Category: Personalized Medicine
I'm going to try to develop the habit of posting about new and interesting research findings that I come across in the science literature. Where appropriate, I'll add some pithy commentary as well.
Research Bias Against Alternative Medicine
"Slowly they are beginning to report on the welcome trend of evidence based clinical trials for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including herbal remedies. Unfortunately, the media still rely for their sources on high quality medical journals, which are more likely to report negative results about CAM and positive results about pharmaceuticals, The clinical trials in the study showed no difference in quality between herbal remedy and pharmaceutical trials, but CAM was still reported on more skeptically".
Finally someone has the courage to address the bias against plant medicines often seen in the major media and high-profile science journals. As I have said many times before, the risks of herbal medicine are often blown way out of proportion, while the corresponding high risks of certain pharmaceuticals always seem to be "acceptable in light of their potential benefits." Every medical intervention carries risk, but when viewed against the huge number of drug reactions per year (20,000+ people die every year from NSAIDs such as Advil or Tylenol) the small number of reactions to herbal medicines (mostly allergic type reactions) appear to be over-exaggerated as part campaign of deception. Thanks to my colleague Rick Kirschner for recently mentioning this article.
Take it from me: After more than a decade of similar treatment, I know one of these campaigns when I see one.
ABO Blood Group and the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
In two large, independent populations, ABO blood type was statistically significantly associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer. Further studies are necessary to define the mechanisms by which ABO blood type or closely linked genetic variants may influence pancreatic cancer risk.
This study was extensively publicized in the media, and while welcome as yet another link in the under-explored relationship between blood group antigens and cancer (see my 'Verisimilitude' lecture), these results have been reported in earlier studies (as well as similar results in bile duct cancer).
More interesting to me is the link between ABH secretor status and the predictability and reliability of the most common tumor marker test for pancreatic cancer. This tumor marker, called CA19-9, is variable based on ABH secretor status, yet this fact is virtually unknown in oncology.
Involvement of intestinal alkaline phosphatase with ABO and secretor blood group types
These results indicate that IAP is strongly involved in chylomicron formation and fatty acid metabolism might change among ABO blood type. In addition, ABO blood type classification in apoB-48 measurement would improve the diagnostic value in the evaluation of metabolic syndrome.
Tom Greenfield wrote about this study a few years back, but I wanted to bring it back since, like most studies of this sort, it has gone completely unnoticed by the nutrition communinty at-large. IAP is an enzyme implicated in transcellular transport of chylomicrons, large molecules that transport dietary lipids from the intestines to other locations in the body. Since 1966 it has been known that this enzyme varies among ABO blood groups and secretor status, with type O secretors having the highest amount and A non-secretors the lowest. Since IAP is critical for breaking down dietary cholesterol and enhancing the assimilation of calcium.
This calls into question the so-called 'Bone Hypothesis,' a long-treasured argument of vegans and dietitians everywhere, that dietary protein (especially from animal sources rich in the sulfur amino acids) should increase acid production in the body, and that in response to the acid load induced by a high animal protein diet, bone may be called upon to act as a reservoir of alkali using bone calcium as a buffering source.
As the theory goes, the long-term consequence of this reliance on bone to buffer the endogenous acid would be increased rates of skeletal loss and a decrease in bone mineral density. The hypothesis would also predict that a long-term, high protein diet would increase fractures.
However, in a recent study it was found that:
Studies conducted over the past 8 years in our laboratory call the traditional high protein bone hypothesis to question. We have found that a high protein diet induces high levels of urine calcium primarily because it increases intestinal calcium absorption. Second, a low protein diet acutely reduces intestinal calcium absorption, resulting in an abrupt rise in serum parathyroid hormone.
No only is IAP induced at high levels in blood group O individuals by a protein diet, one can expect it to increase bone density in these people. Not only that, evidence exists which indicates that the physical expression of the blood type A antigen appears to turn off IAP in the intestinal tract.
We found that red cells of blood group A bind almost all intestinal alkaline phosphatase; erythrocytes of blood group B or O to a much lesser degree. This is in accordance with the fact that intestinal alkaline phosphatase is found more frequently in the serum of individuals of blood group O or B than in serum of persons of blood group A.
I challenge anyone who still clings to the idea that blood groups have no scientific role in dietary personalization to respond to these basic facts.
It comes down to this simple challenge: Either put up or shut up.
