Archives for: March 2008
I’ve recently begun to notice that some mornings I get a rash on both cheekbones. It goes away in about a day, so I never thought much about it. Martha changed the detergent that we use on the bed sheets, but that had no real effect. I though it might be related to putting my hands on my face (since I write computer code in the AM and often prop my chin on my hand when debugging lines of code). But changing my 'pensive posture' had no effect either.
The last few nights I’ve crashed on the sofa in the den since I’ve been trying to catch up on the wonderful HBO series on John Adams. Surprisingly, these few nights, despite sleeping propped up on the most uncomfortable throw pillows imaginable, produced no rash. However this last night Martha came out and gave me one of the bedroom pillows. Next morning, alas, the rash was back. This got me thinking that something was in these pillows, or I just don’t get along with the pillow covers.
So off we went to Linens N’ Things, a franchise full of extraneous stuff you can buy for your house. I picked up a few hypoallergenic pillows (the old ones were down) and some new covers. The pillow covers had a few interesting, if unsettling facts included with the label:
- Your mattress will double in weight every ten years from dust mites and their droppings.
- 10% of the weight of a two-year-old pillow is composed of dust mites and their droppings.
Household dust, by the way, is a mainly human skin cells that have sloughed off. It is estimated that the entire outer layer of skin is shed every day or two at a rate of 7 million skin flakes per minute. Tests of indoor environmental dust in homes and offices have shown it to be primarily (70-90%) composed of skin flakes.
Tried the new pillows last night and so far no rash.
While at Linens N’ Things my daughter Emily and I played our new game which we call “Try To Find Something In The Store Not Made In China.’ It took a while but eventually I found a chopping block that was made in the U.S. Virtually 90% of the stock of this store was stuff ‘Made In China’. I’m told that the percentage in Wal-Mart is even higher.
Now, I have nothing personal against the Chinese, but I do not like the long-term significance of this trend. We in the US are being lulled and seduced into over-purchasing inexpensive goods from China, which destroy our local industries, increase credit card debt, and send our currency over there. Since the Chinese are not terribly interested in American products, they send the money back here in the form of business loans, many of which fronted the now collapsing home mortgage market.
I remember laughing in history class at how the local Indians sold Manhattan to the Dutch for $24 worth of mirrors and glass beads. Yet we're doing the same thing; the only difference being the substitution of modern day equivalents; plasma TV screens and vibrating recliners.
On top of it all, China is still as repressive a government as it ever was. There is no true freedom of speech, and rural workers are almost considered second-class citizens. Never mind what they are doing in Tibet right now and that their policy in Darfur is cynical beyond belief. Add the recent heparin scare and the mercury and lead in the painted toys and I'm thinking 'hey, this system does not need to be rewarded.'
So I’ve adopted what I call my 'New Organic' policy: Just like I am willing to pay a bit more to feed my family organic produce, I am now also willing to pay more to clothe my family in goods made in other countries besides China. I will pass up on the need to purchase George Foreman Grills, Fabreeze Room Fresheners and resin lawn furniture unless I can find products that are made by the inhabitants of democratic countries with decent human rights policies, ethical manufacturing standards and proper environmental responsibilities.
Yes, there will be less things in my life, but maybe that is the real hidden benefit of it all.
Despite numerous attempts by many people to let Dr. Andrew Weil know that his traditional criticisms of the Blood Type Diet have no basis in fact, he still insists on peddling his absurd take on my work. In a recent interview for a Canadian website, Weil repeats the same criticisms he has used for the last ten years --despite the fact that they are as inaccurate and ignorant of the basic facts now as they were a decade ago.
Among other things, Dr. Weil says:
This is nonsense. I know of no evidence suggesting that prehistoric people ate diets related to their blood types. The studies D'Adamo cites have been published only by him and not in any scientific journals. By the way, dogs and other animals have blood types similar to those of humans. It would come as unwelcome news to some dogs that they should be vegetarians.
This tone suggests to me that Dr. Weil has not actually read any of my books. Nor does he appear to know the difference between choice and adaptation.
I've never suggested that prehistoric people ate diets according to their blood types. No doubt they should have, but how would they have known? The blood groups were not discovered until 1900.
