Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Gut bacteria may offer a treatment for autism (economist.com)
378 points by daegloe 45 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 254 comments



Without S. Boulardii, I am a neurotic mess who can't digest anything at all nor think straight after eating anything, so I'm inclined to believe this hypothesis.

I am also intrigued about what this means for criminality and how the line between illness and evil is likely to shift given the role of microorganisms in behavioral dysfunction; and more broadly, we don't like to admit it, but it seems that completely amoral factors can be the cause of moral, amoral, or immoral behavior.


Interestingly, almost no one in NA justice systems talks about evil. The causality between life events leading to crime is often ridiculously clear, and choice barely factors into it.

Believing in evil is its own kind of privilege. I for one have now seen a lot of criminal cases, and I've only seen sick people and people following the path laid before them. No evil in sight, but the concept's very existence allows for a certain social stability, to the detriment of some in favor of others.


Theres always a choice, and choices have consequences.

The kind of people who believe they had no choice are the worst because it shows a total lack of remorse for their selfish decisions.

Phrases like “Look what YOU made me do” and “It’s societies fault” are warning signs that they learned nothing and you have a likely repeat offender on your hands.


The problem to me is more an issue of repeat offenders not knowing what they dont know. They can't conceive of a better option, so they choose the option they understand, which is not usually a particularly helpful one, for themselves or others. We expect them to use better tools, but we dont help then find or make them, just punish them for using the wrong ones.


This thread is great. Very insightful comments about a topic not discussed nearly enough.


> Theres always a choice, and choices have consequences.

You're missing the point: you don't always have a choice about which choices are given to you, and that has consequences too.


Your reply and the parent, to me, encapsulate everything that is wrong with humans today. You are 100% right. The person to which you replied doesn't see the issue. This lack of empathy is causing so many cascading failures in human society.

(To the GP of this reply, you might have misunderstood. I'm not really talking about you, personally, just using this short conversation as an example. Please don't take it personally.)


Glad someone else pointed that out. That comment felt so inhumane and perfectly shows how people cannot appreciate the privilege they are born into. And privilege does not always mean money.


> Theres always a choice, and choices have consequences.

You're making the assumption of how your choice could have been anything different. That's an illusion and studying determinism is helpful in understanding why you're simply a biological input/output machine in a system being society. Even with the possibility of randomness existing as quantum mechanics suggests possible.. it wouldn't make a person have any choice. Personally I think quantum mechanics is just a result from a deterministic system that at this point in time is too complex for humans to analysis as determinism.

It's common knowledge that an outcome results from an action and maybe even consequences happen when the world is under the free will illusion. The problem is the actions were all based on the preceding outcomes and where nobody had any control.

> The kind of people who believe they had no choice are the worst because it shows a total lack of remorse for their selfish decisions

> Phrases like “Look what YOU made me do” and “It’s societies fault” are warning signs that they learned nothing and you have a likely repeat offender on your hands.

Ethics & morals help society strive for the best interest of humanity. The majority of society at any point in time, hasn't understood free will is an illusion and from my understanding of history. We're only capable of theorizing but from my experience, I have been able to remove resentment to persons who wronged me and because they had no control in how they became who they are with the actions they produced against me. I don't believe persons should be punished when they had no control. The best outcome is society learning how to prevent a similar unfavorable outcome and people rehabilitating the persons who were unfavorable by the universe to do a wrong.

I's a huge assumption to assume people will be repeat offenders under the belief of knowing free will is an illusion and when you're contrary to the ideology as you haven't been able to live under it for an extended period of time.


As a fellow determinist I would point out that both believing and not believing in it are (non-religious) faith-based.

As for quantum mechanics allowing for the introduction of non-determinism; what part of the human body do people think they can influence? The brain is a neuron-neurotransmitter system, muscles expand and contract based on electrochemical signals, etc. Where in the mind-body connection is the mind/self capable of enacting this non-deterministic influence?

That being said, believing in a non-deterministic universe doesn't make life any less fun nor surprising. It does concretize my sympathy for people who are faced with unfortunate circumstances and carry out actions with unfortunate outcomes.

Are there times where I have thoughts that contradict that belief? Sure. I've accepted the highly contradiction-prone way the mind works. In the end it just makes the most sense to me.


Everything you base your comment on is a huge assumption. You don’t know that humans are just an input/output system, you’re just using some kind of inductive logic to come to that conclusion. Because everything you see seems to have a cause and effect relationship, you impose it on the laws of nature. I’m not saying that the theory is false, but I can definitely say that you’re putting a lot of belief in it being true without any real evidence.

Taking your thought process and building off the idea that everything is deterministic, we can frame the concept of “free will” as something that’s defined within that image of reality. In this case, why should you deny the concept of “free will” within a deterministic environment? Why not just define it as the random process that governs all of our ideologies? Additionally, why should you show sympathy to those in worse situations if everything is deterministic?

If society feels a need to punish criminals and remove them from society that’s another deterministic outcome that you yourself should know makes no difference either way in the grand scheme of things. Why someone would be deterministically wired to counter an argument by using their belief of a deterministic world on HN is beyond me though.


> Everything you base your comment on is a huge assumption.

No, it's a huge assumption to create the "free will" theory with no evidence and then argue against the opposite position where I'm using what is observable in nature with science. It's like religious people that argue against people that don't believe in a god.

> but I can definitely say that you’re putting a lot of belief in it being true without any real evidence

No you can't, physics, neuroscience, computer science, and mathematics all favor determinism. If you chime out quantum mechanics, go search my comment history.

> Taking your thought process and building off the idea that everything is deterministic, we can frame the concept of “free will” as something that’s defined within that image of reality.

Yah if you acknowledge you're a puppet by external forces and love your strings. Your freedom is love for how your controlled because it fits you and how you have no real control yourself but are fine with it. Yet, I myself don't consider that definition of free will what most people think and to me it just doesn't exist because that definition would be nonsense.

> Additionally, why should you show sympathy to those in worse situations if everything is deterministic?

Humanity makes progress when removing illusions from society and being rational. Society shouldn't be punishing persons who were unfortunate by the universe. Society should fix the problem of what resulted in a person having an undesired outcome and then rehabilitating the person back into society. Same goes for social, health, and financial problems.

> If society feels a need to punish criminals and remove them from society that’s another deterministic outcome that you yourself should know makes no difference either way in the grand scheme of things.

Yah, whatever happens is destined to happen and similar to how society once viewed the world as flat and until some persons came along to get the idiotic majority to understand. Time brings progress or the opposite and it's all fated to happen. I hope you're not trying to make an argument against understanding reality by the mere premise of you would dislike how it really is.

> If society feels a need to punish criminals and remove them from society that’s another deterministic outcome that you yourself should know makes no difference either way in the grand scheme of things.

See above.

> Why someone would be deterministically wired to counter an argument by using their belief of a deterministic world on HN is beyond me though.

Short answer: Go study determinism.


>Humanity makes progress when removing illusions from society and being rational. Society shouldn't be punishing persons who were unfortunate by the universe. Society should fix the problem of what resulted in a person having an undesired outcome and then rehabilitating the person back into society. Same goes for social, health, and financial problems.

So if you believe in group selection has a large role in how society is shaped and will evolve then perhaps society's best interest is only to rehabilitate the troubled person only if the expected cost is lower than the expected reward. If you don't believe in group selection is that crucial then maybe it would be apparent why people like to punish if you take a look at game theory and experimental results with public good games. Keep in mind you are also making the mistake of assuming society has some sort of telos, or that moralism realism is true. So in that sense, if you ask me China's government seems very sensible in several policy areas because it doesn't give a shit about individuals.


I’m not making any mistake that I’m aware about from reading what I wrote. You’re implying unknown knowledge about me and when I haven’t even shared my opinion. Simply, I haven’t stated my view on if morals & ethics are ever cared for by people in power. I do believe humanity fundamentally relies on them and to reach the highest divine status for society in functioning and when the universe is without free will to everyone. Fundamentally I observe that important to the majority of people and who are religious. They are conditioned to see it as after death though.

Anyway cost of society is something I don’t even believe is worth pursuing a discussion about with me anyway. I have witnessed from my own personal experiences with how medical treatments are handled completely irrational to fixing my issue. I’m not fully aware to understand why but I assume some unknown agenda. I’m doubtful in any case, the persons going into professions from the start want that to be so.

China is interesting and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out their leaders operate with the knowledge of free will being an illusion. However it doesn’t mean they’re doing it how everyone would and with the same knowledge. Some people will treat the misfortunate as praedamnation and not care to make that go away. Believing birth into royalty of some sort is all that matters and shouldn’t change. However the deterministic universe has been progressing in the opposite direction of that.


In your own head you, it is probably benificial to think there is free will and you have choices.

But besides that, how can you ever believe such a thing without appealing to authority or religion. There cant be any free will; You are fully determined to execute on the given path. But that does not remove any responsibility - your unfree will is still yours just as the concequences, no...

(I mean, your will is determined in part by your gut. Everything you ever ate could tip the balance in some way.)


people can learn, but only after the fact.


Books are magical devices which allow humans to bypass this part of their nature, 5 stars highly recommended


That's not true though, is it.


There's a wonderful quote from Douglas Adams on that:

> Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.


I do not know how to express this in civilized terms.

But I feel that biological parents that raised children, who later on become evil and take other people lives -- are responsible, some how.

I am mentally, far from being contempt, with all these psychopaths (who (most of them), also have seen at some point in their lives, have seen a professional phycologist, regularly) -- go and kill defenseless kids or church/synagogue goers.

These evil humans (if they can be called that) -- should not have existed, and if they existed -- their evilness must, somehow, have been detected earlier. And that's where the parents, and, perhaps, the meds-prescribing phycologists/physiatrists come in.

