Archive for December, 2013

What Causes Autism?: The Role of Environmental Exposures

2013-12-29 09:45:21 PST

What Causes Autism?: The Role of Environmental Exposures – rather good video, but long – 1:01:10.

Most key bits could probably be covered in under 5 minutes.
What I’d give as key takeaways, and referencing some of the time bits on the video where particularly covered,
and adding some details and my interpretation, and wee bit of my perspective (some of the “summary” bits on the video are (over)simplified relative to the rest of the video’s content):

Nature vs. nurture – genetics vs. environment
research is ongoing, definitely not fully known, but to the extent thus far known and shown from latest research:

some autism numbers: 0:47–3:02

  • sex ratio 4:1 M:F (diagnosed, anyway)
  • 1 in 88 (1 in 58 for males) (again, diagnosed)
  • not “bad parenting” – but historically was attributed to such
  • neurobiologic basis (evidenced in autopsies, electrophysiologic, e.g. MRI & fMRI)
  • genes – heritability estimates: 35% to 60% factor (best current numbers; presumption that remainder is environmental factors, earlier estimates were up to 90% and even 100% genetic) 4:34–5:55

    multi-factorial (genes + genes environment + environmental — sufficient causes model), also varies by individual 5:56–7:05

    timing (of environmental factors) matters 7:06–7:36

    time trends 12:50–16:02

    • 1990–2001 autistic births (autism by 5 years of age) rose by 7-fold!!!??
    • true increase? – of that 600% increase, attributable to:
      • DSM changes: 120%
      • Broadening into milder cases: 56%
      • Trends towards younger age at diagnosis: 24%
      • Older ages of mothers: 4%
      • Those total to account for 204% of 600% increase
    • So, … true increase about 396%? … environmental?

    Most significant known contributing environmental factors, ordered approximately by highest contributing risk first: 51:15–52:47

    • pre-natal vitamin supplements (folic acid, etc.) – start before pregnancy, best if started 3 months before pregnancy
    • pregnancy spacing – best if 36 months or more from birth to next conception
    • Limit exposure to air pollutants from traffic, cigarettes, wood burning stoves, and other sources
    • reduce weight (healthy weight, don’t be obese/overweight), control blood glucose (healthy range), exercise moderately to reduce blood pressure
    • avoid flu / prolonged fever, use anti-fever meds if fever develops
    • limit exposure to (avoid) chemical pesticides, SSRIs as feasible (consult with doctor)

Yet another test – Are You an Alien?

2013-12-17 04:26:14 PST

Well, I took the Alienation Test, so I figure heck, there’s probably an alien test, right? Yep, sure enough.

So, I took the Are You an Alien? test, and I scored:

For 55 % you are: Chances are you’re an alien. You seem to fit the personality, anyways. Next time you hear those callings, listen to them and be who you’re meant to be!
23.5133 % of 6205 Quiz participants had this profile! Profile A

Comments, not

2013-12-15 20:18:07 PST

It’s been seven months now, since I’ve gotten a real live, sentient, at least semi-intelligent (spam doesn’t count) comment on any of my blog postings. Yes, dearth of comments. Just sayin’.

some more random test stuff, etc.

2013-12-07 12:49:11 PST

Introvert or Extrovert – yet another test. On that one, I scored:
29 of 100 points, (29%)
which they give as:

20 – 40 points You’re an Introvert with some Ambivert functions.

Let’s see, there’s 20 Signs Of The Excruciatingly Intense Person … I’ve got maybe about half of those signs, … more-or-less, … also question of extent/degree.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) Test let’s see … I scored:

You scored a total of 21
Inattention Subscale: 14
Hyperactivity/Impulsivity Subscale: 7

Which they give as:

If you scored…
You may have…
17 – 23 ADHD Possible
12 – 18 – Moderate
0 – 11 – Low
appear to have some symptoms consistent with a possible diagnosis of attention deficit disorder, but may not qualify for a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD

better(?), easier(!), to *not* think of, … warm bodies, …

2013-12-03 00:31:31 PST

Some things are better(?)/easier(?) (well, less painful!) to not think of. E.g. my (essentially non-existent) sex life. Yeah, been more than a year since I’ve had any kind of sexual contact whatsoever with anyone. And, heck, last twenty years, all it’s really been has been either quite brief (at most a couple months, with runners up at a few weeks, and a few days), or has been long distance with the vast majority of the time (well over 90%) way far apart. Even going back over twenty years – I had … what? One brief relationship, that for all of about 6 weeks seemed fantastic – then it just completely ended, and before that? One pretty sucky relationship that went on (and off and on and off) for far too long – and even that didn’t start ’till I was 24. Really zilch to speak of before that. Sucks. Majorly. Hell, even hugs? Yeah, about the same – far too rare, far too seldom – exceedingly rare. Not even holding hands – pretty much about the same – heck, maybe even less of that … geez. Heck, not even many handshakes … not that I want to bother counting those or even particularly care about ’em at all. Oooh, dates? Yeah, right, so far this entire year, only and exactly one, didn’t even last an hour, was really pretty sucky, at least for me, I never heard back – not so much as any response of even acknowledgement of any of my follow-up communications, not a peep, and yeah, I friggin’ paid for everything too. Ugh. Maybe first date should always be Dutch treat. At least then I wouldn’t feel so ripped off if the other person wouldn’t even so much as bother to respond or email or call me back or anything at all. Geez. Couldn’t even be bothered to say, “F*ck you, not interested, go bugger off, oh, and here’s why I’m not interested in you: …”. Yeah, don’t I wish. If/when that’s the case, or the other person isn’t interested, I almost never hear why … and much/most of the time if I can manage to get ’em to say anything on that, they just give some lie or excuse anyway – just don’t add up. Pleasantly refreshing to actually hear the truth sometimes. E.g., first girl I ever dated, it was back in high school, never was much to it, but she was quite interested in me, I was rather interested in her, then, quite suddenly, she lost all interest in me. She wouldn’t say so much, but her action and inactions were quite clear on that – but what wasn’t at all clear was why. Well, geez, I had feelings. I persisted to inquire. That annoyed and frustrated her … oops, … oh well, but, eventually, in her annoyed frustration she blurted it out. Never asked or bothered her again, no need, no interest, no desire to. With a couple words, she explained it all – it all added up, I knew exactly why she was no longer interested in me. I had my own vehicle and license – I was her transportation, the means of getting her where she wanted to go, and when. The instant the guy she was more interested in had his own wheels, I was history. That was it, plain and simple. She never was that interested in me, was just using me as a means to an end. I’ll ask, but I don’t bother to push it, as most will never answer – or never answer honestly anyway. Last time I was rather persistent in asking was over 20 years ago. Yeah, seriously got my heart broken, and that hurt like hell – and of course I wanted to know what had gone wrong. Well, something on the order of 6 months or so later, she finally told me. It all added up. It was good to know, and a helluva lot less tortuous than not knowing. Made perfect sense, heck, I even fully agreed with her and supported her decision – had I been in her shoes I likely would’a done the same. Wasn’t anyone’s “fault”, was just the way it was and how things turned out – more circumstances/circumstantial than anything else, but in any case it was what it was, and there was no changing that. If I’d only known when she broke it off with me, rather than an agonizing 6 or so months later. Those are probably the only times I’ve ever actually been told. Of course there hasn’t been much else of all that much significance that was broken off to be “told” … that I didn’t otherwise already know. I mean, heck, … “relationships”? … yeah, I’ve had very few of those. Now, “dates” on the other hand, … maybe not so many in more recent years … like, what, one this year, and maybe dated a total of like 5 or so women last year (most of which were only 1 to 3 dates … or 0 to 3 if one counts being stood up – I think there may have been one of those in there too somewhere, but I forget – yeah, I actively try to forget some stuff – and sometimes quite effectively do). So, what “went wrong” with all of those, or heck, even conversations or attempts thereof, or some online text chat or email or the like, etc., etc.? Heck if I know. I figure a lot of the time it just doesn’t “click” – mutually or unilaterally. No great investment, no great loss, not too concerned about most any such individual instance. But, would be good to know in general – is there a pattern here? Is it anything I can do a darn thing about, … or would even want to? Well, if I’m completely oblivious to whatever “it” is – if there even is any particular “it” (pattern) … essentially nothing for me to do or know to do about it if I’ve absolutely zero clue what “it” is – if there even exists any particular “it” there that I could even do anything about. Anyway, some really really really sucky statistics, and pretty darn abysmal (or at least seemingly so) prospects, … and certainly if I extrapolate from track record and trends. I mean, geez, among other things, at 51 years, how many woman have I managed to find that I very well “clicked” and “fit” with, and got along really well, and it was quite mutual, and we were “seriously” interested in each other – as in attracted and most definitely interested in being more than “just friends”, let, see, grand total of all such women, … one, maybe possibly (but perhaps or probably not?) two? In all the year, all the dates, all the dating sites, personal ads, conversations and attempts thereof with strangers, friends (okay, so I don’t have many of those), friends of friends, acquaintances, friends/acquaintances of acquaintances, … yeah, a grand total of 2 or less over all that is a very small number, … frighteningly small for all the time, effort, years, and decades at it, hoping, trying, and … for the most part highly failing at it. And I’m not getting younger, and so many failures/disappointments, so much of the time, really wears me down after a while … a whole friggin’ helluva lot. I wouldn’t exactly say immeasurably so, but definitely takes its toll. Hard to muster up optimism and positivity “against” that! Maybe I’m “destined” to be way friggin’ alone and isolated. Maybe that’s just how it is, and may always be for me – despite how very much I may wish and try otherwise. Oh well, life sucks, then you die. It’s not like it comes with a set of instructions, … or even if it does, that the instructions are correct, or all the needed pieces to be properly assembled have in fact been included. Buggers, did I save the receipt? Can I get my money back, or get this fixed under warranty or guarantee? What ‘da ‘ya mean no refunds or exchanges, no warranty or guarantee? Cr*p.

