Archives for: December 2005
My friend gave me an interesting gift this holiday season: A 'Buddha Machine,' a transistor radio-sized device with a loudspeaker which plays ambient-ish music. The Buddha Machine is a hardware loop player, built kind of like a little AM radio, playing 9 different built-in loops on an endless cycle, with one simple button allowing you to fade between them. It was inspired by a popular Buddhist accessory, a small portable device they sometimes carry that when activated plays a musical chant to pray along with, such as the 'Refuge Prayer', hence the name. It sells for about $25 USD, with batteries, which at least partially explains why it is so cheaply manufactured. It is available on the internet from a variety of outlets.
The nine loops are available to download for free from this site. They are tiny .mp3 files, so you can right-click on each of them, select 'Save Target As' and save them to your desktop. If you have iTunes, which you can also download for free, you can make a playlist and have your own virtual Buddha Machine.
The sounds themselves have nothing to do with Buddhism; they're just quite and restful.
Received a few '2006 Lectin Calendars' from one of the lectin chemical manufacturers. They are rather nice, a 2006 calender of big, beautiful pinup shots of all the BTD avoids.
In clicking on the link today, I saw this story highlighted from the NY Times:
"Despite promising discoveries and multibillion-dollar investments, cancer research is quietly undergoing a crisis. Few drugs are being marketed, and most of those that have been introduced are enormously expensive and provide few of the benefits that patients expect. Officials of the Food and Drug Administration suggest that the failures may result from an obsolete testing system.â€?
Any adult with half a brain could have, and probably already has, arrived at the same conclusion. We are in a scientific quagmire of our own design.
"Although every field has suffered, cancer has had the greatest chasm between hope and reality. One in 20 prospective cancer cures used in human tests reaches the market, the worst record of any medical category. Among those that gained approval in the last 20 years, fewer than one in five have been shown to extend lives, life extensions usually measured in weeks or months, not years.â€?
"True cancer cures are still exceptionally rare. Medicines have been approved for colorectal cancer. Patients who take every one of the high-tech drugs has to spend, on average, $250,000, suffer serious side effects and gain, on average, months of life, according to studies.â€?
Here's another interesting fact: There has not been a significant new development in antibiotic therapy in over two decades, yet we have probably over twenty different drugs that your doctor can prescribe to lower your cholesterol.
Ever wonder why?
Well, it is simple math. Getting a pharmaceutical house interested in researching a drug that people take for a week is less likely to excite the in-house accountants than a drug that people take for the rest of their lives.
Add to that the increasing drug resistance seen to virtually all antibiotics and we have a formula for disaster. Thirty years ago, I remember Dr. Bastyr turning to me during a clinic shift and muttering that '"these things are not going to work forever" after we had examined a child who was on his seventh different antibiotic for a slew of ear infections.
In my early years of practice, I worked with Dr. Jules Harran, an archetypical kindly Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood MD, who often regaled me with stories of his medical years in the army during World War II. Dr. Jules was fond of recounting how 10,000 units of penicillin would completely erradicate a case of venereal disease back then, compared to the often ineffectual doses of over several million units used nowadays.
Natural product research? Forget about it. Going nowhere. As one Drug Company researcher told me in a blunt aside during a conference at which we both were presenting: "We're not interesting in things people can grow on their window boxes.â€?
The harsh reality is that in current day dynamics, doctors prescribe drugs developed by the pharmaceutical interests based upon sophisticated market analysis, and which have their path to market cleared by pharmaceutical insiders that flit back and forth between jobs at the drug companies, academia and the federal regulatory agencies. This is then parsed to the insurance interests, who bestow further scientific credibility by agreeing to pay for the whole thing.
Reminds me of a quote from the famous English artist William Hogarth:
"The sad thing about the ancient physicians is that they attempted to make medicine an art and failed; but the even sadder thing about our modern physicians is that they have attempted to make medicine a business, and have apparently succeeded."