I have suggested that the variations in our different digestive physiologies stem from adaptations over time to changes in diet that were in part coded by the immunology that governs the gut. And that this immunology is significantly under the influence of ABO blood type.
Dr. Weil avoids or just plain neglects the physiologic links between digestion and ABO blood types. This lets him parody my theory as some sort of 'caveman-fiction.' The effects of secretor status on immune and metabolic function; the connection between lectins and allergies; the influence of blood type on intestinal enzymes; links between stomach hydrochloric acid levels and gut bacteria; the fact that the very foods we eat have 'blood types' --all of this receives no mention.
These findings and facts are part of over 7,000 peer-reviewed studies on blood groups published in the medical literature over the last century. Now, I know that allopathic (MD) education does not teach any of this, so I don't blame Weil for being initially uninformed. Everyone has got to start somewhere. However he does not exhibit any curiosity on the subject nor a desire to investigate it any further. If he'd have contacted me, I'd have probably shared them with him. Instead we're left with the rather smug assumption that since he's never heard of any of this, it must not exist.*
Folks, that is an attitude that they usually do teach you in allopathic medical school.
I've always gotten a kick out of his "Well, animals don't eat right for their type" argument. If he knew the species genetics of ABO blood groups he might be surprised to learn that the ABO gene locus resides on different chromosomes in the various species. In hogs for example, having type O blood gives you a full coat of black hair. By Dr. Weil's account, every human who is type O blood should also have black hair. Dogs, by the way, are a very cancer prone species, and do fare much better on something other than an exclusively carnivorous diet.
The late Arthur C Clarke said it best in his First Rule of Scientific Prediction:
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
* Dean Ornish repeats a similar mantra to audiences that he is 'unaware of any studies linking heart disease to blood types', when even the most cursory of searches on MEDLINE would show 200+ articles since 1966 (and probably over 300 from 1950).
I'm almost done with the clinician implementation of the SWAMI GenoType package. I think it is very good.
I'm sure that there will be some debugging ahead, but we've been using it in the clinic and so far it appears to be quite stable. Beyond that, I just have to write the User Manual and the Admin Guide. If you are using nutrition in you clinical practice, you may want to incorporate this software. For more information, you can click here.
Now, I like writing computer code, but even I'm getting a bit burned out on the thing. I'm looking forward to getting some cycling time in, though the weather has not been all that cooperative.
Dr. Natalie and I just did up a new clinic newsletter. You can read it here.
Greetings from beautiful Beverly Hills.
I'm in Los Angeles to attend the West Coast Convention of the Natural Products Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. I'll be at the Nutribooks booth signing copies of The GenoType Diet.
The plan is to do the signing, then high tail it to the airport to catch the 'red eye' back east to make it home in time for Martha's birthday. I'd like to explore the area in more detail (especially the Hollywood Hills and the Canyons) but that will wait until we come back as a family.
I'm at the Beverly Hills Hilton, a rather nice hotel which has gone through a bit of a renovation. What I like about Southern California is just how easy it is to eat fresh and healthy out here. Yesterday for lunch I had a huge salad with grilled turkey. Very nice! I was so stuffed that I just skipped dinner and used the time to catch up on some well needed sleep. After my lovely lunch I went for a long walk along Santa Monica Boulevard towards Rodeo Drive. Amazing collection of crazy drivers driving amazingly wonderful cars.
Just received an email from my agent. Out of the top twenty-five diet book bestsellers on Amazon.com, five are written by me, including Eat Right For Your Type (#1) The GenoType Diet (#7) The Blood Type Encyclopedia (#15) The Type O Food Guide (#17) and The Type A Food Guide (#19).
I'm glad that people are reading the Encyclopedia. I think it is a good book. Live Right For Your Type is not on the list which is surprising --since many, many people tell me that they consider it the best book of the Blood Type Diet series. No matter, I'm pleased and humbled.
My new infatuation is road cycling. It appeals to me on many levels: It is a mostly solitary pursuit; it has lots of 'guy stuff' (technical things like this pedal cleat system versus that); and my long legs give me a lot of kicking power. Unfortunately it's been rather cold around here, so I've not done as much cycling as I would have liked.
Back soon with something substantive.
What does The GenoType Diet, Sudoku, and musical harmonics have in common? They are all based on matrix relationships; tables (really arrays) in which the constituents relate to each other in particular ways.
Many years ago, I took a summer course in computer music composition with Charles Dodge. Dodge, primarily known for a piece he created out of the Earth's magnetic field, was a gifted and supportive teacher, who in no short time clued me into the fact that I was no composer, but rather something that he termed a 'musical systems pre-programmer.' In short, the guy who wrote the programs that composers used to make music.
One of the things he was working on that I found especially fascinating was a concept that he called 'harmonic foldover', the idea that at certain points the sonorities ('resonance') of certain base frequencies could be manipulated to produce new harmonics, which would be created a precise intervals.
One of the most striking things that you hear when people talk about foods and diets, is who often they express their preference in musical terms.
"I try to eat in harmony with my local agriculture."
"I'm really in tune with this diet."
"A high protein diet really resonates with me. I can feel more balanced."
Working on the GTD food choices, I often reminisced about Dodge's theories. Although I've long forgotten his exact modus operandi I suspected that one could do this by using a series of mathematical tools called linear transformations, especially what are called Fourier transformations. Any example of a Fourier transformation would be to split up a radio frequency into its more basic fundamentals. Most of these functions work on matrices, not terribly different than those found in any Sudoku puzzle.
Here is a Latin Square, a matrix where each number occurs exactly once in each row and exactly once in each column.
The early Chinese mathematicians also had something called "Magic Square' which did something similar.
Again, art mimics life.
Fast Fourier transformations of matrix data are useful for many things, from the symmetry analysis of numbers and determining trajectories of comets. Because matrix data falls into the realm of linear algebra, transformations of the data always leave behind parts which have not been changed, the direction of the change, and how much change has occurred. These are called the Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors of the transformation. I love Eigenvalues, because they so easily plug into the multivariate characterizations that comprise the GenoTypes.
Now for the mimic part: 'Matrix' is derived from the Latin word matrices for 'womb'. Embryos are interested in symmetry, since it is an index of stability in their developmental environment and subsequent fitness. And, it would not be unkind to describe your journey through life from birth on as a type of epigenetic trajectory.
'All that openeth the matrix is mine.' --Ex. xxxiv. 19.
With this type of analysis, I can see that the future development of The GenoType Diet system will occur by way of food relationships, not individual foods. Put a live food, a piece of fish and a carbohydrate into that Latin Square and you will see what I mean*.
I described it at a recent working lunch for the NAP folks as 'visiting a deep cavern, having a normal conversation and soon realizing that all the words, their tones and inflections were blending into a constant drone of overtones as echoes and reverberations of each prior word are added to the base sound ---but a drone that is as identifiable as the voices of the people speaking. Now imagine that by being able to hear that sound, you could add more words and noises to make the overtone more pleasing and enjoyable.
That would be Geno Harmony.
* And maybe also see why the GTD products have names like 'Activator' and "Catalyst'.
2. A recent blog entry features this statement:
Frankly, I'm finding that naturopathic education is still leaving a lot to be desired (amazingly, they don't teach nutrigenomics; have one class each in genetics and immunology; and do not learn any statistics or bioinformantics). I know that there are the â€˜nuts and bolts' to teach, such as the anatomy and physiology, but it is surprising just how little space these students have for the real aspects of naturopathic practice, since they are so busy learning and memorizing a lot of things which will allow them to pass a board exam, but could more easily be simply looked up while in practice.
Which caused some upset with one of the clinic interns, who felt that this might give the impression that the education that they are receiving is not up to standard. I know my tone was a bit harsh, and I do apologize for that.
But like Laurie Anderson once said, "It is not the bullet that kills you; it's the hole."
I don't think naturopathic education is sub-standard. Far from it. NDs graduating from CNME approved schools are very highly trained medical professionals. My gripe (and it is only my opinion) is that the education is insufficiently non-standard, and perhaps unnecessarily formalized. But one should not take these things too far. Decrying and dissecting your education is the official national pastime of naturopathic medicine.
The John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine, graduating class of 1982.