I realized, that in not too distant past -- the kings and czar's suppressed uprising by executed not just the active uprisers, but their whole families, including wives and kids. As a deterrent.

I am not talking about that, but, may be there a way that parents can be held accountable to the actions of their children (even if they are more adults by the time they commit heinous crimes).

May be that will also act as deterrent against pure evil that visits those humans.


That's bunch of balony. I have two children who are polar opposite in behaviour. How do you account for that?


Why would there be a need to a 'account for differences in behavior?

Here is a very hypothetical scenario, I am struggling with:

A parent shows a pattern of drinking an driving under influence. As luck had it -- nothing bad happened. Then the child, does the same (when already having a valid driver license) -- and a horrible accident happens.

Is there some moral responsible that the parent carries? Is there criminal responsibility?

Just as in my initial comment, I do not know if this line of thinking has any merit at all.

Perhaps it is a 'bunch of baloney' as you put it.

I also have no idea on how to detect, that there in what instances there is an implied accountability of a parent (or a treating phycologist/psychiatrist).

I am hoping that some folks reading this thread , have historical, or even literature prospective that explores this angle.

How far the accountability of a parent or a treating phycologist goes/overlaps with the accountability of the perpetrator of a heinous act.

I can see that out of all the feedback on my comment so far -- there is 0 overlap of accountability suggested.

Thank you for your feedback.


EDIT: My apologies for the angry tone but idea of reporting on every single deviation is not a good one. That's how you actually end up filling prison and creating dystopia.

> A parent shows a pattern of drinking an driving under influence. As luck had it -- nothing bad happened. Then the child, does the same (when already having a valid driver license) -- and a horrible accident happens.

Children definately imitate parents. But I think your argument was the opposite. Parents reporting on Children's behaviour if they fall out of line.

> How far the accountability of a parent or a treating phycologist goes/overlaps with the accountability of the perpetrator of a heinous act.

World is a messy and scary place but trying to control for every variable might make it unlivable.


So are you saying that evil murderers are not responsible for their evil murders because they didn’t have a choice but their evil parents are responsible, some how?


But more often than not it's not the parents or phycologists/physiatrists wrong doing which leads to someone doing something awful. How would you even determine that?


I am saying that serial murders, mass shooters & home grown terrorists had patterns and footprints -- that should, somehow have been detected by their parents and physiatrists.

I do not know how to detect this stuff, but I feel morally responsible , for behavior of my children, for example.

Why should I not be partially criminally liable for their misdeeds?

God forbid, a child drinks alcohol or smokes some chemical substance, then gets behind a wheel of a car -- and kills a family going to a picnic.

I am not even thinking of more serious premeditated horrible crimes.

As I said in the beginning of my post, I do not know how to express this correctly -- but I feel that there is more role (and accountability) that parents and doctors treating mental illness/behaviors -- should bear.


The ideas of free will, consequences and deterrence; morality, punishment and justice; mental illness and life choice determinism; all exist in different planes, different parallel reasoning systems about the world - rational, moral, biological/sociological. You can make linkages between the different metaphors of explication, but mixing and matching is a recipe for inconsistency. Worse, if you think mostly in a different plane to someone else, you'll forever talk past one another.


I think the people who believe in free will can understand the notion of free will doesn't exist. They just have a problem with their ego and will not let go of the satisfaction the idea brings to them.


I'm not sure which discussion branch to reply to you on.

But I would like to put forth the argument that people get closer to gaining the required awareness that would make them free as time passes and they gain experience. This is similar to limits in math.

That is not to say that everyone moves in that direction at the same speed - that part is indeed out of one's hands. But it is undeniable that experience increases, and with it, awareness and thus freedom.

I don't think I believe this because of ego. I just think it happens to be true.


I think the assertion you make is flawed. Just because you've reached a point in time where you had experienced a great number of events and variables. Does not mean you are capable of having any will in how you're shaped into gaining a freedom or awareness that is truly your own.


That's a valid view, but I don't think it's possible for us to settle this definitively. I will think more on why I seem to find that free will is real.

Just to clarify my view: I think there is a threshold of experience beyond which one becomes "formed" (as in, the word formative). Beyond that point, I think free will, and consequently, personhood is real and we're not just automatons. This is not a new argument; I just wanted to clarify my view.


Understood. I enjoy the chance of enlightenment whenever possible. I'm doubtful if you will ever make me switch sides because I've thought deeply about this topic than most I assume because of misfortune by birth. I think the world would be greatly better of a system if the majority viewed reality similar to me and how there is no free will. Anyway have a good night!


Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch when the sketch artist police admit society is to blame and proceed to arrest everyone.


I tend to be a bleeding heart and agree that many cases of criminal behavior are mental illness or environment/circumstances, but I still think there is a spectrum of morality out there -- not sure what you mean by "evil" exactly, but certainly a spectrum where people can range from high on empathy and kindness to those who care much less about others and are more amoral or even sociopathic.


I agree, but let's go deeper... I'd wager is there is a way to rank "empathy/kindness" in a more objective way, and that the current social environment is distanced from that objectivity.

Now even if we could perfectly, objectively rank it, should we immediately jail the bottom 1/3/10%, or should we wait for them to commit a crime? Should we give lighter sentences to more empathetic people who commit crimes, assuming they had better reasons to do it?


We are starting to understand the parts of the brain that empathy originates from. The whole question gets more complicated when you realise that these regions could be diminished through no fault of the individual.


Believing in evil is the privilege exerted by those who've lived a life of righteousness or, at least, have tried their best.


I happen to have tried my best at that so far and I think this line of thinking is mostly an excuse not to develop empathy and show compassion.


A lot of murderers are low socioeconomic status males, but the vast majority of low socioeconomic status males are not murderers. It seems a lot like there's a choice.


To me it just seems like a system and currently it's too complicated to understand why the similarity exists. It doesn't give any reason to believe there's a choice.


They still choose to continue down that path, or to not seek healing. Maybe it would be difficult to make another choice, but impossible? I find that pretty hard to believe.


It would be pretty difficult to cut off your own right hand, but impossible? No. It just takes a considerate amount of willpower.

This kind of discussion leads down a path where we try to quantify something that's incredibly hard to quantify in a vacuum.

The question of willpower is also only relevant when you try to find an appropriate punishment for immoral offenses. And because this is hard, every country on earth has courts and trials - which can take forever for good reason. Because it's already hard on a per-case basis, let's not try to find an answer that would be applicable to every offence ever.

Once you're through with your offender you should give them a probable path to redemption and back into society regardless of whether they lack willpower or not - especially if they lack willpower. Punishing someone for their lack of willpower and then closing every door in their face is a sure way to make them a criminal for life. And it's also petty.


The question of will power glosses over the cause/event resulting in the desire to cut off your own hand. Will power is merely a representation of all the preceding events with starting variables at birth, factoring into if the person will do the action of cutting off their own right hand.


The will power required to exercise such a choice might also be inequitably distributed.


Ah, yes!


Human brains 'choose' something in the same sense that water chooses to flow downhill.


You're assuming the impossible but what has conditioned into everyone at birth by social norms and which have not always been correct. The free will belief and I say it's wrong by understanding determinism. Every event is of a linear path with all the preceding events & variables from assigned at birth factoring into the proceeding event. People are dragged along a line of fate till death.


Do you consider sociopathy and psychopathy to be sicknesses?


Someone else already replied, I agree with them, yes. I'm curious if anyone wouldn't?


I guess it could be because I'm not a psychologist, but I was always under the impression psychopathy & sociopathy were innate. Like, I don't know, being gay.


I think the generally understanding is that psychopaths are born, sociopaths are made.


Human events being unfavorable and resulting in sociopathy are as similar to how some linear process will trigger psychopathy. You can make the comparison as well to how an unfortunate person becomes ill of any illness.


> Believing in evil is its own kind of privilege.

Tell that to holocaust survivors.

If you want to redefine commonly used words like "evil" until they no longer have any sort of meaning, go ahead, but in that case you might as well accept a nihilistic existence as an automaton obeying the deterministic time evolution laws of physics. I feel like the rest of society will ignore you in that case, and that's probably for the best.


Those prison guards found it all too easy to slip into their roles, it’s sadly a rare characteristic to resist and see the right and wrong. The majority go along with the currents. I’d like to think that I’m different but statistically I probably already engage in acts that future generations will consider evil, like eating farm raised animals or reaping the benefits of living in a first world country which invades and destabilizes weaker nations.


If you look at the night sky you'll see more dark areas than points of light, but you still use those points of light and the contrast to define what brightness and darkness is. That would hold even if there was just one visible star besides the sun in the whole universe.

> I probably already engage in acts that future generations will consider evil

It's nothing to do with new insights coming about. If for example you reap the benefits of wars of aggressions and don't speak out against wars of aggression, what future generations think of it doesn't matter.

When you see a homeless person sleeping in the cold, and you put a warm blanket over them and they don't wake up and nobody sees it, was it a good deed? I would say yes. It will even remain a good deed if you yourself forget about it.

So why would that be different for bad deeds? It can only be bad for reasons that are present at the time. If someone is getting deceived it's hard to blame them. But if someone is ignorant because they made many little choices to remain ignorant, it's different. If someone couldn't have possibly known because of scientific discoveries made later, it'd be silly to "blame" them. But that's hardly relevant to the Holocaust.

And nobody "statistically" does x murders and y good deeds each year. We do nothing statistically, we just do what we ourselves actually do.