Received my complementary copy of the Textbook Of Natural Medicine edited by my friend and mentor, Dr.Joseph Pizzorno. It was a real treat to see how well the new chapter on the Non Transfusion Significance of Blood Type (that I authored for this new edition of the Textbook) looks on real paper. I'm very happy with the information, which is clear and up to date. As far as I know the only new information on blood types that did not make this article was the association reported between blood types and p-glycoprotein that I had written about in an earlier blog. If you work with natural medicines, or just want the most authoritative reference work on the subject, you'll probably want to invest in a copy of the Textbook.
Hey, today is the winter solstice, first day of winter, at least for all of us on the upper half of the planet. Enjoy the next few days, in whatever manner works for you!
Yes, I know, it's been a long, long, time since a new blog entry darkened these pages. I'm going to take the easy way out and ascribe my lack of verbal productivity to the simple fact that there is just not enough time during the rotation cycle of this planet to get everything done.
For the last month (or more exactly, since I finished The Determinator) I've been hard at work on SWAMI. It's been a sort of three legged race, one step forward, two back; certainly an argument for â€˜non-intelligent design.' As I start one section, my thoughts turn to some new function that would be cool to implement, which then sends me packing to the programmer textbooks and websites, which betray new capabilities, that then illustrate to me that my original design thoughts could have been better.
However, I must say that the software is very, very cool. We've been using beta-versions of it in the office and the patients have really liked it. Image all your specifics (Body Mass Index, Basal Metabolic Rate, Family History and Lab Values) and a whole slew of new criteria (biometrics) mixed into a bouillabaisse of information points and then set loose on huge tables of data. It is as if you bought a magic, Harry Potter version of Eat Right 4 Your Type where every page was written only for you --no doubt a dream come true for those thousands of readers who have told me over the years that they never read any parts of my books other than the section that pertains to their blood type.
I suspect that the software will be available to IfHI folks by year-end.
Interestingly, building the SWAMI engine has helped bring the material for The Genotype Diet into focus, since if you look at the SWAMI Engine as information going from intake screen to report, the Genotype Engine is just the information going the other way.
I continue to train vigorously. Right now I am working on a part of a very long hyung (form) that features the most vile, ego-dissolving series of moves. At the start of the sequence you raise your left arm into a high block while simultaneously lifting you hip and rotating it so that from the knee down the leg is parallel with the ground. You are actually doing this as a knee kick, so it must be done fast, which certainly does nothing for your balance.
But wait, it gets better. So now as your arm moves from above your head to being outstretched and your hip is rotated with your lower leg sideways at about hip level, you spin on the rapidly wearying right standing leg 180 degrees, and jump into the air as you execute a outside-inside crescent kick to the now-outstretched left hand.
Then you do the whole thing from the other side.
Perhaps the coolest thing about working on these moves is that I developed an appreciation of how ice skaters use moving their center of balance inward as a way to initiate and maintain a spin.
They say that Hwang Kee, the founder of this discipline, used to amuse his friends by jumping over the dinner table from a standing position. From photos it seems Master Hwang was about 5 feet tall and probably 98 pounds soaking wet. A 6 foot, three inch Spanish-Italian Meso-Ectomorph would probably be far less amusing at this; especially if you were hungry.
Took the family to Brooklyn last weekend. It's about a two hour ride from Connecticut, and the last hour is on the rapidly dissolving New York City infrastructure, which, if you spend any time away from it, leaves you completely unprepared for just who narrow and crumbly the NYC roads are.
I had a thoughtful time, visiting areas of my youth, though I doubt my kids cared much about whether this or that stretch of woods was where I used to catch butterflies, or which catering hall used to be a police station. They did appreciate a trip to perhaps the best designer outlet store in the city, Century 21 Stores.
Then we schlepped to Rudy Guiliani's favorite restaurant, Gargiulos in Coney Island, where I overdosed on the garlic and broccoli rabe. I did not jump over the table, which considering the clientÃ¨le, was probably good for my health on a lot of different levels.
Anyway, gotta go. But before I do, let me wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, with all the enjoyment that comes from taking a minute to contemplate what great gifts life, health, and family afford us.
I promise to write more regularly. Really.