From the Daily Mail:
They are successful career women in loving relationships – and they all live with an affliction that will surprise you!
by Jill Foster for the Daily Mail, August 2012 Check out a slew of “articles” directed at female readers!
From the Daily Mail:
by Jill Foster for the Daily Mail, August 2012 Check out a slew of “articles” directed at female readers!
See also related Circadian Rhythm posts –
I used to be bipolar; diagnosed long ago, before Asperger’s was a recognized “thing” (1994) and not considered applicable to females. Looking back, I think this was a mistake – the “bipolar” symptoms I experienced can logically be seen as evidence for “Asperger-ness” as a brain type that processes the environment in a distinct and even radically different way than the overwhelming majority of Modern Social Humans – neurotypicals. One notable problem for me, was and is, a response to seasonal change; lack of sunlight and outdoor activity in winter produce a direct physical effect: extreme restlessness (anxiety) and a longing for the world to “come back” – to revive, to be washed in sunlight and present a landscape wide open to movement. This is not an uncommon condition for many people! The experience can be grossly represented as claustrophobia. Winter is a time, that once adjusted to, can be very productive; a time of internal focus, mental activity and concentration.
The transition into summer, while eagerly embraced, can be disruptive, unsettling, and “mind-blowing” – Where I live, it’s a long process; inter-leaving of days of increasing sunlight that fool fragile plant life into attempts to emerge, but which are discouraged by snow storms and overnight freezes. The energy gained by extended sunlight at high altitude (6,000-7,000 feet) hits a certain point – and suddenly, our tan and brown, heavily dissected desert is GREEN. It’s “shocking” to the eye; strange and brief. The sagebrush steppe is covered in prickly shrubs and myriad bunch grasses, which must reproduce in the short window of mid May through June, and then pack away their chlorophyll for another year, leaving only yellow leaves and seeds to be dispersed by the famous Wyoming wind. A palette of rich yellows, pale earth, and dusty gray green returns; a much more interesting landscape for sunlight to change in appearance, from moment to moment, throughout the day and evening. A “light show” transforms our two-part landscape of land and sky – a daily cycle of color and shadow that passes into cool night.
I don’t know if this experience of reality is common to Asperger individuals; that is – the direct influence of the environment on mood, emotion and energy. This responsiveness to the land is not exclusive to Asperger’s types.
This desert has no “social” uses; agriculture is futile. Few people can live here, and without resource extraction for “dollars” and importation of food, even fewer could, or would stay. There is something extremely luxurious about a landscape that can’t be “socialized” – unitized, divided, owned and exploited by human agriculture, trade, commerce – made useful or productive. There’s something extremely luxurious about a life that grows to fit this type of land. I was made for this place: finding it meant “letting go of things not meant for me.” The Bhudda.
Original post about transitioning from summer into winter:
This is my 65th transition from summer into fall. Of course I don’t remember most of these changes. Fall is a bit of a drive-through season; the way we get to winter. It says so on the calendar: First Day of Fall, but for me it’s a long drawn out state of confusion, instability, moodiness: doom. What has disrupted my normal, careful, mostly peaceful days? Normal for me: my “writer’s routine” of coffee, computer and coming awake. Sometimes writing is easier while I’m still a bit stupefied by sleep.
Anticipation: that’s my experience of Fall, as if something momentous is about to happen, but it never does. One morning the garden plants have frozen, cells bursting; really physically dead; mush with frost rimming the remains. Light snow that melts quickly, the rocks damp and shiny, their colors deep and revealing.
It’s not that I don’t like winter, but some innocent intuitive organ believes that the earth is dying, and me with it. These experiences are so strong and consistent year after year, that I’m sure that being bipolar has something to do with ancient humans -tropical creatures who pushed too far north for their mental health. People whose brains and bodies were extensions of the seasons: work like mad in Spring and Summer and semi-hibernate in winter. Expend the least energy possible obtaining food and water; curl up like most of nature and sleep and dream an alternate existence filled with giants, heroes and mortal powers.
Bipolar Disorder is thought to be co-morbid to Asperger Syndrome. I want to introduce material from Circadian Rhythm studies.
© 2002 Psychiatric Times. All rights reserved. Circadian Rhythms Factor in Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder by Ellen Leibenluft, M.D. Psychiatric Times May 1996 Vol. XIII Issue 5
The nervous systems of people with bipolar disorder frequently make specific types of regulatory errors. Many of those errors involve the body’s internal clock, which controls the phenomena known as circadian rhythms. These are the regular rhythmic changes in waking and sleeping, activity levels, and sensations of hunger and thirst.
Phototherapy and melatonin, two interventions that manipulate the circadian system, are being used widely for seasonal affective disorder, jet lag and some forms of insomnia. Scientists continue to make tremendous strides in understanding the regulation of the circadian system in humans and animals. We now know that the body’s clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, and that the SCN regulates the pineal gland’s secretion of the hormone melatonin (Klein and colleagues). In humans as well as animals, light suppresses melatonin secretion; recent evidence shows that even ordinary room light can have this effect. Because light suppresses melatonin secretion, the hormone is typically secreted at night. Furthermore, the SCN can “remember” the day-length to which it has been recently exposed, so the timing of nocturnal melatonin secretion is determined by the “lights on” and “lights off” times of the preceding days. In 1994, scientists cloned genes regulating circadian rhythms in mice, making the circadian system the first complex behavioral system whose genetic underpinnings could begin to be unraveled in mammals (Vitaterna and coworkers).
In mood disorder research, interest in circadian rhythms is not new. For at least 50 years, investigators have questioned whether abnormalities in circadian rhythm regulation might be involved in the pathogenesis of mood disorders, including rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. These questions were motivated by three clinical observations. The first of these was that the sleep duration of patients often changes dramatically as they cycle between mania and depression; bipolar depression is typically associated with hypersomnia, while mania is characterized by extreme and sometimes total insomnia.
The second observation was that approximately 60 percent of depressed patients experience remission after a night of total or partial sleep deprivation (SD). In bipolar patients, sleep deprivation (SD) may actually cause a switch into hypomania or mania. However, this “upward” switch usually lasts only until the patient undergoes recovery sleep, leading to the formulation that SD, or extended wakefulness, is antidepressant, (or manicogenic), while sleep is depressogenic, (Wehr). The antidepressant effects of SD are conceptually important because they show that changes in sleep duration are more than just symptoms of the illness, and also play a pathogenic role.
Using a longitudinal analysis of mood and sleep in a sample of patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, we recently demonstrated that decreased sleep duration precedes, rather than simply follows, a switch into hypomania or mania (Leibenluft and coworkers, in press). Furthermore, in this sample, decreased sleep duration was more consistently associated with a shift to an earlier wake-up time than it was with a shift to a later bedtime. Pharmacologically, it is easier to manipulate the time a patient goes to sleep than to change the time he or she wakes up; perhaps for this reason, clinicians have generally attended less to wake-up time than to sleep-onset time. However, these data indicate that interventions designed to shift patients’ wake-up time may deserve further study.
The third observation implicating abnormal circadian rhythms in the pathogenesis of mood disorders concerns diurnal variation. In its classic, typical form, diurnal variation is defined as a gradual improvement in the patient’s depressed mood as the day wears on. Like sleep deprivation, typical diurnal variation demonstrates that extended wakefulness is associated with an antidepressant response. We recently extended the concept of diurnal variation to bipolar patients with data demonstrating that rapid-cycling patients are more likely to switch “up” (i.e., from depression or euthymia into hypomania) during the day, and to switch “down” (from hypomania or euthymia into depression) overnight, while they sleep (Susana Feldman-Naim, M.D., and coworkers, unpublished data). Thus, once again, extended wakefulness is associated with an antidepressant response, while sleep appears to be depressogenic.
Specific theories have been advanced as to how circadian rhythm dysfunction might lead to rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. In 1968, Halberg suggested that some, but not all, circadian rhythms in such patients were not synchronized with the 24-hour day-night cycle (Halberg). According to Halberg’s hypothesis, the interaction between the unsynchronized, “free-running” rhythms and the normally synchronized (entrained) rhythms causes switches back and forth between mania and depression.