So, yeah, some things are a lot easier, or more specifically and notably, less painful, to not think of or about, … at least for the most part, as much as feasible. So, yeah, certainly some of that I mostly find myself not thinking of and quite trying to not think of … at least as much as feasible, anyway. Seems very much to be the case, that for the most part, “trying” to fix it, and especially thinking about it, … well, just makes it harder and more painful, and seems to do about zero good. Mostly just a whole lot ‘o “beating my head against the wall” feeling … even if I’m damn actively trying to do something about it or figure out some better way(s) to go about it. Almost entirely all fails anyway, with about zero successes. Maybe I ought just give up and not try. Well, sort’a in some ways I have, … sure as heck not exactly trying hard – if (hardly) at all, or with any regularity. Not that trying damn friggin’ hard and regularly produces any better results – especially on balance … heck, such may produce significantly worse results really – sure as hell takes a toll on me. Sure as hell wish I knew how to “fix it” – or me, or whatever is is that ain’t workin’ there that needs fixin’, but way too clearly evident it ain’t workin, and needs to be fixed. But, whatever, mostly a whole helluva lot easier – and less painful – to mostly try and ignore it – pretend like it doesn’t even exist.

I guess a whole helluva lot of my life I’ve been deluding myself. Trying to think I more-or-less fit in and am “not that different”. Well, really, if I actually critically and objectively look at most all the evidence, I don’t fit in very well at all, … never have, probably never will. It’s only in quite recent years I’ve kind’a realized and come to terms with that … well, sort’a, anyway. Begrudging uneasy semi-acceptance of … well, ‘dems ‘da facts. Yeah, learned a lot in very recent years. Sometimes kind’a wish I could unlearn it … or at least parts thereof. Well, okay, so it’s even less feasible to be able to “fix” (or work around) something, if it’s not (or less) understood. But more understanding doesn’t at all ensure it’s easier, … not at all. Oh, yeah, I can sort’a kind’a fake it a little bit, … well, not really, but, … I don’t exactly stand out like a sore thumb. But, very much different enough, folks become pretty darn aware of that in relatively short order – and mostly just seem to kind’a tolerate that – it … me that is. So, yeah, rather/quite the “odd”/different one, … not freakishly so, but “odd”/different “enough” – that it mostly always leaves me on the outskirts, … despite any and all attempts of mine to better integrate or “fit in” or the like, … I just don’t. Square peg, round hole? Uhm, more like a tesseract “on” a 2-dimensional board of round holes. Definitely doesn’t fit on the board or in the round holes, but … maybe sufficiently interesting and benign to have sitting on or around the board – perhaps even/especially when viewed from different angles/dimensions, that, well, people mostly just kind’a look a bit, shrug, and resume mucking about with dealing with fitting round pegs in round holes – and maybe occasionally wondering what the hell I’m doing there. Damned if I know. I’ve yet to find the 3-D board with the 3-D “cube” holes in it into which a correctly sized tesseract would fit perfectly.