> Of course, the terrible things I heard from the Nuremberg Trials, about the six million Jews and the people from other races who were killed, were facts that shocked me deeply. But I wasn't able to see the connection with my own past. I was satisfied that I wasn't personally to blame and that I hadn't known about those things. I wasn't aware of the extent. But one day I went past the memorial plaque which had been put up for Sophie Scholl in Franz Josef Strasse, and I saw that she was born the same year as me, and she was executed the same year I started working for Hitler. And at that moment I actually sensed that it was no excuse to be young, and that it would have been possible to find things out.

-- Traudl Junge

While we might "pity" people in the past for not knowing many things, moral judgement has to do with the options someone has. Even if the majority is using their options badly, that doesn't mean those options didn't exist, just like there being less stars wouldn't make the rest of the night sky brighter.

> The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.

-- Hannah Arendt


It seems you're saying that moral good is doing what an individual thinks is good at that moment. So for example if I am a crusader and I think that killing non-believers is a supreme good, then I am moral. But if I think that killing is wrong no matter what and I still kill then I am immoral?


Godwin's law.


It also casts religions with dietary restrictions in an interesting light.


Which major religion forbids yeast intake (and how would you guarantee that) and from which angle does one shine light on a people united in faith but with distinct local food (and yeast) sources to make it "interesting"?


Look at the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Their belief isn’t necessarily yeast but dietary standards in general. Promotion of a vegetarian/vegan diet, and removal of alcohol, coffee, and sugar since the late 1800’s. As far as I know the dietary standards include the promotion of the effects of gut bateria, and the ill effects of eating things like warm bread but not necessarily removal of yeast.


I don't think that seventh day Adventist church is necessarily an example of being we'll adjusted


Just living the longest.


You're really reaching here.


The Catholic Church uses unleavened bread for the Host.

It's symbolic, but somewhat of an interest in this thread.


In that specific case it's related to Judean tradition. Jews also eat that sort of bread for Passover.


> I am also intrigued about what this means for criminality and how the line between illness and evil is likely to shift given the role of microorganisms in behavioral dysfunction; and more broadly, we don't like to admit it, but it seems that completely amoral factors can be the cause of moral, amoral, or immoral behavior.

That line is already in trouble because of genetics research, psychology research, etc showing that people's actions are less based on deliberate choice than they'd like to believe.

Of course, this all causes issues for society since (for good or bad), a stable society kinda needs to at least pretend humanity have some general sense of free will otherwise a lot of things (like the aforementioned justice system) stop making sense.


Isn’t this only “trouble” if you think of legal penalties like imprisonment only as punishment for your choices? If you think about imprisonment differently, perhaps as a means to protect other people from future crimes, issues like gut biome and “free will” aren’t really relevant.


> If you think about imprisonment differently, perhaps as a means to protect other people from future crimes, issues like gut biome and “free will” aren’t really relevant.

They are very relevant, because then the question becomes "how do we best protect everyone, including the offender". It's highly unlikely that imprisonment is an appropriate medical treatment or harm minimization procedure for a medical condition.


> That line is already in trouble because of genetics research, psychology research, etc showing that people's actions are less based on deliberate choice than they'd like to believe.

I'd like to know more about this. Do you have sources for these?


Sam Harris explores these topics in his book Free Will, I wasn't blown away by the read but would still recommended it if you already find yourself fascinated by the discussion.


I don't see that species in the article. How did you learn about that tropical species of yeast, and how long have you been taking it? What was your digestion/appetite like with and without that supplement?


Not the parent poster, but I learned about S Boulardii from some German studies of probiotics. Boulardii at one point was one of the few that showed benefits in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. That was a while ago so don't know what the state of the research is now.


On your second point, there is an article on The Atlantic, that is worth reading in my opinion : the Brain on Trial (2011) [0]

It explores some case of brain malfunction leading to various criminal cases and what it means for free will (or lack of). Really makes you wonder what freedom do we really have.

[0] https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/the-bra...


Have you tried helminthic therapy by any chance? Also would you care to share your current treatment protocol? I am in a similar position with lots of dietary allergies and I am considering doing helminthic therapy because it seems to have a lot of success stories.


I am very interested in learning more. I will Google etc. of course, but if there are links, blog posts or bits of info you would be willing to share I would be most grateful. Thanks.


How did you find out?


I figured out that my problems were related to intestinal microflora because they became ten times worse after undergoing 3 courses of H. Pylori eradication therapy in the span of only a few months, and I never improved for years afterwards. That's the short version; in reality, I suffered for a decade and a half before I caught on that I could do something about it, and it took about 5 years after that to get any kind of positive result (which gave me the confidence to pursue it more seriously).

S. Boulardii is fairly widely known as having a pretty broad range of positive effects, so trying it out was a no-brainer. I have tried many, many things over the years and have improved greatly.

On a related note, it is common to assume that confirmation bias or the placebo effect would distort my judgment, but it turns out I am objective to a fault, as any objectively measurable intervention that I thought worked was later tested experimentally and confirmed my results.

There is actually nothing wrong with taking a guerrilla approach to health if doctors can't help you, as long as you don't fall for the "alternative for alternative's sake" fallacy, and are willing to bear the costs of iterating through the most promising interventions and not being disappointed when most of them fail.


I'm very interested in your experience.

Few questions:

- what positive effects did you get taking S. Boulardii ?

- did you try reuteri ? If no why ? If yes what happened ?

- what forms did you take the supplement in ? What form do you prefer and why ? Any brand recommanded or things to watch out ? Do you know natural reliable food sources ?

- can you tell me more about your 3 courses of H. Pylori eradictation ? Why ? How ? What are the results and costs ?

- did you notice what in your life may cause you to loose a proper gut content ?

And if you ever have the time, can you give a long explaination text about your overall experience ? That's the kind of information I'm mining hard for. I do understand it takes time and also that you are not a doctor and cannot be considered a representative sample. But it's very interesting and hard to find information.


I didn't expect this level of attention at all. I hope it is appropriate for me to respond.

- what positive effects did you get taking S. Boulardii ?

Intestinal "well-being," feeling I can almost forget about my intestines, whereas normally my abdomen always hurts very badly, to the point my entire body is straining in reaction to it. This is only in combination with the other measures I took; S. Boulardii alone is insufficient.

Whenever my intestines felt fine, my head felt clear and my nose/sinuses would stop being congested; and vice versa. This phenomenon has been consistent throughout my illness and has led many a doctor to scratch his/her head and/or not take me seriously.

I tried doubling the dose after reading about that on the net (some people take 25m+ CFUs), but it gave me dryness/constipation and resulted in diverticulitis so I gave that up.

- did you try reuteri ? If no why ? If yes what happened ?

Only as part of larger probiotic formulations. I don't tolerate most and I'm not sure why. It may be that some strains produce histamines or include FOS (when I iterated through probiotic products, I was not aware of FOS - please see my other reply below where I discuss FOS). So I don't have any experience with it.

- what forms did you take the supplement in ? What form do you prefer and why ? Any brand recommanded or things to watch out ? Do you know natural reliable food sources ?

I take KAL S. Boulardii (ordered from iherb). I use veg. capsules because of a bias I have: I had bad side effects to a few liquid probiotic formulations I tried early on, so I ended up avoiding them as a general rule (which might be invalid but I have no further need to re-test it).

- can you tell me more about your 3 courses of H. Pylori eradictation ? Why ? How ? What are the results and costs ?

The reason I got the treatment in the first place was chronic inflammation in the stomach and intestines. I also had severe chronic sinus inflammation (enlarged turbinates specifically) that never abated, and a very bad response to histamines (redness, itching). I had asthma-like throat constriction; a doctor once told me "of course your heart rate's up, you're almost choking!" after I went in because I felt out of breath. I had a general drunken feeling, and would even get giddy at times. I have considered the possibility of auto-brewery syndrome, but there's no way to tell now. The doctor was a gastroenterologist so he focused on the digestive issues.

After the eradication therapy, that all got much worse and I developed noticeable food intolerances. I think I was already sensitive to those foods, but not enough that I'd notice at the time. I specifically could no longer tolerate dairy and sugar at all, and I had to greatly limit harsh foods (acidic stuff like vinegar, or very salty foods) or else I'd get gastritis extremely quickly (confirmed on endoscopy). My scalp started to itch and lots of hair fell out in my crown area. I am better with dairy nowadays but still can't have sugar, and vinegar just destroys me (I guess because it is corrosive AND high in histamines). I also can barely eat acidic foods and have to avoid most of them.

- did you notice what in your life may cause you to loose a proper gut content ?

I had always felt great until the age of 11, then it hit me and I started to have "attacks" which I didn't understand at the time, and doctors couldn't figure them out at all. I was given a bunch of things like nasal steroids for the sinus issues, and some symptomatic treatment for the stomach.

I felt so terrible though, literally like I was dying. I imagine waterboarding feels like that, because I just felt like I was unable to breathe adequately and even though it wasn't visible, I felt like I was making a contorted face all the time because of the feeling of straining. I kept asking for help but after doctors couldn't find anything, my parents began punishing me for what they thought was malingering (long story there - but they are forgiven and we are on good terms now).

I have some theories about what caused it but nothing concrete. I moved country (continent too, in fact) just 2 years prior and hygiene was far worse. I went through several bouts of gastroenteritis. I also got a salmonella immunization (capsule) and the doctor instructed my mom to open it up and release the powder in some milk, to make it easier for a child of my age to swallow it. I got extremely sick with some kind flu-like illness + gastroenteritis after that, even though my siblings who took the same immunization did not get sick.