Kripke and colleagues then presented data demonstrating what appeared to be a free-running temperature rhythm in five of seven rapid-cycling patients. In these patients, the period (time taken to complete one cycle) was abnormally short, in essence showing that patients with rapid mood cycles had rapid physiological cycles. However, subsequent investigators have not generally found either free-running or unusually fast circadian rhythms in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.
In the 1970s and ’80s Wehr and collaborators, working at the National Institute of Mental Health, continued to study biological rhythms in this patient population. Using both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs, they showed that the phase (timing) of patients’ sleep, temperature and motor activity rhythms varied systematically as they cycled between hypomania or mania and depression. Specifically, the timing of these rhythms appeared to be earlier in manic than in depressed patients, and earlier in depressed patients than in controls (Wehr and colleagues 1980). We now have preliminary data indicating a similar pattern in the time of onset of nocturnal melatonin secretion. These new data show that, in rapid-cycling bipolar patients, the time of nocturnal melatonin onset may be approximately 90 minutes earlier when they are hypomanic, compared to when they are depressed (Leibenluft and colleagues 1993). It is as if rapid-cycling patients might have an endogenous form of jet lag, internally traveling back and forth over one or two time zones as they cycle between hypomania and depression. Indeed, several studies show that bipolar patients are at risk to develop an affective episode when they travel across time zones (Young).
What might cause these shifts in the phase (time) of onset of nocturnal melatonin secretion? It is possible that phase shifts.i.phase shifts; in nocturnal melatonin secretion precede the patients’ mood switches and play a pathogenic role in mood cycling. However, it is also possible that the phase shifts are epiphenomena caused by the patient’s symptoms. Specifically, the phase shifts may be secondary to the changes in the sleep-wake cycle.i.sleep-wake cycle; that occur with mood cycling. The phase of circadian rhythms is determined by zeitgebers (“time-givers”).
While light is the most potent zeitgeber, physical activity, eating and social routines can probably also affect the timing of circadian rhythms. The timing of all these zeitgebers is often different when a patient is hypomanic, compared to when he or she is depressed, and shifts in the timing of zeitgebers would cause phase shifts in circadian rhythms.
However, a third possibility also exists. We suggest that phase shifts in melatonin secretion and other circadian rhythms are not the primary cause of mood cycling, but they are also not irrelevant epiphenomena. We hypothesize that phase shifts in melatonin secretion are secondary to the patient’s symptoms or to more fundamental causes of bipolar illness, but they nonetheless have pathogenic significance and contribute to the development of a full-blown affective episode.
This formulation is analogous to that of Wehr and coworkers (1987) in describing the contribution of sleep deprivation to the development of manic episodes. These authors suggested that insomnia, which is itself a symptom of mania, contributes to the development of a manic episode because it causes sleep deprivation. In other words, insomnia is both a symptom and a cause of mania. If one treats the insomnia early and aggressively, one can truncate an episode, or prevent mild or moderate symptoms from snowballing into a severe and destructive episode. Similarly, it is possible that the shifts in circadian rhythms, while not the initial cause of a mood switch, contribute to the severity and duration of an episode, and thus play a role in determining the course of illness.
We are currently testing this hypothesis by determining whether interventions designed to prevent phase shifts in nocturnal melatonin secretion have therapeutic effects in rapid-cycling bipolar patients. One such experimental treatment involves the use of phototherapy. Data indicate that midday bright light may increase the amplitude of nocturnal melatonin secretion. Since increasing the amplitude of a rhythm makes it more resistant to phase shifts, midday light might be expected to stabilize the time of nocturnal melatonin secretion. In other words, midday phototherapy administered to these patients might prevent the shifts in timing of nocturnal melatonin secretion that we believe have pathogenic significance. After encouraging results with a small number of patients, we are now conducting a formal, controlled trial of this intervention. Interestingly, morning bright light, which shifts patients’ circadian rhythms, may have caused several of our rapid-cycling bipolar patients to cycle more dramatically.
