It would be nice if all the type O’s lived in one part of the world, and all the type A’s in another. However, this does not happen --much. The various blood groups are found pretty much all over the world. However they are not found in the same frequency everywhere. It was this difference in the frequency of the different blood types that gave the early blood type detectives their first insights into human individuality.
Soon after the ABO blood groups were discovered by Karl Landsteiner in the early 1900’s, scientists began to think about using them as a tool to help study the differences between populations. One of the first to begin using blood type in this manner was a husband and wife team, Ludwik and Hanka Hirszfeld. During World War I, they took blood samples from the soldiers of three continents then assembled in the area of Greece called Macedonia as “The Allied Army of the East.” In reality this army was a hodgepodge of battered contingents and survivors from various Allied nations which did little more than stay put in camp and suffer from constant epidemics. However the Hirszfelds realized that the international nature of this army presented opportunities of examining the serological properties of the blood of a large number of soldiers or civilians belonging to very different races.
They established three categories: One marked by a high percentage of subjects of blood type A and a low percentage of blood type B and which seemed to include the majority of European races (European type); A second showing on the contrary a high percentage of blood type B and a low one of blood type A, comprising Asians and Ethiopians (Asian-African type); and a last category containing approximately equal quantities of blood types A and B made up of Russians, Turks, Arabs and Jews, which they called an intermediate type.
The Hirszfelds invented an interesting and useful tool called the Hirszfeld Biochemical Index and which conveniently lets us express the ratio of blood group A to B in any population. The formula is very simple; you add up the number of blood type A and AB individuals in a population and then divide it by the number of blood type B and AB individuals. As so:
Hirszfeld Biochemical Index = [A + AB] /[B + AB]
Thus, the higher the Hirszfeld Biochemical Index of a population, the more blood type A people in that population over blood type B people in it; the lower, the more blood type B over A. The highest number in the Hirszfeld Biochemical Index (most As, least Bs) was found among the English troops (4.5); the lowest (most Bs, least As) were found in the Indian (0.5) and Vietnamese troops (0.8).
The work of the Hirszfelds would look crude in comparison to later, more sophisticated methods, and it suffers from the problems of all single-gene examinations of human diversity, that is there a no “pure races” to be identified by a single marker. But their discovery, published in 1919, did give rise to a considerable number of subsequent investigations, producing an enormous mass of documents of varying merit.
The arrival of blood typing signaled a new era in physical anthropology, since up to now the field had been limited to many of the physical measurements that I’ve previously described. Here now was a serologic, or blood marker, simple and easy to perform.
One of the first to begin using blood types as an anthropological tool was none other than William Boyd, who I’ve mentioned early in connection with the debunking of racism. In the years after the First World War, Boyd compiled the abundant blood group data coming from transfusion centers throughout the world. With his wife Lyle, during the 1930's, Boyd made a worldwide survey of the distribution of blood types. On this basis, he divided the world population into 13 geographically distinct races with different blood group genetic profiles. He also studied the blood groups of Egyptian and Amerindian mummies.
William Boyd appears to be one of those fascinating people who go on to dominate an entire area of research for a generation. It seems as if his creativity knew no bounds: I’ve already mentioned of his important work with Isaac Asimov used his work with blood types in Races and People to demolish the racist notions then commonly believed in this country during the 1950's; and here we are discussing his work on blood types and anthropology. But William Boyd accomplished much, much more than that. In the 1940’s Boyd noticed that the protein agglutinin in lima bean would agglutinate red cells of human blood type A but not those of O or B; he had in fact discovered that many of the of these blood agglutinins were actually specific to one blood type or another. With Elizabeth Shapely he coined their modern-day name; lectins which is Latin for “to pick or choose.”
Boyd wrote some excellent science fiction (under the name Boyd Ellanby) including two well-known books, 'Category Phoenix' in 1952 and 'Chain Reaction' in 1956. He also authored the Fundamentals of Immunology, one of the first Immunology textbooks for medical students.
By 1950 Boyd had determined about 20 genes for outward appearance traits that are recessive for typical Asians and/or Europeans but homozygous dominant for Africans. These recessive genes include the 6 to 8 genes for light skin color, the genes for blue eyes, gray eyes, blond hair, red hair, thin lips, straight hair, sacral spot, lack of facial hair (beards), narrow nose shape, and some others.
After the Second World War, William Boyd's baton as compiler of blood group data from around the world passed to the Englishman Arthur E. Mourant.
A native of Jersey in the Channel Islands, Mourant received a degree in geology, but as this was Depression-Era Britain, he was unable to find a job. His very strict Methodist upbringing had caused him considerable emotional unhappiness, which he hoped to resolve by becoming a psychoanalyst. To that end he decided to begin by first study medicine.
To avoid the German bombing raids on the capital, his medical school was moved from London to Cambridge, and it was here that he met Ronald Fisher, the most influential geneticist of his day. Fisher, a brilliant eccentric who we will meet again, had been working out the genetics of the new blood groups which were being discovered, and he had become fascinated by the particularly convoluted inheritance of one of them – the Rhesus blood group. Fisher found him a job at once, and the meticulous Mourant spent the rest of his working life compiling and interpreting the most detailed blood group frequency distribution maps ever produced. He never did become a psychoanalyst.
In the early 1600’s Pierre De Lancre, a French witch hunter, speculated why the Basque area seemed to harbor so many witches. He thought the problem stemmed from their great numbers in the various Jesuit missionaries, with all their evangelizing, which had affected them with demons from far-off places that they had carried back to Spain. De Lancre also thought that there early adoption of tobacco use may also be working on their minds. He held Basque women in special contempt, saying that they produced only undersized and cursed children who died.
As Mark Kurlansky recounts in The Basque History Of The World, this last accusation may have had a ring of truth to it, since Basques are renowned among anthropologists for their strikingly high percentage of individuals who have the Rhesus Negative (Rh-) blood type genotype (dd): 60% compared to an average of 16% for the rest of Europe. When a mother is Rh- and she gives birth to Rh+ children, an immune reaction can occur which gives rise to a hemolytic (“blood destroying”) anemia, and often would lead to the death of the child.
Mourant suggested that modern day Basques have other characteristics which may mark them as descendants of the late Paleolithic population of Western Europe: They share a skeletal resemblance to Cro-Magnon man and they are the only Western European people who do not speak a Indo-European language.
Just the other day, Martha reconnected via email with an old friend of ours, John Weeks. I first met John back in the mid-1980's when he was the first Development Officer for Bastyr College. I got to know him much better while was serving with him on the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) Board of Directors.
John has gone on to carve out a career as the Editor/ Publisher of The Integrator Blog, a website devoted to "a health care system that is multidisciplinary and enhances competence, mutual respect and collaboration across all health care disciplines."
In emailing back and forth with Martha he directed us to a little blurb he had just published on the recent AANP Convention which had mentioned a long forgotten (although not by John) suggestion of mine about creating 'model states' as part of our drive to secure license in all 50 states.
That was interesting enough, but more jostled me out of my typical late morning indolence was a discussion elsewhere about the chronology and authorship of the phrase 'Integrative Medicine'.
In another move undoubtedly destined to make me even more popular with Andrew Weil (who is widely credited with it authorship) I wrote John a quick note that mentioned off-the-cuff that I had used the phrase long ago when I was part of a small committee responsible for formulating the first clinical curriculum at Bastyr College.
Well, after we conducted a see-saw email interview, John wrote a rather nice little blog about it.
Spent the last week lolling around Lancaster County Pennsylvania, one of my favorite places in the world. If the twenty-four hour news media leaves you with the notion that there is nothing that America can do right, visit Lancaster County. There is a lot of tourist stuff, but there are also fields and fields of the great agricultural bounty to be found in America. Corn, beans, lettuce, you name it. Rows upon perfect rows, fading endlessly into the horizon. Sturdy stone houses and hideously expensive (but quite beautiful) hand made quilts.
I was happy to learn that almost 100% of the fertilizer is natural manure-based; which, although it can be a problem with ground water runoff if improperly managed, is still better than the Monsanto-based explosives we've relied on in the past.
We were looking at schools for my oldest child, Claudia, a high school senior who will start college next year. We toured Franklin and Marshall and Gettysburg colleges. Both are gorgeous, small and inviting; just what a liberal arts college should be.
The usual protocols prevailed, typically a slide show ‘orientation’ followed by a tour headed by one of the students. I learned that at both schools, the washing machines in the laundromat will send you a text message when your wash is finished, and that at 12:00 midnight the week of the final exams, you can get free hot chocolate at the library. When I asked about the number of technical and scientific journals each library subscribed to, nobody knew the answer.
Of course, nobody ever talks about the 8000-pound elephant in the room: “Hey, just how much is this going to cost?” For kicks, I'd typically gesture to raise my hand when it got to question and answer time, at which point my legs were vigorously kicked by my younger daughter, nervously anticipating future mortification at the hands of dad's latest déclassé question.
Gettysburg College almost did the ‘anti-orientation.’ The assistant dean of admissions just went up to the front of the auditorium and proceeded to do 30 minutes of shtick. Some of it was tedious, but a lot of it was peppered with great advice, good tips to the kids about how to write the application essay and comport themselves during the interview.
- “If you don’t know Winston Churchill personally, please don’t write about how he is a role model”
- “Make a point to provide at least 50% of the total conversation.”
- “Look me in the eyes.”
- “This is not a good time to be shy or modest.”
If you have a teenage child, you will understand the benefits of this sage advice.
Gettysburg is of course the site of a famous Civil War battle, one of two that provided the turning point in fortune for the forces fighting for the maintenance of the Union. It is also the home of The Gettysburg Address, which I was surprised to discover, was not used as a name by any of the town shops or restaurants. By the way, the restaurant eating is much better than I remember from years back.
I fancy myself a fairly knowledgeable on the battle and tactics and looked forward to driving the park and discussing the history of the battle with the kids. It was pretty rough at first, since neither child is all that much into history. Sort of like our earlier trip to Cordoba. However a trip to the new Gettysburg National Visitor Center did sort of hook them in, especially the very cool 3-D type movie narrated by Morgan Freeman, which takes you through the battle, causes and aftermath, all in the very teenager friendly time-frame of 24 minutes.
Tonight is the first of the NAP Professional Webinars, and I’m told that it is standing room only (25 people are the maximum). We are using a service called GoToMeeting that allows people to hear what I’m saying on their computer speakers, see my desktop, and ask questions. Hopefully I can get the thing under my belt by show time. I'm told that it can be 'recorded' and if so, we will make it available to doctors and other professionals.
The Connecticut Post ran a very nice article on me the other day. Unlike that terrible article in Time a while back, this reporter actually took the time to try and understand the material. Of course, the comment sections of these online articles always seems to attract a screwball or two. Like Sister Marie Francis used to tell our fifth grade class at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Brooklyn, “Empty barrels do make the most noise.”
While on the subject of criticism, we’ve finally got round to developing a standardized response area for the myriad of articles on the Internet that are critical of all the blood type and GenoType theories. In time, we’ll just keep adding to it.
Other news: I’ve just received test batches of the skin toner, cleanser and moisturizer. People who have tried the day crème are usually pretty enthusiastic about the line, and they will probably like these as well.
Some of the moderators on the bulletin boards noticed that the recipe database had been 'hacked' by internet bots intent on leaving hundreds, if not thousands, of entries offering everything from mail-order brides to the possibilities of enlarging virtually any part of your body. Part of the problem was that anyone could enter a recipe in the database, and once these roving ambassadors of malfeasance find an open site they just bombard it relentlessly.