Please see the reply I made below for some more details if you're interested

edit: I forgot to mention something relevant that would relate my experience with the article. A while back I read an article written by an autistic man, in which he mentioned "face tightness" being part of his being autistic (I only made the connection later so I don't know how to find it again). I truly think there is something to that. I felt strained and neurotic whenever my symptoms flared up, and I was quite antisocial in high school, yet mellow on the few days my symptoms cleared up.

edit: further details added. I typed this up a bit quickly (it's late here) so I had omitted some important things.


>I had to greatly limit harsh foods (acidic stuff like vinegar, or very salty foods) or else I'd get gastritis extremely quickly (confirmed on endoscopy). My scalp started to itch and lots of hair fell out in my crown area. I am better with dairy nowadays but still can't have sugar, and vinegar just destroys me (I guess because it is corrosive AND high in histamines). I also can barely eat acidic foods and have to avoid most of them.

This is interesting, considering that acidic and salty environments are the ones which naturally harbor beneficial bacteria and yeasts. Quite the paradox you have!


Indeed, but they are also very harsh and my digestive tract sensitive. Sometimes it's just that simple.

Also, vinegar is fermented and thus very high in histamines, on top of being corrosive.


A lot of your symptoms sound similar to some things that I have been through. I found out that I have celiac disease, after suffering through a lot of physical symptoms which were sometimes paired with mental symptoms such as confusion or mood swings, which are common with celiac. The exact cost seems to be a mixture of things… release of neurotransmitters and immune system chemicals, disrupted gut flora, chronic pain and discomfort, and malnutrition from poor absorption.

Like yours, it’s a long story.


I don't have any statistics, but judging from the number of sites and blogs that have popped up that deal with similar conditions, this seems to be an increasingly common problem. It seems like you could now speak about brain fog and everyone would understand what you meant, and I don't think that was the case 15 years ago.

I've only ever made 2 top-level comments related to this issue on HN and they have surprised me with the amount of attention they generated.

A lot of people are going through desperate times because of conditions like this. It's hard to appreciate how bad it can be just by trying to imagine the symptoms for an instant. It's much harder to imagine what it feels like to experience that for months; years; decades.


I think the conversation about that came up with chronic fatigue. These days it’s used to describe mild hangover-like states, mostly. What people with celiac suffer is more like the confusion that comes with multiple sclerosis. As far as other people’s ‘brain fog’ I think they’re referring to a much more mild condition.

Self described sensitivity to gluten is on the rise. Possibly some gluten intolerance is on the rise, too. However, incidence of -actual- celiac disease as confirmed by biopsy has not changed, but screening and diagnosis have gotten a lot better.


There are actually some very interesting studies looking at blood samples from the 1950s, for instance, that indicate that celiac is much more common than it used to be. See for instance "Increased Prevalence and Mortality in Undiagnosed Celiac Disease" in the journal Gastroenterology, July 2009.


Seems interesting. That was written by a doctor I saw this summer, too.

This is a bit more readable: https://www.the-scientist.com/features/the-celiac-surge-3143...


I recently learned about epigenetics and it's mind blowing.

In a nutshell: the expression of a gene within an individual can change over their lives, and the changes can be inherited. There are multiple mechanisms of alteration and inheritance.

The field is still in very early stages of research, but here are some paraphrases from Wikipedia to hook you:

* Children born during the Dutch famine of 1944–45 were smaller than those born the year before the famine and the effects could last for two generations. They also were at increased risk of glucose intolerance in adulthood.

* Children of women who were abused during pregnancy were significantly more likely than others to have methylated glucocorticoid-receptor genes, which in turn change the response to stress, leading to a higher susceptibility to anxiety

* Male mice that participated in voluntary physical exercise resulted in offspring that had reduced fear memory and anxiety-like behavior in response to stress.

For further reading:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgenerational_epigenetic_i...

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics_of_anxiety_and_str...

--- Pure conjecture ---

As an engineer, this sounds like coarse short-term evolution; a dimmer switch for various genetic functions which can improve offspring fitness relative to a sudden environmental change, possibly with negative side effects, until the environment stabilizes or genetics can adapt with new functionality.

Only now, our population is mixing over broad geographic areas subject to an unprecedented acceleration of environmental changes, with often no prior genetic training, as cultures shift towards sedentary, inside, less-social lifestyles that have fewer children at greater ages.

An inter-generational epigenetic analysis of celiac, autoimmune, and other "new" diseases could be ground breaking. I'm wondering to what degree they are emergent symptoms of possibly conflicting epigenetic adaptations accumulated over multiple generations. The timing is just so suspicious.

The mouse study of stress tolerance also suggests follow-up studies that may have fascinating political ramifications.


Interesting. As far as heritability, my symptoms closely resemble my mother’s, who is also diagnosed with celiac.


Thanks a lot. I know it takes time to write those long comments.


There's a whole group of people who're benefit from eliminating histamins, FODMAPs etc---and even any form of fiber, which probably you already know. Check out carnivores (again if you don't know yet): https://zerocarbzen.com/about-me/... there're facebook groups with many 10ks of members. Another is Dr Ray Peat adherents. They essentially cut out everything but orange juice and milk and meat... :) Curious sort of people. Might give you some ideas.

What works for my "aging" problems (age 40)? Carnivore diet helps to some degree (with weight, testosterone, energy etc). LLLT on the head works really well for me to boost mental acuity, or any form of stimulating light (10k lux lightlamp). It's has been life changing for the past 1.5 years (LLLT device costs $30). https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/my-review-of-lllt/

Best of luck!


Yes, going carnivore led to a massive improvement of my health. I am curious about LLLT, sounds a bit like wishful thinking to me but I'd like to try it out. Where would I get a cheap device to play around with and do you use it like stated in the selfhacked article?


I could never stick to carnivore long term, but I like the short term effects. Here's the LLLT device that I use: 1) Aweek® 96 Leds IR Illuminators Light IR Infrared Light LED infrared light CCTV Camera Night-vision Fill Light for CCTV Security Camera, Standard 45°

2) CMVision UL Listed Regulated Power Adapter, 12VDC, 2Amp for Camera, LED Light, IR Illuminator

both from Amazon. 850nm, 96 LED, 2amp 12V adapter.

Don't forget to close the light sensor in the lower left corner when you apply I apply it for 60 sec on upper-front head area every other day. The effects are pretty noticeable for me.


Thanks, will check it out.


It's a great option for people obsessed with pseudoscience I suppose.


low-FODMAPs are University (Monash) science, peer reviewed - if you know of contrary recent studies, please drop some URLs. Mere gainsaying and vituperation is never a contribution to a discussion.

One article that comes to hand: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/when-gluten-sensiti...


For a number of people the earth being round was pseudoscience until it wasn't


Did you adjust your diet, or are you taking supplements?


Both.

Regarding diet, I started observing the effects of everything I ate and adjusting accordingly, somewhat like an elimination diet. I was actually really clueless at first and had numerous deficiencies as a tradeoff for some of the symptoms disappearing (which was great but not sustainable). Over the span of years, this has improved and today I have no deficiencies and only relatively mild symptoms remain.

The biggest breakthrough was limiting fermentation, by taking the FODMAP IBS diet to its natural conclusion, and eliminating everything that would ferment (and thus increase intestinal microorganisms, which for me were imbalanced). What prompted me to do this was trying 2 similar probiotic formulations, only one of which had FOS. The one with FOS caused a huge flare up. So I greatly reduced fermentable things ("resistant starches," "soluble fiber," "FOS," "FODMAPs", fructans, sugar alcohols...). Caprylic acid supplementation really reduced fermentation whenever I made a dietary mistake.

I googled that idea and found the blog of Dr. Norm Robillard which advocates for a similar low-fermentation diet. Interestingly, the people who commented on his site seemed to divide into 2 camps: low-fermentation people vs. those who did well on the opposite diet (high starch / fermented foods).

Adding S. Boulardii then reduced my symptoms further (brain fog, chronic intestinal inflammation) and I feel pretty decent now.

I cannot yet figure out how to make it so my intestinal microflora is balanced enough that eating fermented and/or fermentable foods wouldn't destroy me. I'm still working on that in my spare time.


Not sure which reply chain to jump into here, but during endoscopic evaluation have you ever had biopsies taken to check eosinophil counts in your stomach or esophageal tissue?


I've had several gastroscopies and always had biopsies taken. Eosinophils were within the normal range, so whatever I have is not a true allergy.


More than an allergy I was curious about something to the effect of eosinophilic esophagitis or one of the other eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. I present with a similar timeline and symptoms to your description and was querying to see if that was a point of divergence.


Brain fog, intestinal inflammation. Sounds so very familiar.

Do you have research notes, on methodology and things tried? I'm now very curious for myself.


I don't have notes per se, and I am afraid to say something that can be considered advice. I can answer any question you might have though (assuming it's appropriate for me to do so here, I hope I don't annoy HN users).


I don't think anyone is going to find your comments in this thread annoying, quite the opposite.


@theprotocol With your permission, I hope, I copied your comments to my wiki http://www.zeynel.a2hosted.com/index.php?title=Digestive_Hea... I think it will be useful to others as well to read them as a whole. I'll update if there are new relevant comments. Thanks!


Sure, but please note that it is not to be construed as advice, merely an example of what might work for someone, and that everyone is different (for instance, one of my posts mentions that a subset of people do extremely well on a diet opposite mine - high starch).

edit:

I've also not written anything about methodology, so I hope my writings have not given the impression that one can play fast and loose with supplements. I actually follow a safety-first approach, and I do this only after a doctor reaches a dead-end.

General approach for evaluating supplements:

1- Find out about something that sounds promising, either by accident, or googling ideas and stumbling upon something that claims to improve your condition in some way.

2- Skim reputable sites (that cite research) listing the potential pros and cons of the supplement in question. Stop here if there is an unacceptable level of risk.

