Archives for: August 2006
An associate of mine, an amateur skeptic with professional zeal, says that without telling me he was acting on my recommendation to look into the Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type books, found that Dr. D'Adamo denies wheat to all four blood types in his recommendations, a little feature I hadn't picked up on. "Therefore, he's just another quack, and can be disregarded." While even if the 4-type denial is true, which I haven't checked out for myself yet, having just had this conversation, I feel a little more sympathy for it, being someone with celiac sprue. My associate, however, won't admit he has psoriasis! He said if I used that word again in talking with him, he would never communicate with me again. I was hoping to edge him toward some empirical improvement with the blood type diet, but that was ended by the hammer-fall of his judgment, at least for the present. -Peter
I'd have your friend check the book again. His calculations are off.
If we look at whole wheat
Total incidence of type A secretors = 34.2%
Total incidence of type AB secretors = 1.7%
Total percentage of the population in which whole wheat is at least 'neutral' is 36%
If we look at spelt wheat
To find the total percentage of the population in which spelt wheat is a least 'neutral' (an avoid only for type O non-secretors; about 8% of the population) is even easier. Spelt has a higher mucopolysaccharide and lower gluten content that whole wheat, which may help modulate its pro-inflammatory proteins a bit, I think.
Subtracting that serotype leaves about 92% of the population (perhaps; there are other possible reasons against) who can use spelt type wheat.
However, these numbers may be optimistic: evidence suggests that our sensitivity to gluten containing foods is on the rise.
I think we will see many possible correlations between the diseases of industrialized society (such as diabetes and obesity) and their current wheat and corn based diets.
I have happened across a book I think will be of interest to you. Have never seen a reference to this on the message board. It's called 'Eat to Live', by Joel Fuhrman M.D. The book is on diet and weight loss but has a 7 page piece - critique of the BTD. At least this guy did a bit of research. -Thanks Bruce.
Maybe you should bring it up on the Forums and see what kind of discussion ensues.
I've don't know Dr. Fuhrman and have not come across his name in any of the research areas of biology and genetics that I study. I'd like to see him stick to his own projects rather than find the time to inveigle his readers with tales and criticisms of his competitors.
There was a wonderful TV program on Isaac Newton the other night. It seemed (at least to me) that every time Newton announced a new discovery --the polychromatic nature of light, the reflecting telescope, Calculus-- this other guy (whose name I forgot) would write a critique simultaneously claiming that Newton was wrong and he that had discovered this earlier anyway. Newton apparently got seriously bent out of shape by these types of shenanigans.
Stephen Jay Gould had an interesting take on this, as part of a response to criticisms of his theory of 'Punctuated Equilibrium' (1):
THE MOST UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL. If none of the foregoing charges can bear scrutiny, strategists of personal denigration still hold an old and conventional tactic in reserve: they can proclaim a despised theory both trivial and devoid of content. This charge is so distasteful to any intellectual that one might wonder why detractors don't try such a tactic more often, and right up front at the outset. But I think we can identify a solution: the "triviality caper" tends to backfire and to hoist a critic with his own petardâ€”for if the idea you hate is so trivial, then why bother to refute it with such intensity? Leave the idea strictly alone and it will surely go away all by itself. Why fulminate against tongue piercing, goldfish swallowing, skateboarding, or any other transient fad with no possible staying power?
Gerhard Uhlenbruck, one of our IfHI speakers, says it differently:
Never chase a lie. Let it alone, and it will run itself to death.(2)
I have my own aphorism to add:
Negative reviews of popular diet books are too often found inside of other popular diet books.
I'm actually flattered that someone would go to the trouble of writing a seven page refutation of my theory. However, I don't have the time or energy to write a seven page reponse, so this must do.
But finally, I leave you with the words of my Tang Soo Do Sa Bom:
You want to show me something you've read? Great. Get out there on the floor and show me.
(1) Stephen Gould 'The Structure of Evolutionary Thinking' (2002) Belknap, Harvard Unveristy Press.
I like to read history and I'm fascinated by immunology, so how cool is it when you get a book as a gift entitled The History of Immunology?
Arthur M. Silverstein's meaty little volume for Academic Press (1989) does a very nice job of taking the reader through the myriad of ancient, medieval and renaissance concepts of immunity, including the Hippocratic and Aristocratic 'humors'; the very astute observations about smallpox by the Islamic physician Rhazes; iatrophysics and much more. I was surprised to discover that Cotton Mather, well know inquisitor of witchcraft in colonial New England, was an avid reader of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London and very much up to date with Jenner's discoveries about the ability to immunize against smallpox with the milder cow pox organism.
On Rhazes' observations, it's surprising (if still largely unknown) that the 9th and 10th century Muslim world was the scientific powerhouse of the day, producing profound discoveries in anatomy, pharmacology and physiology (often in concert and synergy with Jewish intellectuals) at a time when Northern Europeans were still crouched around smokey fires in mud hovels. Hopefully, one of these days, the current anti-intellectualism fad will give way to a reawakening of these latent talents.
And finally, how the debates between the 'cellularists' and the 'humorists' divided along nationality (French versus German) in the quiescent period between France's humiliation at the end of the Franco-Prussian War and their repayment of the favor in 1919 with the Treaty of Versailles. "It is worth noting", wrote Otto von Bismarck after the Franco-Prussion War, "That a generation that receives a beating is almost always followed by a generation that gives one."
A fact seemingly lost on many of today's political leaders..
The German camp, led by such famous scientists as Robert Koch and Rudolph Virchow, favored the 'cellular' theory i.e, the white blood cells munch up all the bad guys. Their observations eventually became the basis of Cell Mediated Immunity The 'humorists', mostly French and led by Metchnikoff and Pasteur, viewed the serum factors as being decisive, and their observations eventually became the basic of Humoral Immunity.
So they were both right.
Yet it tells much about the respective variations in national conciousness at the time. The Germans tended to view the immunological battle field as a mano-a-mano 'Test Of Will'. Us against them. The inevitable struggle. The more policemen the better. The French, on the other hand, tended to see things in terms of milieu: fixable with a change of wallpaper or a fresh coat of paint.
There are many more arguments ahead in upcoming chapters; for example whether antibodies bound one antigen (monovalent) or two (bivalent). These guys almost always had 3-4 different possible ways something could happen, and definitely enjoyed tearing into each other!
Sort of like Vanity Fair for the Nobel Prize set.
The AMA seems to be at it again. Despite their near monopoly on health care funding and their protests that they have no interest in combating other healing arts, new legislation being proposed make it amply clear that they are willing to risk possible restraint of trade problems in an attempt to limit the scope of practice of non-MD health care providers such as chiropractors, naturopaths, psychologists, nurses and acupuncturists.
The Health Care Truth and Transparency Act would make it illegal for any licensed health care provider who is not a medical doctor (MD), doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO), doctor of dental surgery (DDS) or doctor of dental medicine (DDM) to make any statement or engage in any act that would lead patients or the public to believe that they have the same or equivalent education, skills or training as an MD, DO, DDS, or DDM.
Now, I'll be the first to agree that I've met a few wacky naturopaths and chiropractors in my time. I've also met a few MDs, dentists and osteopaths who were even crazier and more dangerous than even the nuttiest naturopath. I'll even agree that naturopaths don't have the same education as MDs --NDs have more clinical nutrition training, for one, while MDs typically receive more surgical and emergency room training. So what benefit would there be in drawing specific conclusions about a single individual from the particular letters after their name?
On June 27, representatives John Sullivan (R-OK), Charles Bass, (R-NH), Michael Bilirakis, (R-FL), Michael Burgess, (R-TX), Joe Shwarz, MD (R-MI) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced in the House the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2006, (H.R.5688). This proposal is a direct result of the AMA efforts to limit scopes of practice for health care providers who are not medical doctors. You want to contact your representatives and request that they limit any serious consideration of this misguided legislation.
