to integrate and potentiate. Parenting, however, can affect how a child deals with his cognitive gifts. Are you a good parent? That leads us to the question of what is good parent. It is easy to tell “bad” parents. They are the ones who leave scars on their kids’ bodies and minds.But what is a “good” parent? “Norms” change. If today’s laws and standards had prevailed when I was a child, my parents would have been arrested and my brother and put in foster care. Parents don’t study how to be parents. For the most part, they just go with the flow, according to what their own parents did, what others do, what they learn in school – and most important of all – what the media says-- which may be good--or bad--for children in general, usually a mixture of both. These days it is especially difficult for children labelled as having ADHD, with the spotlight on behavioral characteristics said to be "impairments" since they impede a child's ability to satisfy what are, for them, unnatural institutional expectations. Our natural behaviors, as neurodivergent, are those of outliers, which we have always had. Before psychologists educated teachers to identify them as abnormal, no one paid that much attention. We just shook our heads and said, "kids will be kids". Of course, they don't want to do home work. Of course, they want to run around and play. I should know – I went through the school system,and I was considered “odd” sometimes, first mentally challenged (in today's parlance); then "gifted". I didn’t ‘need drug, which in any case, were not available--and later when they were available I found they interfered with my intellectual abilities and other strategies were much better. The same reason that John Nash gave up his meds for schizophrenia. If you put your kid on a stimulant drug at 8 so they can do better at school— but that’s not so much “bad” as just misinformed--since your kid should not be in a school where he (or she) needs drugs to perform. In any case, for the most part, the drugs are dealing with symptoms, not of ADHD--but of your efforts to make your child do things for which he/she is unsuited. There are always other options – as we saw earlier with the tale of Tertius and Summerhill. No free schools around? Form a collective and start your own. Unschooling Or…. there is the “unschooling" option. This is not “homeschooling” which right wing religious crazies and libertarians who think COVID is a government hoax--love so much. Homeschooling is just a school at home with parents acting as teachers and still setting a curriculum. By “unschooling” I mean letting kids learn at the own pace what they choose to learn – not you. If Johnny and Mary don’t learn to read until 12 – fine. Most likely, they will learn eventually when they need to, if the resources are there. I am sure you will automatically think of caveats. How will they get into college? How will think make friends? If they want to go to college, they take their GED, as Edward Snowden, an under-performer in regular curricula, did and generally do just fine. As for friends, they make friends in clubs and activities outside school and with other unschooled kids. Without age ranking, they make friends of all ages and kinds, developing very good social and communicative skills and emotional stability. Studies, including a recent one by the eminent child psychologist / anthropologist Peter Gray, demonstrate that unschooled kids demonstrate a higher level of satisfaction in later life than regular schooled kids. They are also happier as kids. Like Tertius at Summerhill, there are few signs of anxiety, depression, impulsive aggression or destructiveness, or the like. Unschooled kids tend to go on to creative jobs or jobs that yield a high level of satisfaction. Myth #7 ADHD is the result of bad parenting ADHD is genetic. But poor parenting decisions can make things difficult for ADHD kids, leading to anxiety, depression, anger, impulsivity, and (inappropriate) “hyperactivity”. My example and that of brother certainly suggest that.In any case, parents, good or bad, are not the “cause” of ADHD any more than they are the “cause” of their kids having blonde hair or black, blue eyes or brown. Blame the DRD4 7R allele and neurochemistry. If you look at the literature, you will see this allele implicated in a wide range of conditions and there are sure to be other genes at work, too, accounting for the huge range of cognitive diversity associated with “ADHD”. DRD4 Longevity? Are you an introvert? A violent criminal? Do you like to jump out of airplanes (try to remember the parachute, please)? An alcoholic? Do you have ADHD? Do you have a lot of lovers? Do you want to live to 110? Say thank you to DRD4 7R. The DRD4 7R allele blunts dopamine signaling, which enhances individuals’ reactivity to their environment.People who carry this variant gene, Moyzis said, seem to be more motivated to pursue social, intellectual and physical activities. The variant is also linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and addictive and risky behaviors. "While the genetic variant may not directly influence longevity,” Moyzis said, “it is associated with personality traits that have been shown to be important for living a longer, healthier life. It’s been well documented that the more you’re involved with social and physical activities, the more likely you’ll live longer. It could be as simple as that.” "Numerous studies – including a number from the 90+ Study – have confirmed that being active is important for successful aging, and it may deter the advancement of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s" Prior molecular evolutionary research led by Moyzis and Chuansheng Chen, UC Irvine professor of psychology & social behavior, indicated that this “longevity allele” was selected for during the nomadic out-of-Africa human exodus more than 30,000 years ago.In the new study, the UC Irvine team analyzed genetic samples from 310 participants in the 90+ Study. This “oldest-old” population had a 66 percent increase in individuals carrying the variant relative to a control group of 2,902 people between the ages of 7 and 45. The presence of the variant also was strongly correlated with higher levels of physical activity. Once again, ADHD need not be a curse; it can be gift. Hyperactivity can be good for old people if it gets them up and out. The gene is also called the Adventure Gene, the Nomad gene and the Wanderlust Gene. The constant turning of a multi-attentional restless mind helps stave off Dementia. It's the da Vinci gene, too. Don’t worry about the forgetfulness--you had that when you were 6. DRD4 is also called the Promiscuity Gene or the Slut Gene. There is a reason you have Neanderthal DNA. It was that hunky guy with the muscles and big jaw, Granny met when she was out picking berries and ovulating! Sex is also good exercise. And yes it helps you live longer. Thank you DRD4! Parents and HIve Culture As for good and bad parents, as I have indicated, they can be good and bad at the same time, as was the case with mine. What constitutes “good” and “bad”parenting changes with the media cycle. A “good parent” in our society agonizes about his or her kids’ future, trying to find the best school to prepare them for that future, which unfortunately is based on the parents’ pasts. But all age-graded schools with mandatory activities and courses demand conformity and inhibit creativity, while building dependency rather than supporting autonomy. As I have written in my book, Ageing Young: You’re Never Too Old To Rock And Roll, we live in “hive cultures”. While ants and bees’ roles are genetically determined with extreme precision, our roles are, for the most part, artificially created and designated. In addition, we play multiple, sometimes conflicting roles, nowadays defined digitally. An artificial hive culture like our favors genetic types supporting linear thinking, conformity, and high latent inhibition and high levels of neurochemicals such MAOI which regulate dopamine—the kind of people who made good farmers in the Neolithic when the climate changed and we were forced to adopt agriculture. Once, we ran with wolves. Now we needed people as domesticable as goats or cows. The Industrial Revolution upped the stakes forcing us to invent the Cult of the Child, mass education, and later Teenagers The direct authoritarianism of previous times was replace by subtle, indirect, "inverted" authoritarianism. Modern parents often pretend to be "teaching" creativity, autonomy and the like--which, are in fact, unteachable--while framing the world in such a way as to restrict such things. DDR4 R2/ R7is the Slut Gene, right? Among other things, it promotes genetic diversity -- and indirectly --- neurodiversity. Our ancestors needed that to prevent inbreeding. Our increasingly technocratic hives need outliers to navigate the Matrix. Without whom we cannot have scientific progress Their genes enables low latent inhibition, which is today seen as impaired “executive” function, a poorly defined, if not murky abstraction of neurological and cognitive functions except when we need creativity, innovation and genius. "Executive" function? Psychological neoliberlism? No, you don’t have Bill Gates in your frontal lobes telling you what to do -- not yet, anyway. But you have a lot of other people up there -- parents, teachers, and that sexy anchor on CNN. EF is pretty much anything you want it to be or what social norms define appropriate… Note Note that the that "control" part of executive control is "inhibition" and relies on "self" monitoring which in turn relies on social monitoring and indoctrination. So...is Executive Control a kind of cognitive fascism which frames the natural spontaneity of the creative mind "hyperactive impulsivity"? A “natural” parent allows a child, especially a kid on the spectrum, to make their own decisions and to learn from experience. The family is not focused on the children; as the core. Nor on the parents' expectations and biases. What are important are the individual needs and wants of every member of the family which requires consensus, compromise, communication and especially honesty. Unfortunately, with social atomization and smaller families and fewer children, we are ever more “child-centric”, perhaps because we are unconsciously aware that there is no “normal”, and that what we are doing is probably wrong. We double down on our mistakes rather than learn from them and seek validation from “authorities” rather than our instincts. Here is an excerpt from an article advising vigilance – and pediatricians. Babies with ADHD require more attention and care than others do. They are often distressed, and uneasy to please or handle. This can involve colic or excessive inconsolable crying when no problem is apparent. Parents of ADHD babies have reported that their infants also constantly need to be held, coddled or rocked. For a parent whose job is the primary caregiver for an infant with ADHD, this can be exhausting and seemingly endless. The advice is not based on any “science” or research. All babies cry. All babies are difficult – often for longer periods of time than you might want. All babies need to be held, coddle, rocked and sung to. Babies are troublesome little animals that only a mother could love. Diagnosing a baby with ADHD therefore is pretty much impossible. For example, I have ADHD was a model baby, happy most of the time, although very demanding of attention – which I got, having quickly learned that being cute and smiling and laughing a lot made as love sponge. My older brother, by contrast, was a “difficult” infant – but that had more to do with my mother’s inexperience. Years later she would complain, “Your brother was always a problem – y’know he fought at the breast – he wouldn’t even feed properly”. Children “fight at the breast” when the breasts are large and are suffocating them! It is inexperience on the part of the mother. But such events can set up a chain of events afterwards. My mother was neurodivergent, as was my father; each different in their ways; both gifted. My brother was not good in school. His IQ scores ranged from 90 to 140 depending on the day. He was impulsive and a natural and rather astute rule breaker, who did not pay attention in class. He became an alcoholic and died young of cancer, leaving a small fortune. He too was “neurodivergent” as were his two children. The point here is that “ADHD” is a term that covers a range of genetically gifted, unique neurological configurations, and no infant should be labeled, as having a “medical condition” with prescriptions for care based on their “condition”, when you really don't know what that condition is. In addition, there caregiving needs to be shared between mothers, other nursing mothers, grandparents, husbands, sibling, and children. The Hunter Gatherer Solution How did Hunters and gatherers nurture their infants, many of whom had the ADHD gene? From birth, babies were carried by their mothers or surrogates everywhere they went, so they could be cuddled, coddled, and nursed on demand, which could last up to five years. Mothers didn't do it alone. Why do women have two breasts when they generally have one child at a time? Caregivers responded immediately, without judgment or concern when young children cried, got angry angry and so on , but they didn't' over-focus on the baby or over indulge them. They continued doing what they normally did – gathering food, for example-- or hunting. After kids were old enough to crawl, they are often looked after by older children, including but not limited to their siblings. The fact is that children "belonged", if they belonged to anyone, to everyone, at least until they were weaned, at which point, they were participants in their society. They learned through experience, trial and error. They were not over-protected, despite a high mortality rate. Mothers in indigenous communities did not agonize about which Kindergarten would best prepare Junior for Harvard, or which educational toys—they were happy if the child was healthy, happy, and autonomously engaged in the community that the band constituted. Children did not belong to their parents-- they belonged to themselves and to the community. So, what is good parenting? It is letting your kids be who they are and allowing them to nurture themselves.
- Yes, we can focus: ADHD Myths
Myth #3: : People with ADHD can't ever focus. Myth #3 reflects the problem—in part. Of course, ADHD people can focus. But why do a lot of people think we can’t? And why do many people with ADHD think our ability to focus is “impaired”. I say “many”—but not all. I have ADHD and I don’t think my ability to focus is impaired. Quite the opposite. Again, it is psychological “science” that has much to answer for. Take DSMIV : which defines Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as a neurological impairment. “Deficit” means we lack the ability to pay attention—which is not the case at all. Rather, we have a surplus of attention. As I said elsewhere, we pay attention to things that interest us or are relevant here and now. Our “distractability” comes from high levels of situational awareness, which means we are globally attentive – a great asset if you are a hunter in a forest or, in a more modern context, a fighter pilot, but not so much in an office,checking spreadsheets, and trying to screen out background noise, random tooth-sucking, telephones ringing, and Mr. Jones’ poorly disguised farts. For the record, I have done jobs like this-- including a job as an accounting clerk. I lasted just two months. And it was sheer hell. “Why do you go to the bathroom so often” said my boss. “Oh, urinary problem”, I said. “Oh, I understand”, she said. Chronic cystitis is a problem for long term chair sitters. I made sure that didn’t happen to me. I left and applied for a job as meter reader. After four hours of tests, which I tried hard to fail, I was told I had scored too high and was over-qualified. I thought of the police but there was no way I could score low enough on their tests! So it was back to digging ditches with my buddies from Corrections – the (ex) burglar and (ex) car thief. They introduced me to another job…but that is another story…. One thing about ADHD is you are often accepted by people you wouldn’t expect. Other outcasts. I digress. That’s what we do? Does it bother you? If you truly have ADHD, it shouldn’t because your mind likely works vortically-- in loops -- too. What we have is actually “multiattentionality”– as I said, a kind of global consciousness, which is mediated by intuition rather than so-called “executive function” which raises the levels of “latent inhibition”, filtering out realworld information, such Mr Jones’ farts—and permitting us to do ‘bot’ work. Circling back to fighter pilots, the greatest fighter pilot of all time (arguably) was Col. John Boyd, known as "40 second Boyd" for his standing challenge that he could defeat any fighter pilot in mock combat in 40 seconds. He never lost, not even once. He had both ADHD and Asperger’s and was a creative polymath who devised the US’s winning aerial strategy in the First Gulf war and helped design the country’s must successful fighter jet –the F16. He said, “you have to make a decision: to be or to do.” “Doing” means prioritizing results. “Being” means fitting in. Boyd’s theory of dogfighting was summed up as the “OODA Loop”, now often taught in MBA schools, despite the fact that no one who teaches it actually seems to understand it. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. And it’s a Loop so you return to the beginning to do it again. It is Fibonacci in military terms. ADHD people are attentive to their surroundings, That’s the Observe part. If something in the surroundings is relevant, they Orient to it. Then they Decide what it is likely to do next and what they can do. Then they Act. After that they start again. It's a loop. They are results oriented. But the next loop may have different results. To do this well, requires practice, preparation, knowledge,and imagination. So we tend to hyperfocus on things we are interested in, looking at every aspect – from every angle –often when we are supposed to be doing something else. Organizationally mandated foci, such has school course materials and corporate tasks are often narrow, one dimensional, static, and abstract. ADHD HyperFocus open-ended, multidimensional and dynamic. What we see is always framed by a global perspective rooted in emotion and reality. We can focus as normals do—we just don’t want to. Its tap water. We want wine. Myth #4. All kids with ADHD are hyperactive. Once again, the misunderstanding is inherent in DSMIV – and it’s use of the diagnostic term, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In fact, less than half of ADHD people are physically “hyperactive” beyond “normal” limits – and certainly not all the time. In fact, our “hyperactivity” is often natural enthusiasm since we are multiattentional and results oriented. From our point of view, we are alive in a world that wants to eat our brains and make us zombies. Why is high school detention a punishment? Because you are supposed to sit there doing nothing. For ADHD kids most of high school is detention, with our teachers forcing us to sit there doing “something” that we intuitively know is “nothing”, disposable knowledge that will soon be obsolete or simply irrelevant. Fidgety? Guess why? Then again how do you expect ordinary people to “get” ADHD or ASD when Harvard psychologists can’t. The irony is that many of these so-called “normals” will become like you and me after they retire and get older. Multiattentionality is one of the neurological benefits of the ageing process. Myth #5. Only boys have ADHD. Twice as many boys are diagnosed with ADHD. Here, the key word is “diagnosed”. Here, the key word is “diagnosed”.Sadly, we ADHD people are often our own worst enemies. ADDiTude, a popular ADHD site says: ADHD is a very reliable diagnosis. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most reliable diagnoses in all of psychiatry, and in particular, child psychiatry. The reliability of diagnosing ADHD is on par with the reliability of diagnosing pneumonia with a chest X-ray (an example of an objective diagnostic test). This is quite impressive. (DSM Field Trials) Assuming that ADHD is genetically based, for which there is good scientific evidence, the fact that twice as many boys are diagnosed with ADHD -- and medicated – would indicate a massive failure of diagnosis, something that has been remarked upon by some neurological pediatricians. First of all not all children develop at the same rate. Einstein did not start talking comfortably until 6 years old, for example. Second, there are many conditions with the same “symptoms” as ADHD. And no, there isn’t any X-ray, MRI, or blood test to detect it. ADDittude says girls are less likely to be diagnosed because, well, they are girls--quieter and more docile than boys. Genderism? Second, there are many conditions with the same “symptoms” as ADHD. And no,there isn’t any X-ray, MRI, or blood test to detect it. ADDittude says girls are less likely to be misdiagnosed, even (they say) misdiagnosis doesn't happen because, well, they are girls--quieter and more docile than boys. Genderism? Oddly enough this regressive gender concept gives support to the argument of some that ADHD does not exist at all – that it is the exuberance of youth and typical “male” behavior, especially at sexual maturity. Testosterone – not dopamine? However, there is a set of genes associated with a range of behaviors including but not restricted to ADHD – that is the DRD4 R7 allele—known variously as the Hunter Gene, the Nomad Gene, the Wanderlust Gene, the Longevity Gene, the Slut gene, and so on. Everyone has DRD4 genes, but the R7 allele in ADHD people and others is just more complex. It is associated with all sorts of things as its sobriquets suggest. For example, liberals are more likely to have these genes than conservatives. Entrepreneurs also. Addicts, artists and inventors. Some (usually non-violent) criminals. People with the gene don’t necessary show the usual ADHD “symptoms”, which complicates things. Basically the gene regulates the dopamine system which is responsible for risk/ reward,response to stress, and other neurological functions. People with ADHD have more dopamine receptors but generally lower levels of dopamine, keeping in mind the fact that dopamine levels are a response to situations and social contexts and to synergy with hormones and other neurotransmitters, especially oxytocin (the “love”hormone!). Our society is what you might call a “low dopamine” society. As a result, people with the DRD4 7R allele tend to be more physically and mentally active, take more risks, and are more engaged than those without the gene. They also have more lovers and intimate relationships. Such activities generate norephinephrine, dopamine, and oxytocin while moderating serotonin. As you can see, males in most modern societies have more freedom to engage in high dopamine activities, which makes them vulnerable to being categorized as having“ADHD”. Previous articles: Fixing ADHD (1) Fixing ADHD (2) Fixing ADHD (3) More articles on ADHD... The Gift of Difference GENIUS IS A DISORDER GENIUS IS A DISORDER 2
- No, ADHD isn't a real medical condition
Myth #1: ADHD isn't a real medical condition. Myth #2: People with ADHD just need to try harder. Myth #3: People with ADHD can't ever focus. Myth #4: All kids with ADHD are hyperactive. Myth #5: Only boys have ADHD. Myth #6: ADHD is a learning disability. Myth #7: ADHD is the result of bad parenting. Myth #8: ADHD is a modern farce created by drug companies It you cruise the Internet, you will find a lot of sites debunking ADHD “myths”. But let us keep that myths always exist in a balance with facts. The two things are inevitably interdependent. Myth #1: ADHD isn't a real medical condition. Take Myth #1. Is ADHD a real medical condition? There is a lot of debate about that, with some neurologists saying yes and some saying no. Let us put it this way: is genius a “medical condition”. Did Einstein and Edison need “treatment” for their “disorders”. If you child has an IQ of 200, does he or she have a “medical condition”? Proponents of the “medical condition” theory often fall back on DSM IV and V—the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Let us keep in mind that DSM I classified homosexuality as a “sociopathic personality disturbance” which prompted medical professionals to try to cure gayness with drugs, electric shocks and other draconian “aversion” therapies. DSM does not have a very good track record. It took almost half a century to get homosexuality off the books as a “medical condition”. Of interest therefore is the tendency of DSM to classify natural behaviors as diseases of the mind, if not the soul, if they do not conform to current norms and to do so using language which biaises any further discussion. No, gay people are NOT “sociopathic”. Most people with ADHD do not have a “deficit” of attention – quite the opposite. And at least half are not “hyperactive”. Those that are hyperactive are not consistently so. Otherwise, your ADHD kid would need a straitjacket. It is a medical condition in the sense that some neurologists deem it such, yet others do not. No, those MRI studies cannot be relied on. The psychological community call it a “disorder” and it has its place in the DSM – just as homosexuality used to. Let us keep in mind that no social science is “science” in the same sense that chemistry and physics and biology are. What we call ADHD exists. But we should not confuse symptoms with etiology. Is an IQ of 200 a “medical condition”? Did Einstein need “treatment”? So Myth #1 in this list has a lot of truth in it. Myth #2: People with ADHD just need to try harder Yeah….Kinda. This comment reflects the problems that ADHD people in doing things like homework, studying for tests and their lack of interest in things that they find just not “interesting”. Smart ADHD people don’t try to fit in. And they don’t try – to do things that are often a waste of time. For example, in college I was forced to take certain courses. One was Applied English Linguistics. At first, I was excited by this but I soon realized that the course focuses on just two things - -one was the Great Vowel Shift— which started as the natural result of the social interaction between Anglo Saxon speaking people and their Norman French overlords after the Normans conquered England and is continuing to do this day. . We were expected to memorize all the changes. Borrrrrrrrrringggggg. There are more important things in life than vowels. Meow! Especially when you know that you will quickly forget it all and have to look the stuff up later if by some chance (unlikely) that you need to know the impact of one vowel becoming another. The second was Generative Grammar—which is based on a theory of innate universal linguistic logic, which time has shown to be wrong. But I did not give up on applied English linguistics. I tried harder--just not in the areas I was supposed to. . I studied semiotics, semantics, morphophonemics and the like – none of which were being taught or tested. I got “A’s” on the essay where I could use my studies, but did badly on the final which required me to memorize the Great Vowel shift and write Generative transforms. Oh! and I skipped ALL of those early morning seminars on Generative Grammar. I scraped by as I knew I would. Not a stellar performance but since my performance in other courses was impressive— my poor showing did not affect my academic future. My studies in applied English linguistics proved valuable later first in the thesis that won me a Fulbright for academic study to Harvard, and later, when I was hired by a major institute in Japan as a linguist to develop language tests, which led to my being invited to do an academic presentation at a convention in Honolulu. Among others things I am a voiceover artist and here too my autodidactic studies were very helpful. There is method in the madness. Now these are just the first two myths. In the next installment(s) I will deal with the others. In the meantime, ask yourself why ostensibly “neurodivergent” people should be publishing this stuff, which really just muddies the waters. More articles on ADHD... The Gift of Difference GENIUS IS A DISORDER GENIUS IS A DISORDER 2
- ADHD : the cause is schools?