3- Skim any research about the supplement vs. your condition.

4- Read Amazon/iherb/other customer reviews for formulations of the supplement. Do not get excited. Most of these reviews are fake. What you are doing here is scoping out the ideal claimed outcome as a screening tool. If the ideal outcome is not worthwhile, stop here.

5- Dig into the research yourself. Confirm the level of risk. Check interactions. Determine whether there is a chance of the supplement working.

6- Purchase and test product. Remain objective. The baseline expectation is that nothing will work. Don't be emotional about that. I love having experience with products regardless of whether they work for me or not. I find it very interesting either way.


How do you react to grains, like rice or Quinoa? Are you in Twitter? How can we get in touch with you?


I can eat small amounts of wheat and any amount of rice without any symptoms. I haven't tried quinoa because I have sufficient grains in my diet now, and don't want to risk reacting to a new food.

Here's a temporary email address: something@radiodale.com

Please email that address and I will give you my real email address there. This is to avoid publishing my email for perpetuity.


> everyone is different

Very true. I added your disclaimer.


Not only is people different but what might be helpful for some, in others might create chronic issues.

Killing of species of your gut microbiome (by eliminating foods) should probably not be somethig to take lightly.


True. But I eliminate foods out of necessity. Recently I stopped eating legumes as part of FODMAP diet and I see it makes a difference. I also suspect that we may be eating too much variety. I like for instance Fukuoka's approach to diet http://criticality.org/four-types-diet-masanobu-fukuoka/


I am new to having these symptoms but this is very useful stuff!

I have been taking the peppermint oil tablets from helpforibs.com and they are good for temporary comfort here and there but my gastroenterologist has not recommended the things mentioned here. He has written off probiotics as useless and also downplays dietary adjustments for some reason. It’s really wild. I have found fiber and grains are great for me and eating rice every day is an enormous help.


Hi! Thank you so much for sharing!

I'm suffering from somehing similar. Did you look into Candida? A lot of the symptoms sound very similar. H. Pylori antibiotics could have killed off good intestinal flora, causing candida overgrowth.

Could you describe what other changes did you make, aside from adding S. Boulardii? Diet, supplements, medications? What helped you the most?


Candida is what a lot of people assume it is, but there's really no way to know for certain what microorganism is imbalanced in your gut, so like many people I started off thinking it was Candida but then moved to more general approach as I learned more (and learned of many, many things other than Candida that could be the problem). It is ultimately very limiting to assume that it's Candida; you'll find most people who think their problem is Candida struggle a lot and the suggested protocols for treating it do not seem to work very well.

You are right to assume that the problem is fungal, since it started after antibiotic therapy, but I find that fermentation of any kind makes me sick - even supposedly anti-candida things made me worse if they were fermented (claimed to provide tons of antifungal probiotics). I have had much better results admitting that I do not know the actual imbalance, and thinking of this as a known unknown.

The supplements that helped me most were caprylic acid (for reducing gut dysbiosis) and S. Boulardii, even though you cannot take both at the same time (the former weakens the latter).

I also benefited greatly from taking nutritional supplements to top off any deficiencies of vitamins and minerals I might have had, but I do not take these things continuously, because supplements usually have specific forms of ingredients that may compete with others - for example, you'll often find Vitamin E as alpha-tocopherol, which is OK for topping off your levels but in the long run, it depletes other forms of Vitamin E such as tocotrienols and other tocopherols.

See my other comments for more details, I wrote quite a bit.


Do you think a survey of people with similar problems would have helped narrow down effective treatments?

What about instead of sampling randomly selecting individuals to try a treatment?

I'm often overwhelmed by the amount of information about options out there.


I think you'd have to reduce the problem set/space for that to be effective (which is a very similar concept to reducing how you define your state space in AI, if you're familiar with that). If the problem set has too many variables, I think it becomes too challenging to analyze.

My approach is to rely very heavily on heuristics in order to screen potential treatments. I wrote some steps describing how to do that elsewhere in this thread.


Yeah, I guess I really don't have a handle on the complexity.

Your heuristics seem useful. I've been just trying stuff for a month and seeing how they go. Trusting the professionals to guide me in semi-useful directions.

Thanks.


@theprotocol thanks for this detailed explanation. Very helpful.


Adding my thanks to this. I have IBS and have done a ton of self-experimentation over the years to fix my symptoms (with reasonable success). I totally get what you mean about free will and being unable to think straight when your digestive system is not managed. This is an interesting pathway that I had not discovered yet; from my initial reading it looks like the mycobiome is somewhat at the cutting edge [1].

[1] https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2607/6/1/22/htm


Can you recommend a brand?


I have not read much on mouse models of autism, but I seem to recall an undercurrent of scepticim in comments from autism researchers. Here is one article to that effect: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/the-limi....

Certainly research on mouse models of autism is a big deal: I see summaries of new such studies multiple times a week.


Reading about toxoplasma (a parasite of rats which can infect humans and alter their behaviour), I recall something about the common cold (a virus) and behaviour. My memory is fuzzy but there was a study that indicated that those with initial stages of a cold seek out human contact more and in the case of women, show more skin. The implication is that the virus seeks to replicate by altering our behaviour to transmit it to as many people as possible and the researchers speculated it could also mean that the common cold might lead to an increase in sex and also becoming a sexually transmitted virus.


"the virus seeks to replicate"

variants of the virus that caused their hosts to socialize more replicated more


Kind of a tangent, but the way you phrased it, while much more technically correct, is totally roundabout and unnatural to a native English speaker.

I've often postulated that the necessity of a Subject in English sentences causes us to inadvertently project agency in our descriptions of events / phenomena that in reality don't have an "actor" in a meaningful sense.

It's fascinating to consider to what extent this false notion of causation and agency may constrain a native English speaker's understanding of the world.


> Kind of a tangent, but the way you phrased it, while much more technically correct, is totally roundabout and unnatural to a native English speaker.

As a native English speaker, I disagree; it is a perfectly natural way for the intended message to be communicated in English.

> I've often postulated that the necessity of a Subject in English sentences causes us to inadvertently project agency in our descriptions of events / phenomena that in reality don't have an "actor" in a meaningful sense.

A subject need not be an (semantic, much less also self-willed) agent (and, when it is, it can , and misleading anthropomorphization is in no way a peculiarity of English speakers.

“Evolution favored variants which enhance host sociability” has a subject, which is a semantic (but not self-willed) agent.

“Variants which enhanced host sociability are favored by evolution” has a subject, which is the patient rather than the agent.

Both are quite natural English expressions, and (unlike attributing will to the virus) accurate (or, at least, describe a plausible phenomenon.)


I completely agree it's ungainly - maybe this is better:

"host-sociability-enhancing variants replicated more"


I had an argument with someone about colds, saying that external temperature favorited infection and they responded by saying the cause is more likely proximity in close warm spaces. I think our system is too complex for a tiny virus to manage to influence such behaviors.. but that's not impossible.


The human body is complex but it has a lot of global variables. All a virus needs to do is twiddle these global variables and sometimes it will have a beneficial effect for propagation. Any part of the body can chuck any molecule into the blood stream and have it transported round the body. Virus evolutionary processes can ‘engineer’ for things to cross the blood brain barrier just like pharmaceutical researchers. Even if you can’t get into the brain, you can still drastically alter behaviour by messing around with the rest of the body.


What should I read to know these variables ? any books or references ?


In this case, we'd be talking about hormones or toxins that get into the blood flow which distributes them to most cells in our organism.

By extension, most if not all molecules that are present in the plasma.


All it takes is one simple chemical to completely alter a person's mind, mood, or behavior. Surely there are viruses large enough and substances simple enough for a virus to alter the production of a simple mind-altering compound?


Good point indeed. And when that is started it would be so efficient that it would survive.


I've experienced that. Usually an introvert, but a few days before a cold I'd often go for a walk & drop in on someone randomly, before any symptoms. The decision making is kind of experienced as a drawing back of inhibition


I have previously wondered if HIV could pick up mutations which made hosts more sexually active and promiscuous.


Why HIV specifically?


Presumably because it's an STD that can't be transmitted through casual contact.


This, plus stories about it already mutating to become less lethal.


My thoery:

I'm inclined to think the link in autism might be caused by the prevalence of C-section births not passing the proper gut microbiome to some kids who are also genetically more inclined to autism but only if the gut is screwed up at birth.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464665/

Doctors nowadays do C-sections often for unnecessary reasons, such as expedience or shift changes or as a default because the believe its "safer":

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/19/arsdarian-c...

The wrong micro-biome eventually builds up a toxic load that causes the onset of autistic symptoms. Most likely due to cell danger response (CDR) getting stuck:

https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2017-05-26-centu...

Out on a limb, I know. But likely the cause is probably going to come down to a cascade of preventable events and toxic loads causing some kind of malfunction in those who are already gene compromised.


The inputs and outputs here are well known. These tests have been done before: [0] is a good example. It shows that babies born through c-sections are more likely to be autistic, but not more likely to be autistic than their siblings, implying "that this association is due to familial confounding by genetic and/or environmental factors."

[0]: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/...


Surely, a correlation would have been found by now? Any data on it?


Also less women are breastfeeding, a process which also gives probiotics


Yes, this is hugely important for a child and our laws in the U.S. do not give families adequate support to allow most women to be able to provide this crucial care for this children.[1] It's difficult for many women working white collar jobs and almost impossible for women who work minimum wage jobs.[2] This systemic problem is going to have long-term public health effects that we have yet to even comprehend.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3020209/

[2] https://qz.com/1034016/the-class-dynamics-of-breastfeeding-i...


It’s like we’re crippling our own future workforce and phenotype expression legacy sigh lol


Is there any data on breastfeeding versus autism rates?