Here are the .mp3 audio transcript and .pdf handout for the lecture that I gave at the 2008 New York State Naturopathic Association Conference. The audio is rather large for the Internet (40 mb), so be patient:
The handouts are in the form of a Adobe Acrobat file (pdf) so you can work through the lecture exactly as it was presented.
If you right-click and choose "Save As" you can download the files to your hard drive. If you find this information interesting, consider burning the lecture and handout files onto a CD and passing it along to friends and colleagues.
New research shows that sugar deposits may be the major cause of skin aging.
Skin science appears to have caught up with the humble sugar molecule. Wrinkles, sagging skin, and pigment deposits may stem less from the sun and more from one-way sugar molecules that we make as part of the aging process but cannot remove. With no small amount of serendipity, scientists call these wrong-way sugars ‘AGE molecules’ (the AGE stands for 'Advanced Glycation End-products').
AGE molecules are all around us, and often taste pretty good: Any time we brown an onion or caramelize sugar we are making AGE molecules. However, when you make these molecules under your skin, you’ll probably find much less to like about them.
Unlike most other complex sugars, AGE molecules are not easily removed from the body (Just think back to a time you tried to clean burnt sugar off of a piece of crockery!) And because they stay in place for years, the immune system can react to tissues they deposit in, causing inflammation, damage, and aging.
AGE molecules: Good on marshmallows, bad on people.
NAP recently released the next three D’Adamo Genoma Skin products, which now expands the line to four products:
The Day Light Face Crème is the original formula. We’ve has virtually 100% customer satisfaction with the product, including unsolicited comments from three users that it was the only product that worked on their facial rosacea.
To this base formula, I’ve added an AGE (Glycation inhibiting) toner, a rich night crème and a tissue cleanser that uses a few very interesting botanicals.
For the rest of the month, at my request, NAP is offering the complete set of four products at a savings of 50%. I asked that they try to do this so that as many people as possible can try the line. If you are looking for a great skin care line at an unbelievable price, either as a holiday gift for someone or even yourself, you might want to look into these products.
However, do it before December 31, 2008.
This has been a busy time of things lecture-wise. Last month I lectured on 'Cancer Survivorship' at Backus Hospital in Norwich Connecticut, as part of their Fall Oncology Support Series. I really appreciate that Amy, the program coordinator (Center for Healthcare Integration) took the time to write a very nice thank you note:
Thank you so very much for the wonderful program you offered at Backus last week. Your use of metaphors to translate the scientific research is so effective and at the same time so much fun to listen to. I had many a-ha moments and between that lots of laughter. You are truly a gifted teacher.
It is a great support program from an imaginative hospital.
Immediately after this I lectured to a large group of doctors and nurses over at Soundview Medical Associates in Norwalk, Connecticut. This lecture was pretty much straight blood group science and physiology and despite some early technical glitches I was made most welcome, treated to an attentive and lively audience, and had a great time.
Early October featured a lecture at the Annual Conference of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians in Manhattan. This lecture was entitle 'Verisimilitude and Malignancy' and discussed how cancer systems often elude the immune system by posing as quasi blood type markers. Most naturopathic physicians were new to this type of information and as I looked out into the audience all I saw was a sea of heads pointed down as they furtively scribbled note after note.
At the conference I bumped into my old friend Dr. Russell Marz, one of the top naturopathic nutrition educators, whose 'Nutrition from Marz' is a standard nutrition text in the schools. Russell also write the nutrition reviews for NPLEX (the Naturopathic Licensing Exams). We're both expatriate New Yorkers and Russell always brings out the Brooklyn kid in me. Got a nice note afterward:
Good to see you and I just wanted to tell you how much I have appreciated your work. You really have created a whole new dimension in the field of nutrition and I believe especially in the area of cancer.
As I write this I'm preparing to leave for the airport and fly to Nashville, Tennessee for the first IFHI Micro Conference. I'll be lecturing for 3-4 hours throughout the day tomorrow. Hopefully the larynx holds up. Dr. Natalie Colicci is coming along to help with the certification, and tells me that she has already packed the lozenges.
After Tennessee things calm down a bit, which is great since I've discovered a few new veins of research that I want to pursue, and have just purchase a 1971 Volkswagon Bus that I am itching to restore.
Looming on the horizon is IFHI 2009, our biannual master conference. Unlike the prior 2005 and 2007 conferences I'll be doing most of the lecturing (something like nine hours total) by myself, with assistance from Drs. Tom Greenfield and Natalie Colicci. Again and again the feedback from prior conferences has been that, although the attendees have enjoyed the guest speakers, they would prefer that I spend more time on core curriculum and training. So here it is. I'm challenged by the idea of encapsulating an entire lifespan of work into such an information intensive format.
