Tag Archives: Economy

Happy Birthday, America

Happy birthday, America!

I’d sing the song, but I can’t afford to pay the royalties right now. Something about a sour economy.

I’m out having fun and you dudes should be as well.

Get out there, have fun and, above all else, stay safe!


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Crossing A Gulf Of Infinite Space

When you think about autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), you probably consider that it’s a genetic-based symptom cluster. That is, you’re either born with it or you’re not.

And I was one of those dudes who figured that was, basically the case. I knew about identical twin studies that said if a person has an identical twin with an ASD, they have a 36-95 percent chance of also having an ASD. Yeah, it’s a wide spread, but it’s significantly more than with non-twins. So I leaned toward genetics because, before I talked to Dr. Robert Melillo, I hadn’t really considered that the steep rise in the incidence of ASD cases could be due to more than simply a diagnostic culture being more aware of the disorder.

Dr. Melillo, founder of the  Brain Balance Achievement Centers, an internationally recognized expert on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and author of the recent book,  Autism: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders–and What Parents Can Do Now, passed on what I told you yesterday: There’s no such thing as a genetic epidemic.

So how much has the diagnosis of ASD increased? Quite a lot. We’ve gone to a place where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in every 50 children between 6 and 17 have been diagnosed with some form of an ASD.

After consulting with global researchers, about 50 percent of that increase can be attributed to diagnostic awareness,” Melillo said. “Maybe less. It could be that as much as 60 to 70 percent of the increase isn’t explained by diagnostic awareness. That means the increase really represents new cases that previously didn’t exist.”

If we rule out the possibility of a swiftly changing genome running amok in the world’s population, and we most definitely should, then something more has to be going on here to cause such a dramatic uptick in the number of ASD cases.

“Ninety-five percent of the research over the last 25 years has been looking for bad genes, and we haven’t found that,” Melillo said. “The only thing that can explain that is an environmental factor.

“Environmental causes are either turning off or turning on the wrong genes or causing it at the worng time. Ultimately, the way to cure the problem is through prevention. Identify the environmental factors, eliminate the environmental factors and allow the genes to express themselves as they normally would.”

For instance, he said, women on antidepressants when they conceive and while they carry a child to term have an increased risk of having a child born with an ASD. Diabetes in a child’s mother can increase the chance of having an ASD child by 60 percent. While there are other environmental factors, like an increased exposure to various fertilizers, that can be helping cause the increase, that’s not where most of it comes from.

“The majority of the increase has to do with what we call lifestyle factors, ” Melillo said. “Our diet. Are we overweight? Do we exercise? Do we have a lot of stress, stress hormones? In other words, is our body fit?”

An unfit body, Melillo explained, doesn’t change the actual genetic code of any offspring. Instead, he said, what it does is to cause that unchanged code to express itself in a different way. Either surpress the wrong gene or trigger a different gene to produce a protein that’s not supposed to be there.

When I asked Melillo about the stress issues he mentioned above, I was thinking more along the lines of road rage, or the economy, but he quickly corrected me. The stress he’s talking about, which causes bad inflammation in our bodies, that’s more along the lines of us having almost constant activation of our fight or flight portion of the sympathetic nervous system.

Whew. Another fact-packed post. I think we’re going to have to continue this one on Monday. See you dudes then.

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Isn’t There Supposed To Be More To Life Than Just Work?

On my way to work at Awesome Elementary School the other day, I started yelling at the radio. Okay, sure, not that unusual, but this was because of a commercial.

It was a commercial for some sort of remote-desktop software that lets you see and manipulate files on your work computer even when you’re not on site. I’m not going to put the name of the company here because I don’t want to give it any sort of pub.

The gist of the commercial went along the lines of “why drag yourself in to the office when you’re sick when you can work from home with . . . (insert name of silly company here.)”

Really? Really?

This is what we’ve come to?

When you’re sick, when you should be concentrating on getting better by getting rest and possibly some extra sleep. . . we’re supposed to feel guilty about not being at work?

I know the economy is horrible and it’s a hiring market out there, but this is getting ridiculous. We’re expected to have smartphones on and with us at all times so we can check on work e-mail as soon as it’s necessary. We have to be in contact at all times. It’s almost like we’re a nation of doctors, all on call every night, waiting for something of importance to be delivered. And when it is, we’re supposed to act on it at once.

The American worker has the fewest paid vacation days in the entire Western world. The fewest. And there actually are people who see that as a serious plus to our industrial/service organizations. I consider it a horrible minus. Study after study has shown that a relaxed worker is a better worker, someone who will do more creative work than the dulled-by-endless-days-of-drudgery worker.

And yet we still limit people to, if they’re lucky, two weeks of vacation out of the entire year. Two weeks. A mere 10 days out of 365, not even 3% of the year.

Still, it’s not enough. Now we’ve got a company that wants to guilt us into working from home when we’re sick. When we’re sick, and this company actually has the gall to make it sound like working from home when you’re sick is something you should be proud to be doing.

Dudes, just be sick. Focus on getting better. Really.

Take it from me, when the revolution comes, that company will be the first up against the wall.

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