I got on roll and just had to finish another 30-day blogging streak. What fun!
Do you know what else is fun? I have been invited to be a contributor at The Heart of The Matter, a brand-spanking new community where we talk about what mattered today and the inspiration to keep finding what matters each and every day. It is shaping up to be so much more than just a blog–I hope you’ll consider subscribing and joining in on the conversation.
Something I’m hoping to accomplish in 2023 is a year-end compilation of 52 new things I’ve learned. It may or may not happen, but I’m going to try to pick up this web miscellany series again as a motivator to keep my eyes peeled for random trivia, interesting factoids, and ideas worth sharing.
Hope your week to come is a good one!
Food for thought
“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”Rumi
As we enter a new year, it’s useful to consider the importance of adaptability. As 2023 greets us, we may be in a state of expansion or contraction–we may be eager and ready, or we may be tepid and overwhelmed. A year is a long time, filled with continual ebbing and flowing.
In order to soar, a bird must begin with a rapid succession of movement. Expansion, contraction, expansion, contraction. Once he finds his rhythm, the length of each contraction shortens while the length of each expansion extends. The small tensions offer lift and steadiness.
The same is true for our challenges. From them, we learn, we grow, and apply the lessons to our next period of expansion. As we exercise the practice of opening and closing, gradually, over time, we become more and more open to life.
Autism may be a plasmalogen deficiency syndrome. I’ve previously written about plasmalogens here. The incident of autism continues to rise, from 6.7 per 1000 in 2000 and 23 per 1000 in 2020. It’s not caused by a virus or trauma, and it doesn’t seem to be based on race or genetics.
The human diet has shifted dramatically in recent decades. There has been a significant increase in sugar, processed foods, and meats pumped full of antibiotics. Many of these changes involve the nutrients needed to make proper levels of neurotransmitters and neuro-lipids, otherwise known as plasmalogens. In addition, sugar triggers inflammation and crowds out other vital nutrients. Could autism be related to poor food choices in pregnancy and early childhood?
Fetuses depend on their mother for plasmalogens, so development of the neonatal brain relies on a adequate supply of the DHA-derived neuro-lipid. Breast milk is a rich source of plasmalogen lipids. Interestingly, infant formula has none and breastfed children have less autism. In fact, meta-analyses of breast feeding studies show, “more breastfeeding, less autism“. Furthermore, MRI studies of autistic kids show a dramatically reduced quality and quantity of white matter, which is a direct indication of plasmalogen deficiency.
Autism is highly correlated with brain inflammation. Plasmalogens have a vinyl ether bond that helps battle inflammation, but too much inflammation depletes the plasmalogen molecule. This creates a endless loop of plasmalogen deficiency and brain inflammation.
At this stage, the data is all correlational. The missing link is a study showing that improvement in clinical status of children with autism when they are given plasmalogen lipids, or in mothers who take plasmalogens as supplements when they are pregnant. At the end of the day, we know our food supply is compromised and inadequate. And, without the critical building blocks to create plasmalogen, we suffer cognitive impairment.
The physician who authored the referenced article suggest that if they had an autistic family member, he would recommend trying plasmalogen supplements, along with Vitamin D, B12, folate, choline, and fish oil. There is no harm, and lots of promise.
Note: I’ve personally been taking plasmalogens (and all other listed supplements) for ten months to address neuro-inflammation due to Alzheimer’s and it has been life-changing.
Just for fun
I recently stumbled upon an article about one of the last living Manhattan Project scientists.
My grandfather worked on the project to produce plutonium, first at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory where they demonstrated the world’s first artificial nuclear reactor, the Chicago Pile-1, then at on the production reactors at the Hanford Site in in Washington state, where uranium was irradiated and transmuted into plutonium before plutonium and uranium were chemically separated using the bismuth phosphate process. Finally, the plutonium implosion-type weapon was developed at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico.
If you’re at all interested in the Manhattan Project, there are dozens of great history books at the library and information online. My favorite fictional telling is The Atomic Weight of Love. I wrote a review here, if you’re interested.
Meme of the week
This is dumb, but it made me chuckle far more than I care to admit. Though, pretty soon, I imagine AI will be cleverer than the average human. Who will be laughing then?