The beat way to deal with these types of attacks is to institute some sort of challenge response test which is usually in the form of some sort of visual recognition scheme. These are usually called "Reverse Turing Tests" after the brilliant, if tortured English math genius Alan Turing and they are now part of the internet landscape:
The basic idea is to prove that you are human, which may be easier for some than others.
Although I have a million other things to do, I suppose my type A mindset kept thinking of new enhancements to the recipe database, one of the more neglected step-children of this website. So why not take a tour of the new and improved recipe area?
This is the basic entry portal. From here you can list, search and display recipes. I'm working on a printer friendly version as well.
Saddened to hear of the passing away of the great Richard Rorty from pancreatic cancer. His book "Contingency Irony and Solidarity" was a big influence on me, giving me a sort of 'permission' to live with my thoughts and ideas without the burden of always having to analyze them to death. Certainly, Rorty's work in this area stemmed from John Dewey, but I alway thought that Rorty said it better, at least to me. In either case, if you think today's 24 hour "news" is actually "News" you may want to read these guys.
Kenneth T. Jackson: The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn (Neighborhoods of New York City)
Leonard Benardo: Brooklyn by Name: How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges and More Got Their Names
Conway Morris: Life's Solution
June came and went very, very fast. Although I announced that I had finished writing the GenoType Diet several months ago reality, alas, kicked in. So today, as many people celebrate a sort of independence, I am still working out the final kinks to the diets for each GenoType. I am greatly assisted in this by the software package that I wrote called the DDE (D'Adamo Diet Equalizer). The DDE is a program that allows me to query the vast databases that I have developed over the years and interface these databases with other database such as the SR19 Food and Nutrition Database from the US Department of Agriculture.
Using the DDE to generate the diets has been a revelation. I can filter data based on over 250 different elements in the diet; PCB, dioxins and mercury in fish; 5 classes of phenolics; over 12 different classes of antioxidants; low or high bacterial overgrowth residues; lectin content, and on and on. The DDE is available for use by IfHI Masters. If you have taken the certification and want to use the DDE contact the IfHI Office and they'll send you the password to get in. If you're interested, you can read the DDE User Manual.
My friend Bob turned me on to a great way of making bread that involves no kneading and yields absolutely wonderful results. Here is a movie from the NY Times. Of course they are using wheat flour. I'm letting my first loaf rise overnight as I write this blog. I used spelt, flaxseed husk and buckwheat. As per Bob's advice, I ordered a cast iron Dutch oven from Amazon, which, along with the long rise, give the most outrageous crust you can imagine.
I've been gardening a lot this year. And swimming. Discovered a neat trick for bugs: Neem Oil. Since it doesn't strongly affect humans, mammals, or beneficial bugs, farmers use neem oil as an insecticide and miticide to keep away pests like aphids and white flies. Neem oil even protects crops from fungal infections such as mildew. Since we have a lot of deer in Connecticut, I've also become quite fond of Bobbex, a natural deer repellent.Also been listening to shortwave radio for the first time since I was a kid. Boy, how many summer nights did we kids struggle to to locate Radio Nauru, just so we could get the QSL (verification) card? Shortwave is a nice window on the world, since the 24 hour crisis reporting we in America call 'news' seems increasingly cynical and transparent.
Quiet around the house. Kids are off to summer camps and intensives: Claudia to Tuft's in Boston for an SAT Prep Intensive, Emily to Maine for camp. Martha and I have really enjoyed these last few days of making dinner together and luxuriating in the yard. Still, you don't need much time to start missing them.. Father's day was a hoot. I finally got my wish: An Evil Knievel tee shirt.
Last week we had a great marketing meeting with the team over at Random House. What offices! The conference room overlooked Central Park South. Nice, talented bunch of people they have over there. We met my new editor, Stacy Creamer, in person for the first time. Stacy is really wonderful to work with â€“ I feel that she will make the GTD a better book. Perhaps all these rewrites had a purpose. Each has given the book a new level of depth and clarity. I suspect many of you will find the book surprisingly accessible and chatty despite its apparently complicated premise.