What is Education? What we call “education” is part and part of parcel of the industrial revolution. Pre-industrial civilizations were unequal mass societies with extended families and defined social classes and rules . For example, in Europe, until the advent of the steam engine, we didn’t have either “children” as we know them today; nor schools. And certainly not nuclear families. Young people above the age of five or six were regarded as exactly that – young people. Their families often arranged their marriages before puberty. They worked as adults. They were judged as adults under law. “Education” as such comprised useful skills: reading, writing, of course, although most people were illiterate; the use of weapons or farm implements. Languages were not studied but learned in situ, which is why we have the English language, which is a mixture of other languages, created through the need to communicate in the marketplace, first a kind of pidgin, then a patois, then the popular tongue. But with the industrial revolution, society itself came to be seen as some kind of vast machine. As I suggested in my previous article, people were components, cogs, levers and gears, each individual created for a specific role or function, “self” defined by fit and function. Such cognitive and emotional specialization is not natural for a species evolved for small group, hunting and gathering. To provide coherent organization for our new mass, multilevel, hierarchical societies, we needed mass education, the three R’s in particular—but even more than that—indoctrination. Religion was no longer sufficient. Hence, the birth of public schools and colleges and the concept of the child as a kind of blank slate on which anything could be written. Education without schools How much do you remember from high school? Probably not a lot. And what you did learn becomes obsolete quickly. For hunters and gatherers, life was learning. They never forgot the lessons nature taught them, if only because if they did, they would be dead. So prehistoric hunter and gatherer bands raised their children left “education” to nature and to experience, recognizing that it was lifelong. For at least 50,000 years, children above the age of six, learned pretty much by themselves, watching adults and older kids do things, imitating, playing games with their friends, indulging their curiosities and experimenting. These were reverse dominance societies, in which all were equal, regardless of difference – which included the young. So, our ancestors try to “teach” their kids; they let them teach themselves. There was no bullying. All were “included” regardless of difference. Of course, the Bushmen of South Africa keep kids away from poison arrows! This approach, of course, lead to a high mortality rate among children, but healthier and happier adults, if they survived childhood. Over-protection does a person no favors. Most important of all, as I have said, hunters and gatherers saw neurodiversity realistically, as different cognitive and emotional skillsets, which a small hunter gatherer band needs to survive and thrive. If a neurodiverse child makes it to sexual maturity, they have proven their worth. Nature is not cruel: it is simply fair. Our modern “civilization” pervert’s nature and the thrust of evolution and it is most definitely not fair. And it is also often just plain cruel. The Cruelty of Educational “Authority” Here’s an example from the BBC. Tertius Wharton, 11, wanted to remain a pupil at Summerhill Progressive Democratic School in Suffolk, which he says helps his behaviour. It was costing his family £7,000 each year to send Tertius to Summerhill - they withdrew him from his state-paid, mainstream school last year Summerhill is famous as a “free school”. It regards all its students as unique, let’s them choose what they want to learn—and at their own rate. There are no grades. Teachers do not “discipline”. Limits are set by kids themselves. Tertius, who is from Wouldham, near Rochester, says his ADHD subsided after moving to Summerhill, where teachers and pupils are given equal rights and are not made to go to lessons. Got that? No symptoms. And no need for drugs. Lots of "no's". There also no “lessons” at Summerhill. You are not forced to learn anything. If you don’t want to learn to read and write. Fine. It is a live-in school—so no parental authority figures to mess up your head—not that such people would ever send their kids to a school like this. The emphasis is on social interaction, with no distinctions of age. There is no bullying because it a reverse-dominance society and egalitarian. Tertius said: "I went to quite a few lessons. You only go to lessons if you want to and I find it much easier. It helps me be a bit more relaxed. If they forced me, I wouldn't want to do it." His mother, Joy, said: "It seems ludicrous that they won't let Tertius go to the school he wants to go to - that his parents want him to go to." Chatham and Aylesford MP Jonathan Shaw is backing the family in their fight to keep Tertius at Summerhill.He said: "The authority felt that the school wouldn't be able to provide the long-term education that he needed, which is a very important issue, but all the reports - and the one person that's been to the school from the council - have recognised that he has made great progress. "How they can look into a crystal ball and say he isn't going to make progress, when he evidently has, is beyond me." There are other schools like Summerhill. It is simply the most famous. And it has many successes Take the case of Jack, a Summerhill student, mentioned by Andrey Kozhevnikov. There was Jack, a boy who could not learn to read. No one could teach Jack. Even when he asked for a reading lesson, there was some hidden obstruction that kept him from distinguishing between b and p, l and k. He left school at seventeen without the ability to read. Today, Jack is an expert toolmaker. He loves to talk about metalwork. He can read now; but so far as I know, he mainly reads articles about mechanical things and sometimes he reads works on psychology. I do not think he has ever read a novel; yet he speaks perfectly grammatical English, and his general knowledge is remarkable. An American visitor, knowing nothing of his story, said to me, “What a clever lad Jack is!” Tertius will be sent to the West Heath New School which deals with acute mental health problems from ADHD to OCD and even--oh yes!--“transgenderism” whatever that is. It is as much as psychiatric institution as a “school” and is many times more expensive than Summerhill. Without doubt Tertius will be put on drugs. But Tertius is not sick. He does not have a “disorder”. Rather, he has an unappreciated and misunderstood gift. . At Summerhill, he is well adjusted--and mentally and emotionally healthy. One cannot say the same for the educational establishment, whose brain-- if it has one-- is nuttier than a roasted walnut. The emphasis of schools like Summerhill is on emotional and social growth. It teaches children, if it could be said to “teach” anything, that “learning” is a natural process in which you learn you what you need—teaching yourself. It’s called “autodidacticism” and it what our ancestors used to do until we replaced it with what Alvesson and Spicer call “organizational stupidity.” I won’t get into that here. That’s the subject another article. If you are neurodiverse, as I am, you need to stop thinking about “fitting in”. It is hard, however, to "just say no". I was lucky. I moved to Japan where I was immediately classified as a “gaijin” – an “outsider”—whose value was he did not ‘fit’. It was my difference that made me useful. One person’ symptom is another’s gift. You are worried about your “symptoms”. Distractability. Inattention. Hyperfocus. Impulsivity? “Distractibility” is simply situational awareness, the thing that all “ace” fighter pilots –just 5% or aerial combat scorers – had. “Inattention”. When you have trouble paying attention that may be because you recognize unconsciously that whatever somebody is trying to force into your mind is not needed. Or simply because your mind works in vectors and vorticies, as I have said, in my article on ADHD and Fibonacci. Switch to something else and you will come back to where you were before, naturally, if it is worthwhile For example, when I write, I write in short sessions, leave it a day, work on something else. When I come back, I have a new perspective, new connections. This allows me fresh perceptions and better solutions—and a lot better writing. “Inattention” can be a creative gift. It pairs with hyperfocus, which means seeing contradictions and finding solutions. If you are impulsive, you may be just frustrated—but you may also be following intuition —which is often as not right, even if “contrarian” or “oppositional” in terms of established norms. Intuition is partly emotional and largely unconscious but capable of processing larger amounts of