For the first time IFHI 2009 will be held on the east coast of the US (Norwalk Connecticut). It is close to our base of operations and affords a more easy access for the EU attendees, who comprise a rather large share of the audience. Proximity to NYC also allows folks to do some Manhattan site-seeing before or after the conference. Unlike prior conferences which held about 350 attendees, IFHI 2009 is limited to 125 on site and about 25 off site attendees. Also unlike the Buttes in Phoenix, the conference price is a 'soup to nuts package.'
I designed this little flyer for the conference. Almost prophetically it is the exact same model VW Bus that I'll be restoring. However my bus in in something over 1000 parts in over 50 crates.
I thought a recent abstract from one of the premiere nutrition journals did a pretty good job of catching up to, and explaining the theory behind The GenoType Diet:
Epigenetics encompasses changes to marks on the genome that are copied from one cell generation to the next, which may alter gene expression but which do not involve changes in the primary DNA sequence. These marks include DNA methylation and post-translational modifications (acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation and ubiquitination) of the histone tails protruding from nucleosome cores. The sum of genome-wide epigenetic patterns is known as the epigenome. It is hypothesised that altered epigenetic marking is a means through which evidence of environmental exposures (including nutritional status and dietary exposure) is received and recorded by the genome. At least some of these epigenetic marks are remembered through multiple cell generations and their effects may be revealed in altered gene expression and cell function. Altered epigenetic marking allows plasticity of phenotype in a fixed genotype. Despite their identical genotypes, monozygotic twins show increasing epigenetic diversity with age and with divergent lifestyles. Differences in epigenetic markings may explain some inter-individual variation in disease risk and in response to nutritional interventions.
Session 2: Personalised nutrition. Epigenomics: a basis for understanding individual differences? Mathers JC. Proc Nutr Soc. 2008 Nov;67(4):390-4.
Just finished the NAP Professional Services Webstore and Learning Environment. With its completion, I've realized a long standing goal: To have NAP website that is optimized for the health professional. A few of the cool new features that I've built into the site include:
- Extensive discussions of the pharmacology and biochemistry behind the indications and actions of each product. As an extra bonus, I've created a new and distinct version of the Individualist Wikipedia which directly hyperlinks entries to appropriate NAP products.
- Access to members-only monthly 'webinars' conducted by myself and the NAP Professional Technical Staff (attendance limited to 25 seats). A key feature of an NAP Webinar is its interactive elements -- the ability to give, receive and discuss information. To sign up for NAP Professional Webinars, contact Professional Services toll-free in the US at: 877-226-8973 or by email the Webinar Desk. NAP Webinars are free to all NAP Professional Clients. I'll be lecturing at the next webinar on 'Cancer Survivorship' Monday, August 11, 2008 at 8PM EST
- NAP Professional Accounts can also participate in the new Pharmashare Professional Affiliate Program.
- Early notification of upcoming limited attendance IFHI Micro Conferences.
- Physician-to-Physician Live Help via real time chat.
If you are a licensed health professional (or IfHI certified educator) and wish to open an NAP Professional Services Account click here and fill in the details. Within 24 hours you will be sent a special password to allow you full access to the site. If you are an existing professional client of NAP you can contact Professional Services toll-free in the US at: 877-226-8973 or by email at NAP Professional Services and they'll register you right away.
I'm slated to lecture at the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians 2008 Conference. I plan to present on 'Verisimilitude and Malignancy.' Mimicry is an early step in the metastatic process and an important factor in the continued cancer-proneness of survivors. This lecture will discuss nutritional interventions physicians can employ to address these susceptibilities to enhance the survivorship of their oncology patients.
NYANP 2008: Balanced Health: Putting It All Together
8:30 am to 7:30 pm
American Conference Center
3rd Ave (between 48th and 49th) New York, NY
New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians Website
I will also be lecturing at the 2008 IFHI Certification Micro Conference held by the Plateau Eat Righters on October 25, 2008 in Crossville, Tennessee. This conference is being hosted by my friend Larry Nesbit. It is an IFHI approved certification test site and they will be administering the cetification test for IfHI Fellow.
More information about the Plateau Eat Righters 2008 IFHI Micro Conference is on the IFHI site.