I'm not too keen on the discouragement against self experimentation at the end of the article in this case. Self experimentation has greatly improved insulin pump technology in the past few years, and this situation has much much less risk.


I work with a type 1 diabetic who programs his own insulin pump now. Still goes to the doctor, but says they just don't have the same commitment to finding a good solution that he does, and he feels much better now. Sample size of 1, obviously, but he says it's pretty common to find other people in his situation who have similar results.


How good are most experiments with a sample size of 1? Can the data gathered be independently verified?


When you are suffering from some chronic disease you really only care about finding a solution that works for you.

If there was a place where one could submit anecdotal experiences then you could analyze that data and use it as a basis for professionally run medical experiments. For example, if 1000 people said X food triggered symptoms of severe depression for a few hours after consumption then a professional could look at that and say "this is something worth looking into". You would be correct in remaining skeptical of individual claims which haven't been carefully verified, but you would be a fool to just ignore and discard those claims.

Mikhaila Peterson is one example of an individual that was suffering from serious chronic problems who found a solution that appears to work for her. She's now on a carnivore diet, which means she only consumes meat and water. Now, that doesn't mean that everyone should go out and start imitating her, but it sure as hell sounds like something that medical professionals should look into.


It can be verified by others self experimenting with a sample size of 1, creating an aggregated larger data set. A type of decentralized trial, if you will.


Some research is adopting this pattern too. A great example is Dr. Satchin Panda's clinical trial on time-restricted eating. You self-select an eating window and then document it through the app. Pretty cool stuff. mycircadianclock.org


I'm pretty down on a lot of self-experimentation, but it's worth noting that probiotics are frequently recommended by doctors for many other issues and are unlikely to have harmful effects. I'm not familiar with the strain discussed here, but normal strains are ~$1/day. So the danger is that people might get a bit of false-hope or imagine a connection that's not there. I won't say that's harmless, but it can be a lot worse.

I'm more worried that people will latch on to the gut connection and experiment with other "cures". There's an entire world of people poisoning their kids to try and cure "gut problems".


Let me phrase it backwards: how good is aggregate data that throws away outliers in a complex system that isn’t yet fully understood?


Very anecdotal but for the first couple of years of my sons life I gave him l reuteri mostly because it is very well studied for showing improvement in infant colic (it’s whats in Gerber Soothe brand colic drops for example) It certainly worked wonderfully for that but his general mood was all around better and now at four he’s extremely social. Of course he could have been otherwise as well but we do have some family history on both sides with autism spectrum disorders. The specific brand of l reuteri that seemed best based on my research at the time is BioGaia Protrctis.

Interestingly l Reuteri is also found in human breast milk.


"Interestingly l Reuteri is also found in human breast milk."

When I looked into breastfeeding, different sources said it had oxytocin in it which made people feel more connected or increased trust. Made me start wondering if society's break from breastfeeding might be causing a lot of social and family problems since the bootstrapping phase of trust wasn't there anymore. That's on top of how childbirth happens in hospitals treating it like industrial process.

Now, you say that's in breast milk. Now I'm wondering if we can add the problems it might knock out to the list of negative effects of no breastfeeding.


Also think of the mothers who can’t breastfeed through no fault of their own. We could potentially improve baby formula to counter the risks of not breastfeeding.


A very approachable book on the topic by Giulia Enders is "Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ" (https://www.amazon.com/Gut-Inside-Story-Underrated-Revised/d...


Enders does a great (and entertaining) Ted talk on the Gut here - https://www.ted.com/talks/giulia_enders_the_surprisingly_cha...



I've encountered a fair bit of research and anecdotal stories showing how gut bacteria can have all sorts of crazy effects. It really makes you wonder how many conditions could be prevented or treated by dietary changes and supplements. I already wrote this in a response, but Mikhaila Peterson really opened up my eyes to the big impact diet can have on your health. To anyone that hasn't heard of her, she switched to a carnivore diet and many of her severe lifelong symptoms appear to have gone away.

Recently I started considering the possibility that being fat could actually a symptom in some people. Controlling your weight is really easy when you're fairly healthy, but when you're sick it can become much more challenging. I used to be fairly critical of fat people, thinking that it was laziness, but I think the numbers are just too large to chalk it up exclusively to any single thing. There's also a lot of fat people that work incredibly hard and they excel at tons of things, which brings the laziness hypothesis to question. It's entirely possible that laziness plays a role in some, but when you take a high-resolution view of the world it's rare to find single-variable answers to complex problems.

We also know that your mouth bacteria can have a huge impact on your dental health. There's people that barely have to brush their teeth to maintain perfect dental health, and others that still manage to get cavities despite following fairly rigorous routines such as brushing and flossing after every meal. I'll note it's been a few years since I last looked into this claim so take this comment with a grain of salt.

Trying out probiotics seems fairly safe and it could have hugely positive effects on your health. The sibling comments from theprotocol are just one example. To add an anecdote, I recently started taking probiotics and the first thing I noticed after a few days was that I no longer felt tired after eating. I've experienced a few other positive changes, but I haven't been taking them for long enough to feel confident that those changes can be attributed exclusively to the probiotics. My biggest issue with probiotics is that finding good information about different products is fairly difficult. I basically just picked a box at random out of all the choices available.

Does anyone have suggestions of good book on this topic? I've seen The Mind-Guy Connection and The Good Gut floated around a bit, but they have mixed reviews and the scientific rigor behind some of their claims seems to be under question.


Food and digestion is an interesting area. There are a lot of new research being done. And theories that suggest our food intake can explain many symptoms and diseases. Because the food market is so huge, I'm afraid we'll see a lot of pseudo science and mumbo jumbo in the near future. So make sure you have the bullshit detector on. The Nestle baby milk scandal comes to mind, where doctors get a kick-back from recommending certain products. When you see news article like this one, and others recently, it will be hard to question future miracle products and supplement recommendations.


Gut bacteria may offer a treatment for autism in mice.


Treatment of mice with autism-like symptoms.

That said, this research actually genuinely attempts to research causation, where most of the other studies I've seen linking gut microbes and autism are essentially only demonstrating correlation. Anyone who has spent any time trying to make a picky autistic child eat a varied diet will not be surprised by this correlation.


And therefore, it may (or may not) offer one in humans.


If something is "may or may not", then I don't think "therefore" is a valid conclusion.


That's a vapid statement. Everything may or may not be a treatment for any ailment.


Context is important.

The post it replies to says it "may offer a treatment for autism in mice." The not-at-all vapid statement is that one should be cautious in that even if it works in mice, there are many examples where this did not transfer to working for humans.


May offer a treatment for a disease/problem of mice that is poorly know. A problem that mice not necessarily share with humans.


Rather, gut bacteria may affect certain social behaviours in mice.


How this is related to humans?

What is autism in mice in the first place?

What kind of fucking degenerates are "studying" or "modeling" a cross-species "mental" disorder???

On species with an almost unrelated brain structure as a "model"?? What kind of bullshit is this?


> How this is related to humans?

Feel free to experiment on humans first before trying mice.

> What is autism in mice in the first place?

Social behavior, measurable effects you would also use for diagnostics in humans etc.

> What kind of fucking degenerates are "studying" or "modeling" a cross-species "mental" disorder???

People who are smarter than you, obviously.


The American diet has always lacked fermented foods. Once I fixed this, everything started working again.

Now I have to actively avoid Americans that don't understand this. Some have such strong feelings, adverse to trying new things. I've been on the receiving end of lectures many times about how my food is rabbit food. Or it "Doesn't have enough protine."


I thought yogurt was quite popular? Even sauerkraut isn't really uncommon in America. But I struggle to even think what would constitute an "American Diet" unless you're using that to refer to someone who just eats hot dogs and hamburgers.


There is no "American diet" as far as I have experienced. Once you travel around the country you find vastly different eating habits and diets.


A bit off topic but what is the HN consensus on probiotics? Any brands you can recommend?


Probiotics are generally too much of a "magic bullet" -- if you're serious about changing your microbiome, the most effective way is through dietary changes. What you eat is ultimately the vast majority of what your gut microbes consume; high sugar and high starch foods tend to lead to an unhealthy microbiome. Many people avoid grains for this reason as well.

The types of bacteria that thrive in your gut varies depending on what you eat.

High fiber is more likely to result in a healthy balance of gut bacteria. However, if you already suffer from a damaged gut, a high fiber diet can be difficult, so be sure to increase fiber slowly, and with awareness of how it affects your body.

That being said, if you want probiotics, plain whole milk yogurt is the way to go. (If you can handle dairy.) I avoid the bifido type bacteria; though that is for very specific reasons. Acidopholus, l. casei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are all fine, the latter two being the traditional yogurt bacteria.


I asked this question to a gastroenterologist recently and he suggested that people should treat them like medical drugs - don't take them at all if you don't have digestive issues, and if you do have issues, take them with medical guidance to help find one that works for you.

I have mild IBS and had done some exploration prior to asking this question. In my personal experience, the above is definitely true. The wrong probiotic can worsen symptoms or make you feel sick/feverish. But I eventually found one that works for me, I take it daily and it definitely reduces symptoms and makes my gut feel more solid. (I even have data proving this; I ran two three-month data collection periods to test various interventions, quantified symptoms, ran regressions, etc)


My experience so far has been exactly how you describe I feel like I have mild cold when I take it. I have tried three or four brands. Do you mind sharong what you have tried and which one is successful?