information than “reason”. Rational thought is like exploring a warehouse with a penlight. There is only what is in the zone of the light; the rest id darkness. Intuition is a large bulb in the ceiling. The light is diffuse and there are shadows, with vague shapes. Intuition shows more. If you want to explore, turn on the light. AND use the penlight! If you feel anxious or depressed or have to resort to stimulant drugs, you are getting it wrong—you have allowed an inhuman system to alienate you – not only from yourself --but from others. Social interaction, caring and sharing generates oxytocin and dopamine. The neurodivergent need a lot of TLC and play, in particular. The most important thing is to recognize your difference and accept it. Don’t fit in—but don’t drop out! You do not need society as much as it needs you. Does modern society require public schools and universities to function? Yes, of course. The bigger question, however, is whether we need a society based on modern values? For many people things work fine, despite the threats of economic collapse, war, disease, and irreversible climate change, such that children born today may have a lifespan of less than 50 years. For a significant minority – the neurodiverse and the gifted—maybe not—but civilizations need us. We are the ones who see the contradictions and find the solutions. In the meantime, we work with one foot in the System. Sadly, that System is our version of the paleolithic jungle. It is all we have. So turn on, tune in and drop out is not an option. It can be done…. I was mentally or physically absent in most of high school classes. In university I skipped most classes. Yet I won scholarships and awards - -about 30 in total—including a Fulbright for PhD study at Harvard. For years, I have run a successful PR business, winning more than 40 awards for my clients. I also do consulting, life coaching, and media analysis. Think outside the box? You don’t need a box to think! I “worked” the system successfully. But I am basically “unschooled”. Next, we will look at “unschooling”, which can be a credible alternative to “normal” schools for the neurodiverse. Since I am dyslexic, you will probably find lots of typos and the like. Please help! Let me know! Previous and next articles: Fixing ADHD (1) Fixing ADHD (3) More articles on ADHD... The Gift of Difference GENIUS IS A DISORDER GENIUS IS A DISORDER 2
- ADHD? The Causes
Causes: The Etiology of ADHD I cruise NeuroDiversity groups on Facebook. It’s depressing. Particularly depressing are the groups composed of “normal” parents agonizing about how to deal with kids categorized as having ADHD. Ritalin at 8? Or wait until 10? The parents want their kids to fit in. To do well in schools where “fitting in” is impossible for them and where the attempt to do somay cripple them for life. I see the effects in groups where the members are neurodiverse teenagers or adults, confused, racked by anxiety and depression and facing uncertain futures. As I have written elsewhere “ADHD” is a set of symptoms from the medical point view, which are shared by a range of other conditions, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and good ol’fashioned brain damage from a blow to the head. Neurologically, people with “ADHD” show low dopamine levels. Fine – give’m methamphetamine which raises dopamine levels, and improves “attention” in both normals and the neurodiverse Dopamine, as you may know, has many functions but especially reward pathways and motivation. People with ADHD often have more dopamine receptors than “normals”, indicating that they produce similar amounts of dopamine but use it more efficiently. In addition, dopamine is not like gasoline powering a car. You don’t just fill the tank. A car does not synthesize its own fuel, like the body does, responding to need. Dopamine is partially synthesized in the brain from a range of neuro-chemicals and through the interaction of other neurotransmitters and hormones. That said, about 50% of dopamine is produced in the gut, with certain foods and phytochemicals playing a positive role and others like sugars inhibiting production. So, the neurochemistry of cognition is complicated. Of particular importance is oxytocin—the love hormone. Oxytocin is released through social interaction, especially sex—at which time it boosts dopamine levels dramatically. In kids, play stimulates dopamine, especially video games but all socially interactive play. Parents don’t want little Johnny playing Doctor with little Mary, who they definitely don’t want touching herself “down there”. And Johnny and Mary should not be playing video games since they make Mrs. Hobbes’ History classes even boring than they actually are. The kids should be trying to memorize the names of the US Presidents for the History test – but to succeed they will need to break bad and score some Ritalin or Adderall. Can Walter White help? Other than Heisenberg’s meth labs, are their alternatives? Of course, there are. As I said before, 78% of kids recover from ADHD spontaneously around age 18. What happens at 18? They graduate from school! As official “adults", John and Mary (whose has now learned to love her clitoris) can do all the good stuff--namely, drink, smoke weed, and have sex. OK – so they have been doing that for years but now they can do it legally. Also, without figuring how to get laid without Mommy and Daddy interfering and without having to study for SATS, they will have more time to play, which is something they never had much opportunity to do as kids. Thank God that getting into a college is after all the hardest part of college. Once in, think: frat parties, the Spring Break, lots of booze and weed, pizza. Of course, once you have graduated as symbolized by the square thing you wear on your head -- the mortarboard, you are another brick in the wall again and you have to find a job. It will be high school all over again and instead of Mom and Dad, there are Bosses. The "in crowd" ; the "out crowd". And boxes to fit into. Burn-out is like high school boredom. Oh, oh, adult onset ADHD…. Which many psychologists say is not a real thing—that you’ve had it all along. It was just hiding like a penis or clitoris for social reasons. No matter, Big Pharma has an answer… Viagra, ritalin, xanax, paxil-- there's a pill for whatever ails you. Modern science has an answer for everything, other than the Apocalypse. Can this awful tale be rewritten? For a different ending, you need a different start. Which is the subject of my next article. Since I am dyslexic, you will probably find lots of typos and the like. Please help! Let me know! Next articles: Fixing ADHD (2) Fixing ADHD (3) More articles on ADHD... The Gift of Difference GENIUS IS A DISORDER GENIUS IS A DISORDER 2
- Wolves Make Us Human
Wolves are the Missing Link What was the most important development in evolution? Some would say learning to make fire. Others would say distance weapons such as throwing spears. Language? The Neanderthals had all this stuff and they went the way of BetaMax. Because they didn’t have dogs. Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Homo S 2.0) had dogs – well, eventually - starting with a partnership with wolves. Keep in mind that dogs and wolves are the same species and all dogs are tweaked wolves. Ultimately, wolves gave human beings the edge in ecological versatility over other hominid species. The word “partnership” is very important here for a number of reasons--but especially since it signals a quantum leap in cognitive ability. The Flintstone View Flintstonians, of course, will tell you that we “domesticated” wolves, and “bred” them to create poodles and the like. From here …. To: What is more likely is that wolves and human beings simply cooperated. "Domestication", as it is generally understood – breeding an animal for human use – really took place later as we entered the Holocene and the Neolithic Age began, along with agriculture, animal husbandry and static communities. Just 7000 years ago, give or take a millenium or two. 35000 years ago, we didn’t’ domesticate anything--except ourselves. Wolves, dogs, humans and bonobos are all to some extent “self-domesticated” as a result of neotenous development. Yup, there are TWO kinds of “domestication”. The kind most people think of--and now SELF domestication, keeping in mind that you cannot have a “self” without a community. Here’s the Wikipedia definition, which is based on Richard Wrangham’s work, which is in turn based on his studies of chimpanzees. Self-domestication is the process of adaptation of wild animals to cohabiting with humans, without direct human selective breeding of the animals. Dogs and cats have undergone this kind of self-domestication. Self-domestication also refers to the evolution of hominids, particularly humans and bonobos, toward collaborative, docile behavior. As described by British biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham, self-domestication involves being in an environment that favors reduction in aggression, including interspecific and intraspecific antagonism, for survival. Spandrels, or evolutionary byproducts, also accompany self-domestication, including depigmentation, arrested development, and reduced sexual dimorphism. As usual, Wikipedia gives us the “mainstream” narrative. In fact the concept of “self” or “auto” domesticated was not pioneered by Wrangham but by zoologist and primatologist Franz de Waal, on the basis of his studies of bonobos and then extended by Stanford neuroendocrinolgist Robert Sapololsky. Wrangham is very much in the Pinker camp, projecting modern conceptions of human behavior since the Neolithic onto our Pleistocene ancestors—as well as onto chimpanzees. His 1996 book Demonic Violence: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence was really the basis for Pinker nonsense like The Blank Slate. Despite what Wikipedia says, “spandrels” are not necessarily evolutionary “by-products”: that is really just Pinker’s as usual uninformed opinion and sloppy research. “Spandrels are evolutionary characteristics whose utility cannot be immediately understood, which doesn’t meant that they are not important—just that we don’t fully understand evolutionary development as a whole--not yet. “Arrested development” for example is not “arrested" at all –rather, in human beings it is "extended" --we take longer to mature because that longer developmental period confers significant evolutionary advantages for a prosocial species – as, in fact, our reduced sexual dimorphism, our juvenescent physicality, does. Pinker also considers music a spandrel, which is peculiar--since one of his many academic hats is that of a “psycholinguist”, an area in which his research is revealed to be very “selective”. Only human beings have a "beat" or "rhythm" reflex" at birth as well harmonic discrimination, both of which are essential to the development and flexibility of human language. So our musical capability is a big thing.You're never too young to rock and roll! If only Pinker and Wrangham would domesticate themselves. The Friendly Wolf Self-domestication works best with prosocial species that are inherently pacific and cooperative within their groups Wolves are among the most social of species; therefore both neotenous and self-domesticated to some degree that they survive in collectivities – which we call “packs” -- a word which tends to call up associations of rabid ravening beasts. Nope. Wolves don’t have “packs” like this. They have families. WE live in “packs”. Despite popular myth, wolves are not hierarchical with “alphas”; a wolf pack is Mommy and Daddy wolf and their pups. The “alpha” is not the biggest and strongest, and does not achieve his position through brute force-- except in the case of wolves in captivity under artificial conditions, where their freedom of movement is restricted and they are forced to form relationships in zoological communities of strangers. The very existence of this myth just shows our tendency to project the assumptions of our greedy, dog-eat-dog neoliberal society onto…well…everything. In some sense, our cities are human zoos and we live too in societies of strangers. We do not have friends--- we have keepers and audiences. Wolves, by the way, do not fight over food. Puppies feed first. As for “dog-eat-dog”, when was the last time you saw a poodle eating another poodle, by the way? “Betas” follow Mommy and Daddy Wolf because even grown up, they are still pups.“Omegas” are the most juvenile—for them, it’s play, play, play – and they are constantly bullied--but also looked after --until they inevitably wander off – no doubt looking for fun -- and find a partner and start their own pack. Of course, any pack member can leave a pack. There are personalities and disagreements, just as with human beings. In the movies, early humans discover wolf pups and raise them. But, as anyone familiar with wolves knows, wolves do not train well. As a teenager, I had a wolf hybrid. He was a clever animal. Say “come” and he knew what that meant. He would usually just cock his head as in “For what? What’s in it for me? No reward? I got stuff to do” Wolves are libertarians. Dogs are registered democrats. Wolf puppies hunt cooperatively – they learn to do this by imitating their parents and through play as well as out of sheer necessity. Since it could not be trained, and would lack the lessons learned through play with parents and siblings, a “pet” wolf would be pretty useless in following human direction in hunting and would almost always run off to mate or join a real wolf pack. My hybrid was impossible to keep in. He learned to open locks. He climbed. He dug. And would disappear for days. Human beings are opportunistic omnivores. Wolves are opportunistic carnivores. We are always looking for an easy meal. The Pleistocene version of MacDonalds was a dead mammoth that fell off a cliff. Human beings and wolves likely first competed for meat from kills from large animals who had been killed by apex predators or died from misadventure. With more than enough meat to gorge on or take home to pups and children respectively, it would have been easier not to fight over gourmet cuts. Human beings had weapons. Pleistocene wolves were huge animals, twice the size of a German Shepherd, with jaws 10 times as powerful as any modern pit-bull. A single bite from a wolf could main and lead to death. As I said, wolves hunt cooperatively. Human beings, too. Together, they could bring down animals they couldn’t before. High IQ, low EQ. But Neanderthals didn’t form these partnerships. Neanderthals matured faster and were less juvenescent and dimorphic. They were prosocial like us but not to the same extent. Their brains were bigger, but their cerebellums at the base of the brain, which coordinate all cognitive functions, especially empathy and altruism and imagination and creativity were smaller and arguably less neurologically dense. ROMEO Wolves who formed productive partnerships with human beings ate better, lived longer and thrived. Over time, wolf packs got more and more used to human beings and human beings to them. The most neotenous members of wolf packs – the omegas—would likely have approach human camps for handouts or to play just as the famous Alaska wolf Romeo did, although, in his case, he mostly wanted to play with dogs and a few chosen humans. When they mated, these sociable wolves had sociable pups. All of whom thrived through their partnership with humans. Over time, the omegas self-domesticated—just as Romeo did. While Romeo was killed by an idiot hunter, he still lived much longer than many wolves do in the wild. Human beings who hunted with wolves no doubt lived longer, too. And, living longer, were able to produce more children who survived, out-multiplying the Neanderthals. Our open-minded sociality and somewhat promiscuous nature also led to interbreeding with the Neanderthals, at least in Europe. We didn’t replace the other Hominids because we were smarter. But because we were nicer. And to be “nice” you have to see other sentient beings – not just human beings—as cognate selves. Your dog is not just a dog—he’s a friend. Your cat thinks you are a parent. A wolf thinks of you as another wolf. The Russian Lesson In Russia, the Russians bred ordinary foxes for sociability, choosing the most sociable ones for reproduction. After about 40 generations, these foxes showed juvenescent characteristics even at maturity. They loved to play: some even had floppy ears. Different color . All had shorter, weaker jaws. They remained very puppy-like. Writes Brian Hare after observing the results of the Russian experiment: "We always assume that intelligence is responsible for our success," says Hare. "That humans became smarter, which… allowed us to invent wheels and agriculture and iPhones. But what if that wasn't what happened?" Hare suspects that, "like the foxes, and like dogs, we became friendlier first, and then got smarter by accident. This would mean that our prosocial skills, the skills that allow for cooperation and friendliness, were what made us successful." These foxes were bred by simply choosing the friendliest ones to breed. The lupine Romeo omegas of the Pleistocene thrived in their partnership with human beings, and, as the most paedomorphic wolves, their pups were progressively more so. The process took a lot longer than with the Russian experiment, perhaps a thousand years. But in the end, we had dogs. "Dogs" are self-bred. However, to this day, the most wolf-like dogs are the least trainable and most independent. Thanks to peddogowner.com But every dog is still a wolf. Just as you are that 35000 year old kid. The missing link in human evolution series : 1: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/just-a-kid-and-a-dog-part-2 2: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/just-a-kid-and-the-dog 3: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/dogs-the-missing-link-in-human-evolution
- A Vaxxer Explains Freedom
I was upset so I decided to talk to my friend Deke. You know him. He likes dogs, cats, wine and he had a pet sheep once. He's a smart guy. He reads stuff. Like whole articles, not just the headline. “The government wants to take away our liberties, making us wear masks. And getting vaccines that might kill you. We are sheep to the slaughter." Deke moved another two meters away. And opened a window. “Which government?” “ALL of them, “ I replied “We fought a war against the British to stop them vaccinating us”, I pointed out. Deke smiled. He was wearing a mask with a hole in it for the straw to his glass of wine. “I think that war was about other things”, he said. “Yeah I know, King George didn’t have vaccines but it was about the principles of freedom and liberty, which means about masks and vaccines later”. “Ok”, said Deke mildly. “What about COVID?” “Hah! That’s what King George said, “What about….?” “In that case, don’t we compromise our freedoms for other thing? The Draft, for example. ” “That is different. We must depend our country”. I put my hand over my heart. “OK. drug laws then? Heroin doesn’t hurt anybody but maybe you --and maybe less that Ritalin’, which is chemically the same as crystal meth." “That’s different, too. Heroin destroys society. Happy, high people on a opiate don’t work very well just smile at the sunshine --and Ritalin makes you focus on the job.” “OK, peeing in public. Can’t do that unless you are a dog.” That’s different. It’s offensive to see a guy’s dick except on Pornhub. “ Seat belts?" “Nah!. I don’t want my insurance to go up.” “Drinking and driving?” “ You endanger people’s lives.” “Not wearing a mask or not getting a vaccine endangers others, too.” I had an answer for that! “If you run over someone when you’re drunk, you know who done it. The police are gonna catch you . But you don’t usually know who gave who the virus. And most people don’t die. And anyway, nobody’s gonna catch you”. Deke sighed. As he always does when he's losing the argument. “Seems to me that we give up our liberties, as you call them, pretty often. We don’t know how effective masks are, true, statistics show they may help a little, at least reducing viral load. We don’t know how effective vaccines are but they reduce the chance of hospitalization—and are, again statistically safer than the virus. When you wear a mask and get vaccinated you not only act to save yourself, you act to save others.” Deke and took off his mask. “My friend George just got the virus and it’s not fun”, he said. Omigod, I thought. “I know George, too! Please, please put your mask back on”.
- Reverse age-related memory loss ?
July 22, 2021 University of Cambridge Summary:Scientists have successfully reversed age-related memory loss in mice and say their discovery could lead to the development of treatments to prevent memory loss in people as they age. Article from Science Daily. Comment: Popping a chrondoitin sulphate pill may not help you. Read carefully. The improvements in memory needed viral vectors -- the same technology used successfully in the Sputnik V vaccine. Chrondoitin is one of several compounds that helps cartilage repair itself-- which it will do! We are not exactly salamanders but the human body has regenerative processes. A particularly promising area is stem cell research and RNA research. I have been involved in a project using stem cells to grow entirely new hearts. This technology promises the ability to also grow new livers, kidneys and other organs-- not to mention a huge range of conditions. Science Daily Article (Go their site -- it's great!) Scientists at Cambridge and Leeds have successfully reversed age-related memory loss in mice and say their discovery could lead to the development of treatments to prevent memory loss in people as they age. In a study published today in Molecular Psychiatry, the team show that changes in the extracellular matrix of the brain -- 'scaffolding' around nerve cells -- lead to loss of memory with ageing, but that it is possible to reverse these using genetic treatments. Recent evidence has emerged of the role of perineuronal nets (PNNs) in neuroplasticity -- the ability of the brain to learn and adapt -- and to make memories. PNNs are cartilage-like structures that mostly surround inhibitory neurons in the brain. Their main function is to control the level of plasticity in the brain. They appear at around five years old in humans, and turn off the period of enhanced plasticity during which the connections in the brain are optimised. Then, plasticity is partially turned off, making the brain more efficient but less plastic. PNNs contain compounds known as chondroitin sulphates. Some of these, such as chondroitin 4-sulphate, inhibit the action of the networks, inhibiting neuroplasticity; others, such as chondroitin 6-sulphate, promote neuroplasticity. As we age, the balance of these compounds changes, and as levels of chondroitin 6-sulphate decrease, so our ability to learn and form new memories changes, leading to age-related memory decline. Researchers at the University of Cambridge and University of Leeds investigated whether manipulating the chondroitin sulphate composition of the PNNs might restore neuroplasticity and alleviate age-related memory deficits. To do this, the team looked at 20-month old mice -- considered very old -- and using a suite of tests showed that the mice exhibited deficits in their memory compared to six-month old mice. For example, one test involved seeing whether mice recognised an object. The mouse was placed at the start of a Y-shaped maze and left to explore two identical objects at the end of the two arms. After a short while, the mouse was once again placed in the maze, but this time one arm contained a new object, while the other contained a copy of the repeated object. The researchers measured the amount of the time the mouse spent exploring each object to see whether it had remembered the object from the previous task. The older mice were much less likely to remember the object. The team treated the ageing mice using a 'viral vector', a virus capable of reconstituting the amount of 6-sulphate chondroitin sulphates to the PNNs and found that this completely restored memory in the older mice, to a level similar to that seen in the younger mice. Dr Jessica Kwok from the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Leeds said: "We saw remarkable results when we treated the ageing mice with this treatment. The memory and ability to learn were restored to levels they would not have seen since they were much younger." To explore the role of chondroitin 6-sulphate in memory loss, the researchers bred mice that had been genetically-manipulated such that they were only able to produce low levels of the compound to mimic the changes of ageing. Even at 11 weeks, these mice showed signs of premature memory loss. However, increasing levels of chondroitin 6-sulphate using the viral vector restored their memory and plasticity to levels similar to healthy mice. Professor James Fawcett from the John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair at the University of Cambridge said: "What is exciting about this is that although our study was only in mice, the same mechanism should operate in humans -- the molecules and structures in the human brain are the same as those in rodents. This suggests that it may be possible to prevent humans from developing memory loss in old age." The team have already identified a potential drug, licensed for human use, that can be taken by mouth and inhibits the formation of PNNs. When this compound is given to mice and rats it can restore memory in ageing and also improves recovery in spinal cord injury. The researchers are investigating whether it might help alleviate memory loss in animal models of Alzheimer's disease. The approach taken by Professor Fawcett's team -- using viral vectors to deliver the treatment -- is increasingly being used to treat human neurological conditions. A second team at the Centre recently published research showing their use for repairing damage caused by glaucoma and dementia. The study was funded by Alzheimer's Research UK, the Medical Research Council, European Research Council and the Czech Science Foundation. Story Source: Materials provided by University of Cambridge. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Journal Reference: Sujeong Yang, Sylvain Gigout, Angelo Molinaro, Yuko Naito-Matsui, Sam Hilton, Simona Foscarin, Bart Nieuwenhuis, Chin Lik Tan, Joost Verhaagen, Tommaso Pizzorusso, Lisa M. Saksida, Timothy M. Bussey, Hiroshi Kitagawa, Jessica C. F. Kwok, James W. Fawcett. Chondroitin 6-sulphate is required for neuroplasticity and memory in ageing. Molecular Psychiatry, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41380-021-01208-9
- Can nature cure autoimmune diseases?
Source: FoodsMatter.com In my book Ageing Young, I talk a lot about how climate change drove human beings to adapt by setting up sedentary communities in estuary regions, which not only provided an abundance of live food, — small animals, fish, mollusks and the like — but also fertile soil for garden farming. Sedentism led to agriculture and animal husbandry which provided a stable source of calories, independent of the vagaries of hunting and fishing. Vegetables, fruits, meat and fish are hard to preserve without smoking. But grain can be stored rather easily. So bread and rice became staples in many cultures for this reason — about 7000 years ago, which is when domestic cats decided to join the human family. Granaries attracted mice, which also found their nice in human homes. Mice? Yummy, yummy. As city states developed, so did hierarchy and dominance systems. People at the top of a social hierarchy had a more varied diet, higher in animal protein, with a greater degree of choice. That is still the case today. Those at the bottom of the social ladder relied on bread or rice. Now these are generalizations. Obviously there were many exceptions and much more variability, culture by culture, situation by situation. Even so, they still are useful to consider. In any case, the average height of Europeans dropped by about 50 to 70 centimeters, and longevity diminished. If you were an ordinary bread& circuses citizen of Rome in the year 150 AD, you would be lucky to live beyond 30. If you were a patrician, you could live to a ripe old age into your 60s. Again, in modern life, those at the bottom of the social life eat poorly and live shorter lives. The average lifespan of Americans has been declining slowly — but steadily in recent years apace with inequality and an increase in obesity. Now, many people worldwide are either lactose or gluten intolerant — or both. Add to this, a low tolerance for simple sugars in many populations. Europeans are exceptions. Bread (gluten) and cheese. Milk. (lactose) Beer. Whiskey.(simple sugar). As mentioned in my previous article, when First Nations in the US switched to colonial diets, you suddenly began to suffer from get obesity, diabetes, heart disease, more rapid ageing and a host of conditions. Of course, you have to factor in medical care. In NZ, Maoris have a significantly reduced life expectancy compare to “whites” but still in the same range as Americans, this thanks to New Zealand’s comprehensive medical care system. Medical care makes a big difference. But so does microevolution. Europeans and some others evolved to handle gluten and lactose and simple sugar better. Even though these things are still to some degree health hazards and promote obesity, diabetes and other rapid ageing in their populations, although not as obviously with, say, American Indians or Africans or others. Another related change that can be attributed to evolution is the microbiome. The guts of all mammals contain bacteria and other biologic parasites, which, as foreign symbiotic, generate an immune response. Of course, some bacteria will kill you. Some worms will too. So there are “good bacteria” and “bad ones”. In modern times, we have a lot of fermented foods — yogurt, buttermilk, natto, sauerkraut, etc. In prehistoric times, we got our bugs naturally by eating over-ripe foods, insects, and the like. We also all had worms, which promoted either beneficial or malignant bacterial infestations. Nowadays, ALL worms or helminths are considered bad. And, yeah, they can be. In fact, mostly are. The worms that we had as hunters and gatherers were similar to the worms that all primates have, and mostly controllable through self-medication with herbs and the like. Your average chimpanzee knows exactly what to eat when his or her gut is bothering him. But most primates are not sedentary. Only human beings. Most primates do not grow food in their own shit. Only us -- when we shifted from nomadic hunting and gathering. Agriculture led the evolution of new worm species, many of them eventually fatal to their hosts and not controllable by eating herbs. But some people have atavistic, hunter and gatherer guts. Without helminths, their immune systems don’t work properly--and that leads to autoimmune diseases. If you have an auto-immune disease such as Crohn’s, psoriasis or MS, there are drugs to suppress the immune system. They work well but they also tend to be carcinogenic and make the body vulnerable to opportunistic infections. Among other things, they reduce the efficacy of all COVID vaccines. Some helminths, of the kind we had 35,000 years ago work a lot better, without these dangerous side effects. Autoimmunological diseases are an increasing problem nowadays in societies. Due to complex etiology, effective therapy against immune disorders is still needed. A promising alternative for the current methods of treatment can be helminthic therapy. Series of tests on animal models as well as clinical studies indicates that parasitic infection can inhibit inflammation in inflammatory bowel diseases and multiple sclerosis. Effectiveness of therapy with helminths, mainly gut nematodes depends on the activity of many compounds released during infection. Despite hopeful results, mechanisms activated by nematodes aren’t explained yet, besides, therapeutically use of live parasites is controversial. Most of studies are focused on searching parasitic factors. The use of this compound in autoimmunological diseases could be an alternative for current medicaments. The aim of current study is summarizing and discussing helminth therapy of autoimmunological disorder on multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel diseases examples as well as using parasitic compounds as a potential pharmaceutical component. You have to choose your worms carefully — just like your bacteria. You can supplement with acidophilus and but you don't want do it with pylori, right? If you go online, and do a deep search you will find literally hundreds of articles that validate what I am saying. So, whey haven’t you heard of it before?That's because most people don't DO "deep searches". They believe their doctors who mostly accept what drug companies and drug company funded research says. The medical establishment is mainly interested in creating new drugs from helminths research, but some studies suggest that this is not possible for a long time, since the immunological response to helminths is also due to the specialized bacteria that they foster and individual genetics. In the mean time, immunosuppressant drugs are big business. Natural remedies don’t yield a profit. You can’t patent a helminth. Not yet, anyway. That could be coming. Has science provided drugs that substitute for yogurt and sauerkraut and a healthy humanmicrobiome? Nope. But they do provide pills and tablets with your daily bugs. A healthy microbiome means not just acidophilus but a wide range of fauna in the gut. Now, you can get those in a pill but many are generated other ways. For example, cacao helps generate gut bacteria. It’s what has been called a “hyperbiotic”. The more varied your diet, the better your gut health. Evolution can be a bitch. And eating worms might be icky. But, if you have Crohn’s or MS, what do you have to lose? The drugs will eventually kill you. Aside from that , to be healthy, avoid lactose and gluten, and refined sugars -- especially in processed foods, which are designed to addict you to everything bad. Eat rice rather than bread or pasta. Eat fermented foods of different kinds. Not just yogurt but sauerkraut and natto and include prebiotics as well. As I said, avoid all simple sugars, including alcohol except those in fruits which contain fiber to mediate absorption. And, if you suffer from an auto-immune disease consider helminths. https://www.cell.com/trends/parasitology/fulltext/S1471-4922(19)30085-6 https://www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/hook-worms https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/helminthic-therapy-mucus/ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020751912003153 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2017.00453/full https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4419-1601-3_12 https://www.news-medical.net/health/Immunotherapy-and-Helminthic-Therapy.aspx https://www.cell.com/trends/immunology/comments/S1471-4906(18)30110-8 https://helminthictherapywiki.org/wiki/index.php/Helminthic_therapy_in_the_media https://www.acsh.org/news/2019/09/10/guess-ill-go-eat-some-worms-14261 https://www.acsh.org/news/2019/09/10/guess-ill-go-eat-some-worms-14261 https://us.cnn.com/2019/04/19/health/bolivia-heart-disease-chasing-life-gupta/index.html https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/114332185/kiwi-researchers-given-green-light-for-worldfirst-human-trial-exploring-the-health-potential-of-parasitic-worms