Thus, even if circadian abnormalities are neither the sole nor the primary cause of bipolar illness, it is possible that circadian interventions can have therapeutic utility. Compared to psychotropic medications, circadian interventions are relatively flexible therapeutic modalities; they have a rapid onset and offset of action, and their clinical effects may be altered by changing the time that they are administered. This flexibility may be particularly useful in rapid-cycling bipolar patients, whose frequent mood cycles may require rapid alterations in their therapeutic regimen. Further research will indicate what, if any, role circadian dysfunction plays in the pathogenesis of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, and whether circadian interventions can be helpful to these often treatment-resistant patients.
Ellen Leibenluft, M.D., is chief, Unit on Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Psychobiology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health.
In the day-to-day experience of an Asperger child, moments of peace are rare. Whatever you are thinking or doing, someone, either a parent or teacher, or maybe another child, will interrupt you, to ask that you participate in another activity, such as playing a game with a group of children. If you don’t respond, or you resist their prodding, or if you state clear and repeated rejections, sweet tones of persuasion turn to harsh words and insults. An adult will express personal disappointment in your reluctance to obey and will continue to pressure you, as if whatever you are occupied with is not only unimportant, but that preferring to be alone means that you are depressed or unhappy, and that joining the group will cheer you up, which isn’t true. If you persist in thinking that what you are reading, or drawing or building is more interesting than what the other children are doing, you are apt to be yelled at and physically relocated like a disobedient dog. When this happens, the waves of anger that were hidden beneath the adult’s nice words hit like a shock wave. The effect is visceral and devastating.
It is said that Asperger children can’t infer what is going on in another person’s mind, but the message is clear: people, especially adults, will only like you if you agree with their statements, however false or petty, and obey their instructions, and not when you get around to it, but now! Your willingness to conform must be expressed in signs made by body, face and words. It’s not enough that you act promptly as they wish, but a child or grown person must show his or her deference to a person of superior status. It soon becomes evident that no social interaction is neutral: this ‘status thing’ is the point of social interaction. What is often referred to as ‘busy work’ takes place in schools and workplaces day in and day out, simply to prove that a certain category of human is The Boss. Obedience is a social necessity because it demonstrates that a child or adult will subordinate its happiness and well-being to the group. Rules and instructions are often designed to insult and confuse people, to challenge their morality or sense of fair play and for no other purpose than to test their willingness to shed their individual humanity and to become a tool in the construction and maintenance of the Social Pyramid – to blindly believe that The Boss Knows Best.
The Asperger brain simply doesn’t understand this social compulsion, not because we are dumb, defective, dangerous or disabled, but because inequality of status is alien to our instinct for fair play, justice and reason. For us the world is integrated, coherent, and dynamic and is a continuous expression of Nature’s truths: the universe as described by social concepts is a sad and dreary spectacle of human arrogance and ignorance; a childish place maintained by violence, lies and deprivation; established by the denial of human worth and by denial of basic needs: water, food, shelter to those who “don’t count”. Those who are on top must imprison millions of human beings on the low levels of the Social Pyramid in order to feel good.
The Asperger outlook on people is nearly the opposite: people are just people. Instead of a steep pyramid on which millions of human beings struggle for dominance, we have a visual landscape of reality in our minds. Each human, animal, plant, and object in the landscape is distinct and “counts” because our perception of the environment is concrete: humans live with their feet on the ground, not above or below, but as equal agents of Nature. Cooperation, not competition for status, makes sense to us. Let each human fulfill his or her gifts; don’t waste resources. How much talent is wasted because Society doesn’t like the package it comes in?
They say the Cold War is over, but Russia and the U.S. remain the leading supplier of weapons to countries around the world and are the two biggest military powers. Lately, tensions have been pretty high, too. The U.S. supplies much of NATO and Middle Eastern allies like Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Russia supplies other BRIC nations, as well as Iran, much of Southeast Asia, and North Africa.
We took numbers from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for 2012-2013 to see whom the two rivals were supplying with weaponry. The U.S. dealt to 59 nations that Russia doesn’t sell or send weaponry to, while Russia dealt to just 15 nations that don’t receive U.S. arms. Fifteen countries received weaponry from both the U.S. and Russia, including Brazil, India, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
The country that received the highest dollar amount of U.S. weaponry was the United Arab Emirates, with more than $3.7 billion in arms received over that period. Russia dealt the greatest value of weapons to India, sending more than $13.6 billion.
Overall, the U.S. sent more than $26.9 billion in weaponry to foreign nations, while Russia sent weaponry exceeding $29.7 billion in value around the globe.
Interestingly, the U.S. actually recieved roughly $16 million worth of weaponry from Russia. This was part of a $1 billion helicopter deal the two nations made so that the U.S. could supply Afghan security forces with equipment they were already more familiar with.
Importantly, SIPRI’s totals don’t measure the cost of the transaction but the cost of the weapons’ production. The numbers are listed as the production value of the weapons sold rather than the amount they were actually sold for. In addition, SIPRI does not track the transfer of certain small arms. How much of this weaponry is given away FREE by the U.S. ?
SIPRI gives several examples to explain their chosen method. In 2009, six Eurofighters valued at $55 million each were delivered by Germany to Austria. Therefore the delivery was valued at $330 million, even though the actual transaction likely netted a much higher total. For comparison, when The New York Times listed the total of weapons sold by the U.S. at $66.3 billion in 2011, SIPRI came up with a much lower total based off of production cost of $15.4 billion. As usual, accurate $$$$ is impossible to establish.
You can read the full explanation of SIPRI’s calculations here.
You are a “student” of human evolutionary development; you are curious about how “humans” came to be Who we are today – Masters of the Universe. You come to this quest with certain assumptions in mind, which you probably are not “consciously” using, but which form a “filter system” that will not only prejudice the “evidence” you “discover” but which pre-classifies what “evidence” is. This is the way it is, for Homo sapiens.
It is obvious to you that “you” (your thoughts, habit, lifestyle, beliefs) are the culmination of “human” excellence; “you” are where evolution was headed all along. “You” includes all the wonders of Western Civilization, which “you” take to be evidence of “your” intelligence, inventiveness, superior intellect, diligence, eagle-eyed observation and analysis, literacy, artist accomplishment, etc. because “you” studied these things in school and look a lot like all the “big-brained males” (this includes female students today) who have “built” Western Civilization (U.S. version) and proven that, well frankly, It’s the best damn civilization EVER!
1. Homo sapiens (males) have big-brains; size is everything. Therefore, any and all evidence” for “evolutionary progress” depends on signs and omens of “cognitive abilities” in those “fossil species” that LED to US. “Dumb” species, de facto, cannot be our ancestors.
Fig. 1 The “supreme” species and attendant females and offspring. The prime evolutionary question is, “How did this glorious species come to be?” It used to be simple enough: A Supreme Male created everything in the universe, including Man, to whom he handed over all of Creation, with “Man” as the master of all Nature. But the invention of Science threw a monkey-wrench into the plot: it seems “man” was not really the center of the Universe, after all… unless… of course, all 3.5 billion years of life on earth could be directed into producing “The Last Ape Standing” What a coup – even better than “special creation” by a supreme male God! We’ll prove that all the forces and processes at work in the universe were necessary to produce “US”.
2. Let’s get to work establishing our superiority to all other species. We can automatically dismiss any life form previous to “humanoids” as unimportant, and fossil humanoids “that count” as ancestors can be identified by “signs” which point in our direction. We can easily define “humanoid” by the categorizing “things we eat”. (Cannibalism is a no-no. You can’t eat the Supreme Species, like it was just another food source)
Fig 2. Lunch. This organized, processed and prepared “nutrition” demonstrates “cognitive abilities” found in no other life form. The sheer amount of brain-power needed to exploit natural resources (fossil fuels) to design, manufacture and transport “plastic” containers, with uniform subdivisions, that create the illusion that $1.50 worth of “food items” is worth $39.95″ is genius! And what about decorating two sacrificial crab claws elevated on a slice of bread with wildflowers sourced from a meadow in Mongolia? Just $49.95. Brilliant.
Let’s see what “the rest of” American humanoids are having for lunch.
Another sign of superior intelligence: The American food industry is paid billions $$ to transform “surplus storage” food into meals for children; and it’s free. How much more compassionate can a supreme species become? Why waste “good brain food” (and good education) on “lesser beings” who will never be intelligent anyway? In fact, we can guarantee impaired cognitive function and stunted development using this brilliant strategy. Note the wonderful array of fossil fuel containers provided, which can be used once and disposed of immediately into landfills. More profit! More socially savvy behavior that creates environmental destruction and millions of defective, low status humanoids. No Neanderthal could accomplish that. Thank God and evolution that we exterminated them just in time!
3. Evidence that Neanderthal didn’t stand a chance of being intelligent enough to compete with us. When the supreme species “goes wild” they do it with superior social cognition. Who needs survival skills when amazing fossil fuel-based non-recyclable immortal plastic products can be purchased at a “wilderness” adventure store? Stupid Neanderthals!
Fig. 3a, 3b Lunch ca. 40,000 y.a. Anatomically Modern Humans (just like Modern Social Humans in every way) take over Eurasia from the Neanderthals with superior social networking.
4. Social behavior explains why AMC became Masters of the Universe: Neanderthals had open “caves” while highly social AMH had open “concept” floor plans with kitchen islands and granite counter tops that facilitated the acquisition of social status. How could Neanderthals have competed with such advanced innovation, which clearly depends on social networking, direct eye contact, empathy, “mind-reading” and high-end finishes?
File this video under, “What Asperger’s mean when we say that neurotypicals are stooopid.”
Support a new Middle School project in New York! (from a site offering funding for teacher proposals)
My ten students are middle-schoolers who have Asperger Syndrome.
Students in my classroom have difficulty understanding people, so it’s not surprising that they also struggle to infer characters’ motives and purpose in books. Nonfiction, full of facts? No problem! But fiction? The majority of my students with Asperger Syndrome could leave it completely.
They like to follow rules – but they make a lot of their own. They like to be right, so they hate to admit when they don’t know something, and they avoid things that are difficult. Tough concepts, like characterization, theme and tone in a novel, make them feel uncomfortable – so they’d rather not read fiction. And, as educators know, the only thing that really improves reading once the school day ends, is more reading. Then I found the novel, The Inventions of Hugo Cabret. We only have one copy – I borrowed it from our library, and they want it back! But the students were riveted. Not only were they fascinated by the format of the book – half graphic novel, half traditional – but they understood Hugo’s emotions, portrayed as they were with matching drawings, moving incrementally forward! Experiments with other graphic novels are also proving successful, but we don’t have a lot of them to go around.
I am requesting class sets of popular graphic novels for my self-contained English class of students with Asperger Syndrome (and High-Functioning Autism.) The novels I request will be taught in the same manner as traditional literature, and I will compare each work with a traditional novel, which we will also read. This will help my students be on equal footing with their peers, because they will have more insight into concepts about characterization (as well as plot, theme, tone, etc.) when they rejoin their peers in high school reading more traditional works. I hope that, ultimately, these graphic novels lead them to enjoy literature in a way that many people without autism do – for the love of the story and the characters we would otherwise not know.
I was a MAD Magazine addict and a sucker for cats and rabbits dressed in charming clothing.
Please help me bridge the “understanding gap” for my students, who are so smart and fun and have so much potential. Help them understand literature by opening the door, using pictures with the text, and engendering a level of understanding that their disability would otherwise prevents them from obtaining. Thank you so much for reading my proposal.
Remember when all childhood schoolbooks had plenty of beautiful illustrations – stylized but realistic (not infantilized and deformed neotenic blobs) FOR ALL CHILDREN? Maybe our “old-fashioned” predecessors in publishing and education knew a lot more than we do about visual thinking being basic to the human ability to learn…
The woman who made this audio track is correct! I could not bear to listen longer than a few seconds. If you can listen to this COMFORTABLY, you will likely not be able to understand what an Asperger person goes through daily, when trapped in social typical environments.
One particular point: It’s nearly impossible to pay attention to and to understand what a person is saying when “background noise” is not in the background! It’s competing with the person speaking; the impulse is to get away from the discordant “sounds” – the effect is like being tortured. Truly!