I tried 3-4 before finding one that works for me too, but unfortunately I didn't keep track of all of the failures' names. Looking through my rough notes and gmail, I found Now Foods Probiotic-10 and Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus. The one that ultimately did the job was California Gold Nutrition's LactoBif, which you can buy on iHerb and has a surprisingly large volume of positive reviews on the site. I started with the 5B CFU and ramped up to the 30B. Hope that it does something for you as well!



The key quote here being: "[...] Lactobacillus-secreted soluble factors contributed to [...]compromised gut mucosal recovery, highlighting a need of developing aFMT or personalized probiotic approaches achieving mucosal protection without compromising microbiome recolonization in the antibiotics-perturbed host."

They tested only multi-strain probiotics vs "aFMT" (fecal transplant). That is a far cry from saying "probiotics don't work".


They're leaving the door open to them working if you match the right strain with the right person (this is their area of research, of course they would like it to work). But the study provides no support for that.

In contrast, fecal transplants have been shown to be effective for some diseases.


On the advice of my gastroenterologist I am taking them now and so far, so good. Only a couple weeks of experience, however, and a sample size of 1. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say you should definitely get a doctor's recommendation before trying them, but I don't think I'd bother if I weren't specifically targeting relief of some kind of symptom. NIH says they only last as long as you take them so you have to keep it up indefinitely.

Also, I can't even say mine are actually working for me, because my doctor also told me to start taking soluble fiber; that could be my magic bullet. It's a process, I'm still going to be experimenting depending on how the next few weeks go.


It highly depends on what you're trying to change/treat. I recommending searching pubmed and high quality studies for your condition and the specific strains you need. Some strains can make some conditions worse and not better.


I tried them when I had IBD years back and they made it worse


Perhaps a stupid question but can't they run some kind of differential analysis on blood values to find out what could be causing the effect on the brain? (I.e. take blood samples before and after introducing gut bacteria)


The impression I get is the biology is so messy that, even if that passed an ethics committee, they would still have difficulty isolating the stuff they were interested in from other effects they couldn’t control for.

It’s not impossible, but it is very expensive. This is partly why medical tech takes about 10-15 years to go from invention to deployment.


Why would a blood analysis be difficult to get pass an ethics committee? I get the confounding factors bit, but blood analysis seems to be a common practice.


The strain used is specifically:

Lactobacillus reuteri MM4-1A (ATCC-PTA-6475)


Only commercial product I'm finding with this strain is Biogaia Gastrus, but please let me know if anyone locates it in anything else!


I have been using the same for a week for leaky gut and feel better. It also supposedly fights H. pylori (the bacteria associated with stomach ulcers). I think I may have picked up a bad strain of cow bacteria from young cheese such as cottage cheese and casein in overnight protein supplements. I began having IBS symptoms a few years ago but didn't know what they were. I also developed a sensitivity to peanuts around the same time, which may have transferred to legumes and nightshades, which triggered rather severe bouts of acne and tendonitis, which lead me on the journey towards leaky gut and remedying it with a low carb/keto diet. Some other things that have helped are psyllium husk powder and good old fashioned prunes. Today my acne is completely gone and my joint pain is reduced but I have some redness that will probably take months to fade.

I am noticing how important gut health is to overall health as I get older. I feel like maybe children express poor gut health in different ways, for example by asthma, allergies, type II diabetes, acne, ADHD/hyperactivity, autism, etc. It's looking like autoimmune diseases are tied to inflammation in the gut, which is exacerbated by poor western diets saturated with sugar/soy/corn and herbicides/pesticides like glyphosate (Roundup) which disrupt intestinal flora. This is an inconvenient truth for factory farming though so will probably take 5-10 years to show up in the literature and become mainstream knowledge.


... in a mouse model. End of line.


I am incredibly skeptical about these kinds of claims.


I remember reading about how the psychiatrists in Russia, would forcibly place persons with schizophrenia into a situation where they would have to fast for an extended period of time and being a month or longer. Seems like they were on the right theory.


Folks I know were saying this a decade ago. Is this new?


No it's not exactly new, but this study used a widely available strain of bacteria. Additionally, this study seems to dig deeper into the physiology of how the introduced bacteria ameliorates the symtopms of autism (improved ion flow causing social interactions to be more rewarding).


TFA answers your question. "A study just published in Neuron ..."


The whole article is about a study on autistic mice. Except that there's no such thing as an autistic mouse. Trying to apply the diagnosis of autism to a mouse is so beyond ridiculous.


Care to share your reasoning? - the article describes the symptoms in mice that the researchers observe, and it seems like a reasonable place to start. Or do you just prefer to disparage the work of these researchers, without explanation?


Agreed, too many people state things without bothering to prove it. This study may flag people's bullshit meters, but simply stating mice can't be autistic is a poor way to do it.

If anyone can cite research on if mice can develop autism or not I would love to see it.

Edit: there is a study published by Nature mouse models of autism with behavioral genetics. https://www.nature.com/articles/4002082


There is a clear impact of gut bacteria on behavior, that's pretty much all you need to start deriving value from the experiments.


Running this kind of article in a general-audience magazine takes a lot of guts (no pun intended) after all the trouble caused by another article about autism. That was a bogus paper in The Lancet in 1998 published by Wakefield et al. That paper, proven false, asserted a connection between Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and autism.

But the effects of that paper linger on among conspiracy theorists. Let's hope this one doesn't have similar consequences.

Meanwhile, as a guy "on the spectrum" I'm going to try a subjective bioassay of L. reuterii. Can't hurt.


If you have trouble with histamines, watch out. It actually can hurt: https://www.athinkingpatient.com/probiotic-l-reuteri-mast-ce...


Sure, but I think people taking a probiotic is on net, much much much less damaging than people not vaccinating. I think a lot of studies show your gut reject most OTC probiotics or they are DOA and thus don't work.


Which means gut Bacteria may cause autism


Wouldn't all of the autism cure cranks out there have gotten actual results other than dead children if this were true? Digestion and diet have kind of been a fixation for them along with them along with chelation - anything to avoid the heritability elephant in the room.


Diet itself seems pretty heritable, at least for children. Up to a certain age, we generally eat what our parents tell us to, and that is generally pretty similar to what they're eating.


It is environmental however and mutable. Wouldn't that imply that if the then the bad old day practice of 'take the developmentally disabled kid from her mother because she is clearly to blame - and into an institution' would have had a positive impact.

There should be ample opportunities for diet to change even earlier on - incidents that seem like they should add up to documented evidence if there was something there. I mean even with a case with complications like scurvy - the vitamin C couldn't be measured and it was there in fresh food but not most preserved food and why citrus were the examples that could retain it. Of course there was also some astounding utter refusal to learn there.


> Wouldn't all of the autism cure cranks out there have gotten actual results other than dead children if this were true?

Probably not; systematic empirical investigation isn't exactly their thing, so even if their intuition (or deflecfion, depending on how you look at it) was in the right neighborhood (diet and digestion if gut bacteria offer some real help), doesn't make it particularly likely that they’d stumble on to the right thing.


There's no free will :)


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18636478.


I think there is free will, but like most things in life, it is a privilege not everyone has; many people are constrained by invisible shackles. I would wager that evil still exists, but it requires full awareness of what one is doing when perpetrating it, and so it is more rare than we think.

(Of course, this is just an opinion.)


I share a similar philosophy... that free will is choosing between the options we recognize given by our immutable past. Who we are is mostly an accumulation of chance events and responses running on autopilot. Most moments don't matter, some nudge us in different directions, others snowball into defining our eulogies.

Hard work enables us to leverage chance events (if we recognize them) into some probability of success, but the rest is outside of our control. Life is chaotic. We're all just pieces of a big entropy machine.

It's the butterfly effect at scale.


The main counter is you're not choosing when everything is based on the proceeding event with the variables assigned at birth. Nothing is chance when understanding the universe is mechanical in a sense like a clock. Hard work is just a psychological pattern adapted from how you were conditioned with the mindset you developed by fate.


Determinism is an interesting question... we exist at a fascinating scale, in between lower orders significantly influenced by non-deterministic forces and higher orders where determinism seems to prevails.

The chemical reactions driving cellular machinery is influenced by quantum randomness, while astronomical scales seem to be entirely deterministic (though chaotic). For example, radioactive decay influences both DNA replication and planetary orbits (via heat-driven plate tectonics)... but it seems that any randomness is washed out by the sheer volume of matter at the planetary scale.

We sit right in between those orders. Our bodies are an interconnected web of non-deterministic cells cooperating to maintain higher-level order and some approximation of determinism. Obviously I can't say with certainty, but I find free will to be more likely than not.


I think there is no absolute free will. Some are more free than others. Money, mindset, and circumstance heavily influence how free your will is. Some argue you were always going to decide what you were going to decide , unconvincingly to me, but the role of the conscious mind and what it actually is, we are still discovering.


You were fated to fall into that belief by all the preceding events and variables assigned to you at birth. Full awareness in a sense makes you the perfect you. Yet, you became who you are by destiny. Evil does not exist in the sense of understanding everything is metaphorically mechanical. You have to blame the complete system when you view something as evil and which nobody every seems to do.


> I think there is free will ... many people are constrained by invisible shackles

This is a contradiction. "Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will


That's entirely consistent with what I said: many people don't have free will. But free will does exist.


This is an extremely articulate and beautiful perspective. How did you acquire it?


I'm probably gonna get downvotes for appearing to bask in this attention (which I didn't expect).

In this case it's based on a heuristic. I can't at all model human will so it seems reasonable to start with it as infinite (since it's so vast and appears virtually limitless, the very reason I can't model it in the first place) and model in the constraints.

edit: also, I am a Christian and that probably factors into my view subconsciously, although I am certain many non-Christian views would arrive to the same conclusion.