Yeah, sex life, relationship ‘n all that? Heck, friendship(s) even? Yeah, don’t I wish – sort’a kind’a barely can manage to have that even. Heck, hardly even tryin’ at conversations … and … why not not try … after all, for the most part, with negligible exception, results essentially the same. It just don’t happen for me … period (well, way over 99.9% of the time, anyway). Yep, … lower the expectations, … a lot. It’s not like holding ’em up high has ever particularly worked for me. The results quite highly suck – even with the best of attitude and best of approaches, etc. I’ve ever been able to muster. Mostly just highly and quite consistently fails – period. And so the expectations – and even dreams and fantasies sink. Dream of sex? Yeah, right – pretty much even gone from my asleep and dreaming dreams. Hell, not even hugs or holding hands in my dreams or really any physical contact … really, … just pretty much gone, … period. Been that way for many months or more now. Expectation just ain’t there. Hell, hardly even manage to so much as dream of even having a conversation. Really. And yeah it hurts, hurts a friggin’ lot. Crud.

Warm bodies? Egad, so, I manage to set the laptop for a while, where I’m about to sit … not something I typically do. Move laptop out of way, sit and … mmmmm… nice and warm, kind’a like pressing/snuggling next to a warm body. Yeah, don’t I friggin’ wish. That’s about as close as it gets for me. So my life rather sucks. Oh well.

Ah well, … and so it goes, … but maybe at least it hurts a bit less, … kind’a. I’m really just not up for a never ending stream of nothing but rejections/disappointments/failures. Not worth it. So very much not worth it. My loss, loss to one or more other folks I might quite touch and connect with … I suppose quite so, probably indirectly loss to many more (yeah, I can’t be as good/useful/helpful to others when I myself am quite beaten/worn down, and damn alone/isolated, etc.) … but not that there’s a damn thing I know to usefully do about it. “Oh well”.

Would be nice to have a real conversation sometime. Yeah, I’ve had like two of these this year (woo hoo!), and one last year, … and by “real conversation” I mean like actually talk, at length – like ’bout hour or more, good mutual exchange, and not mostly or exclusively a bunch ‘o idle chit-chat like the weather or some damn professional sports team, or random work/technical crud or the like, but something that actually matters to either or (more generally) both parties involved. Heck, better than sex (less messy), more meaningful/important. Really. Well, certainly for me, anyway. Heck, relationship where the sex was good/excellent, and the communication was significantly screwed up or just not working and not gonna work, I’d walk away from that – and have. But not the converse. If the communication is good/great, okay, sure, would be great to also have the sex in there as I’d wish, but without the sex? I sure as heck ain’t gonna walk away from or drop that good communication and conversations, … no friggin’ way. I don’t know, maybe I care too much to communicate? Maybe most of the whole friggin’ planet (or people thereupon) just really mostly don’t know how to or are incapable of really communicating. I dunno. Or maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m conversationally impotent – just can’t get it up or keep it up. Is there a damn pill for that? Yeah, I doubt it. More than just the conversation though – writing, email, on-line text chat (though I generally fare better with on-line text, or telephone) … in any case, generally do quite poorly with all those, and especially groups, and also in person – seem to mostly only have a fighting chance at that if person gets to know me fairly well before we meet in person – at least almost always the case.

So, yeah, sometimes a lot “easier”(?) … er, well, at least less painful, anyway, to sort’a kind’a mostly not think about it. Sort’a pretend like it doesn’t exist or is a non-issue, or just doesn’t matter – even though it highly does – well, at least to me, anyway. So what if I f*ckin’ spend the vast majority of my life exceedingly alone and not connected – not even hardly having a real conversation. Big damn hairy deal. It’s just one f*ckin’ life, mostly just me, not a big deal. Billions of other folks on the planet, I’m merely one, here but for relatively brief time anyway. And lots more to life and the universe than just humans and this speck of a planet. Me? Really doesn’t add up to much of anything, all considering. Mostly just takin’ up space and resources like most of the other buggers on the planet. So who the hell am I to complain about it.

“We’re born, we die, and everything in between is just filler.” – Lou Grant