Truth is a funny thing, as Pontius Pilate once noted. We should be wary when professional and governmental institutions purport to wrap themselves up in it.
The last week has been quite hot and humid over here at D'Adamo World Headquarters. We've finally put in a â€˜deer-proof' fence around a bit of the property, so for the first time since we've moved here (perhaps a decade or so) I can plunk in a few plants and not be forced to view a scene of desolation and carnage the next morning. Apparently from a low of 27 in 1939, the number of deer in Connecticut has now risen to somewhere between one and two million, which is not surprising considering that their natural predator, the wolf, is long gone and the state is full of yummy suburban yards full of tasty treats.
We've put in a variety of things, which I hope to add to over the season. One plant I always try to use is Baptisia tinctoralis (Wild Indigo) which grows well, if slowly in these parts. Baptisia has always interested me in a medical manner, having many immuno-stimulatory polysaccharides, and a few fascinating alkaloids as well. It is one of the few natural products that are known to stimulate the anti-T (Thomsen-Freidenreich) antibody, which may help explain its long use in traditional medicine for the treatment of cancer.
Interestingly, Georg Springer's anti-T vaccine was partly composed of the typhoid vaccine; he felt that it amplified the effect of the other components. Baptisia has a long history of use by many cultures for treating typhoid fever.
The British Naturopathic Association had an editorial on the Blood Type Diet Theory. You can read it here, including an afterpiece by Tom Greenfield. The article is pretty flaccid and tries to be humorous, but I wonder about the appropriateness of editorializing about â€˜things' in a medical journal. Typically, medical journals editorialize about the results of research included in that issue, and often only to speculate on what further conclusions may be drawn from it. The major gripe the author seems to have is that Red Clover, another plant I'm going to plunk in my garden, is an â€˜avoid' for everyone. But that is only to keep it out of the hands of people who don't know how to use it. Hey guys! Knock! Knock!
However, I do think that the British naturopaths (by-and-large) â€˜get it' when it comes to the essence of what all this â€˜polymorphism stuff' means to the practitioner. A lot of the US naturopaths are still incredulous that one of their number could possibly come up with a discovery --the significance of which, if correct-- would have wide and far-reaching implications. Others think everyone should just be vegan and that would solve everything.
Typically when it arrives, like all medical folk, they then trip over themselves so as to not be â€˜the last.'
As I wrote on the Forums, a lot of ND's have the opposite of the â€˜not invented here syndrome,' which is the â€˜I can't believe it was invented here syndrome.'
In both cases, considering the enormous amount of woo-hoo, mumbo-jumbo fantasy that masquerades for â€˜cutting edge' alternative treatments and devices (if my office mail slot is to be believed) it certainly can't be the lack of science that is holding them back. If ideas, as Schopenhauer observed, do go through three phases (ridicule, rejection, acceptance) then we've still got some time. Unfortunately, often by the time you get to the â€˜acceptance' stage, all the fun has been sucked out of things.
Research-wise, this has been a busy week.
Traded emails with Dr. Linda Kim, whose with the Southwest College Research Department over the last two weeks. The microbial adhesion study and the clinical trial of blood type and endothelial dysfunction are on schedule and within budget. Enrollment will be completed for the clinical trial by 7/31 and experiments completed for the adhesion study by 9/30.
Had a wonderful meeting with Dr. Carlo Calabrese and Dr. Heather Zwickey over at the Helfgott Research Institute, which is associated with the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. We're hoping to develop a series of studies that can test the BTD across a variety of conditions and parameters. What is great about working with Carlo --whom I've know for decades-- is that he attracts the very best thinkers, and so much of the work with blood groups (which are really genes when you think of it) is high level math and statistics, and area in which I am not all that muscular.
Someone wrote me that the BTD was discussed in a book called "The Chemistry of Joyâ€?. I've not heard of it, but it's got a heck of a title.
Unless you happen to be named Joy.