I suspect there's no definition of free will that isn't at least implicitly religious. It seems to me that what most people want free will to be is supernatural - something like a soul that would exempt their identity from being bound to a purely physical universe.


Jansenism emphasized on predestination and is unique in being contrary to all the religions using free will for an alternative expression. Thought it might be worth mentioning because someone might find it interesting.


It's not beautiful because it's wrong and results in people continuing to be under an illusion. The madness that continues around believing people make their own choices and should be punished is the result of this magical thinking which should be eventually classified as a mental illness. Since society hurts people who had no control and when under this horrible belief.


People will do "evil"(as harming allies) if:

1) they are unsustainable (like harming allies) - not sure can be fixed

2) Don't have enough knowledge(broken perception) to do differently.

3) ROI of doing evil is too high.

etc.

Could you point to scenarios where aknowledging non-existence of free will could help us? IMO it doesn't matter.

EDIT: Actually I think that existence of concept of free will is positive because it makes people compute choices better (even assuming free will does't exists and computation is deterministic)


The understanding of free will is an illusion has brought clarity and forgiveness into my life; towards all the persons who wronged me. I became aware to how it would be irrational to seek revenge of some sort against persons who deeply wronged me to disfigurement.

Short summary: I’m transgender and couldn’t transition when needed and to live a life of less pain because of others.

Arareness towards understanding people are who they are without any control brought me to realizing “who the best me would be” in the current situation. A person who cannot blame directly the person who wronged me. I might end my life by suicide though. So the impact of what others did to me was great and I still trumped it.


Of course there is free will: it is a key ingredient in the decision to not be responsible for anything because 'the universe did it'.


Why would that decision require free will?


Because otherwise it would have just been the universe, not doing anything at all.


Correct me if I am wrong, but your argument sounds like: "people can decide that there is no free will, thus it exists". I don't see how the conclusion follows from the premise. Surely one might decide that free will does not exist in a universe where it does not?

Perhaps we have alternative definitions of free will. I believe that whenever I (or anyone else) have made a decision, then rewinding time to the exact moment before the decision will only cause me to make the exact same decision again. I find the idea that I might decide otherwise disturbing.

One might argue that quantum randomness could influence decisions, but I would argue that adding true randomness to an otherwise deterministic system does not make it any more 'free', even if the system stops being deterministic.

I would love to hear how you define the'free' in 'free will', and how its existence follows from your argument.


Free will is an illusion and thus choices don't exist.


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18638141.


There are two points which may appear contradictory but may not be contracditory.

1) People act according to past experience, environment and internal biology. 2) People environment also consist of the knowledge that "For any given situation there are many options and if one looks hard and tries one may choose an appropiate response". If the society emphasize on this aspect a person might be more willing to make a "choice". Of course not everyone will respond the same way to this knowledge.

1) doesn't imply that there is no "choice" and 2) doesn't imply that we are not "programmed" to behave in certain ways. Actually it might be that 2) is helping us to "program" people in certain way.

In the context of "crime and punishment", as we get better at 2) or someother scientific development we can reduce the need for "punishment".

The best analogy I could think of explaining the above language play on mind is following. Say you are training a new chess player to improve the game. You can say one of the two things: 1) For a given board position there are limited options. 2) For a given board position there are many options.

While both being true on thinking deeply they can have different effect on the person. It also matters what we emphasize. For a person thinking less 2) may be better thing to emphasize. For a person thinking lot 1) may be better to emphasize.


People do not make choices. The programming we inherit from society, produces different outcomes because the events are in a linear order and the different orders between persons matter! Everyone seems to not grasp how important "order of knowledge" is when digested and how it will alter the person in comparison to another person who has the same knowledge but in a slightly different order of the linear input system we all share being the brain.

Punishment is the cruelest and most dehumanizing thing in this world by mankind. I view "original sin" being born into humankind "assuming free will" is correct. The barbaric justification for punishment is we will construct a deterrent for other humans. Yet, it's ignoring how we are punishing a person who had no control by "the universe not favoring the person" and resulting in others "being favored by the universe" from punishing the person resulting in deterrent to others. The whole thing is madness because it's the system that is flawed not the individual.


If criminals can't be blamed for their crimes because they had no choice, then by the same reasoning authorities cannot be blamed for punishing them.


Yes and what is your point? We should still try to push humanity further. It's like how people once viewed the world as flat. We need to keep dismantling illusions and get closer to where humanity can be the very best to all.


How can we choose to push humanity further if we can't make choices?


Acknowledging illusion and reality is pushing humanity further. Society is currently structured based on an illusion.


I also feel the Punishment is "cruel" but I am unable to give alternative to society yet. Saints/religion has given some alternative but not everyone follows.


If you assume free will is an illusion, then it would make more sense to treat those who threaten society as faulty machinery and scrap them.

Assuming people can admit and learn from their mistakes means you can focus on rehabilitation and treat them with dignity.


> If you assume free will is an illusion, then it would make more sense to treat those who threaten society as faulty machinery and scrap them.

If you have a system that produces defects, you could continuously scrap them, but you could also just fix the system so it doesn't produce defects.


> ...you could also just fix the system so it doesn't produce defects.

Big if true!


No, it makes more sense to fix the broken system that resulted in the faulty machinery and to fix the faulty person as well. If one cannot fix the person, it doesn't make sense to scrap them if we put humanity at the highest regard with understanding free will is an illusion. We would just have to prevent the person from being able to do the wrong and understand punishment is against humanity in the equation with handling the person.


Wouldn't the choice to fix a broken system require free will not to be an illusion?


Whatever comes is destiny in our reality and when you understand free will is an illusion.. I did not have the ability to a different person and communicate something different today (same as you). Basically the needed events have to occur and similar to anything that humanity adopts as knowledge & way of life.


Not sure what you're trying to say here at all. Apparently you can't keep your extreme position logically coherent.

I agree that the idea of "free will" might have been exaggerated too much especially in the US tradition, and I think people here generally agree. But taking a position of complete denial is likely not sound either. No need replying to everybody trying to defend your point. That in itself is a bit weak.


One sentence is missing a word and I didn’t edit it in time because I took a break.

Basically the gist of it is whatever is destined will occur. However long until the social norms adjust for people to understand & see the illusion of today. How the belief is a substantial impact in how society functions but doesn’t even have any backing such as from science/reason. It’s similar to how the times are shifting of belief towards a god existing and how life must be played out from text associated with the belief. I even compare it to when humans all believed the world is flat. The possibility exists of the time to never come where the majority realizes free will is an illusion but I think contrary because I can understand from my experiences the positives. I can also imagine benefits from the realization of the majority understanding it and how the majority would need to function to still keep humanity as the highest regard.

You cannot take the stance that an illusion is how people in society needs to live under and seem rational to me. Similar to the stance of writing it as “in complete denial” and assuming likelihood. The topics on hacker news that have something to do with free will belief are my favorite because

I enjoy replying to everyone. It was destined for me and with others that reply. The main difference between me & others is probably how I have positive emotions towards the understanding because it made me able to not break in a very low time.


Let's by clear why this is very flawed reasoning.

First, the argument is that if people do not have free will, they have no moral worth, yet society has moral worth. But no reason is given why society, composed of individuals rendered worthless, isn't also rendered worthless.

Secondarily, learning doesn't require free will, as empirally demonstrated by our pitiful machines today.

You have to state your axioms up front, and frankly the "news" of no free will is the greatest carte blanche to redesign morality anyways.


Since when autistic spectrum disorders were redefined and reformulated? They used to be genetic brain structure/biochemistry related disorders with certain impaired social behaviors (which could be diagnosed using DSM) as their symptoms.

How it is possible to "study" anything about human genetic disorders in a such unrelated model as mice, which does not have any cortex and other major areas, including language related one?

Why treatment of the symptoms of unrelated disorder (any poisoning or radical gut disturbance surely affects behavioral patterns) is considered to be related to autism in humans, which has different causes, and manifests itself on a different brain structure and is unrelated to any gut bacteria whatsoever?

Why this crap is considered to be a respectable science?


Diagnosis of autism has never been based on specific genetic or biochemical causes or mechanisms. It is defined by its behavioral symptoms.

> which has different causes, and manifests itself on a different brain structure and is unrelated to any gut bacteria whatsoever

How do you know it has different causes, when the causes of autism have not been enumerated?

> Why this crap is considered to be a respectable science?

I'm glad you don't get to decide. Maybe this will turn out not to have any impact in humans, but why not let the research play out - that's science.


In not so distant past many of weak-minded but talkative, ambitious and narcissistic people could have find their niche in any organized religion. Almost every fancy bullshit, as long as it fits the canon, could be accepted, praised and even rewarded. There were never a shortage of fancy bullshit.

In the current age religions has been obsoleted, but weak-minded "creative" people are still here. So, science became a new religion, especially when it hit the wall of empiricism, a limitation, which has been realized by ancient eastern philosophers (Brahman is unattainable to conditioned intellect which could see nothing, but its conditioning). Modern day's notion of impossibility to break an abstraction barrier (see the wiring of a processor from the level of code) is the very same notion reformulated.

Every bizarre bullshit could be framed as a hypothesis and published, giving a high social status of "theoretical researches" to its authors (instead of much more appropriate status of talkative idiots). It is due to social status, similar to those of a monk in medieval ages, which one's parents could buy for their children by paying them through a costly elite religious school. Nothing new under the moon.

I personally prefer to see those disconnected from reality academics, who gave advice to Macron (based on disconnected from reality abstract notions) to tax the population to combat climate change, to be held accountable for all the damages caused by resulting riots and being forced to pay for their ignorant arrogance, but this will never happen, because academics are allowed to produce bullshit labeled as working hypothesis. The rest of us aren't.

More

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: