As is typical of this time of year, it’s been a very active time for your humble physician-author-blogger.
January started off with a whirlwind visit out to Arizona for a daylong presentation to the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association. This was followed by a two week intensive period of website redesign, overhauling the website of The D’Adamo Clinic in addition to the navigation system for North American Pharmacal. The Clinic website is a simple white design that I like very much and it conveys what being inside the Clinic feels like to me. I’m not normally a fan of all-white walls, but in the Clinic it works.
One problem you come across again and again when you program for the Internet is cross-browser support. I’ve learned the hard way that a web page that works and looks good in Firefox for the Mac may not necessarily look or work the same way in Internet Explorer for Windows. Many, many times it’s been a last minute check on an outdated browser running Windows 95 that kiboshed a terrific idea.
Putting the final touches on the SWAMI software. I’ve decided to port it to two platforms. One will be the traditional SWAMI GenoType for professionals, the other will be a SWAMI Xpress that will be available online. Introduction of the SWAMIGenoType will be linked to the IfHI 2009 Conference, where Tom Greenfield, Natalie Colicci and I will have the time to take the attendees through the interface, filters and matrices. If you are a physician or IFHI certified educator planning to use SWAMI GenoType in your practice, you’ll need to attend IfHI 2009 to get the full training.
SWAMI Xpress will contain all the base programs of his more muscular brother, but is being designed for general-purpose use. SWAMI GenoType has advanced filters and controls that allow a physician to exert complete control over the client diet and is geared to practitioners who want to have a more micrometric control over things. Introduction of SWAMI Xpress will be as part of NAP’s “Do It For A Month” program.
On the lecture horizon, I’ve got a webinar with the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy on March 31 and an upcoming Grand Rounds presentation at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine on February 11. After that things calm down until the IfHI 2009 Conference June 5. IfHI should be challenging. I’ve scheduled myself for something like 9 hours of lecture time, and if you could believe it I’m stressing out about not having enough time to do justice to the material. Figured out how to control my slide show from an iPhone, which is very cool. I should be able to pace around the room and use the iPhone to cue the next slide.
After completing a few movies/animations I’ll be pretty much done preparing material for the conference, leaving plenty of time to perfect the software and get the 1971 VW Camper ready.
Got lucky yesterday. Found a site that had the entire LP of the 1974 classic The Portsmouth Sinfonia Plays The Popular Classics available as a download. I certainly don’t support intellectual property theft but this album has never made it to CD and I think the original record label is now extinct. The Portsmouth Sinfonia is the ultimate ode to amateurism: Take a bunch of English art school students --who either cannot play a musical instrument or are willing to play one they are unfamiliar with-- and put them into an orchestra. The only rules being that you had to come to rehearsal and you could not purposely play the wrong notes.
What resulted were renditions of the popular classics (Peer Gynt Suite, The Blue Danube Waltz, The William Tell Overture, etc) in which the inexperience and lack of talent produces a series of acoustic near-misses that collect into this cloud-like approximation of what the proper pitch and notes should sound like. Popular classics were selected on purpose since everyone in the orchestra would know the music and could at least aspire to what the piece should resemble--or at the very minimum whether they should be sounding higher or lower pitched notes.
Here is their rendition of Blue Danube Waltz, Op. 314 (Johann Strauss)
Beethoven was supposedly fond of listening to amateur productions of his work, and I’ve often thought that this would be among the most perfect of medical education paradigms.
NINE UNDENIABLE TRUTHS ABOUT THE BLOOD TYPE DIET
by John Ashby, M.D. -Philadelphia PA
1. The Blood Type Diet is a simple piece of organic truth that will someday revolutionize medical thought and practice.
2. Criticism of the Blood Type Diet is inversely proportional to knowledge of it.
3. Wisdom of the cells of the gut is greater than that of all the neurons in the frontal cortex.
4. It is the hidden desire of those who cheat, while on the Blood Type Diet, to have belly pain.
5. Food cravings are the path to an abyss of evil and destruction best avoided by urgent sweat busting exercise.
6. Vegetables are like sex. If you can't remember how long it has been since you have had any, you're not having enough.
7. Adhering to the weekly frequencies for consumption of recommended food groups is the hidden method of enhancing performance on the Blood Type Diet.
8. If producing large bowel movements were an Olympic event, most Blood Type Dieters would be gold medalists at every Olympiad.
9. Informing family and friends that one is one on the Blood Type Diet is similar to informing them that one has a serious sickness for which they hope there is a quick and easy cure.
A recent question posed to an internet dietician Mary Hartley sparked some outrage over on the www.dadamo.com message boards and got me thinking:
Is there any truth to the diet based on blood type?
For example, O blood type should eat more protein and AB blood type should eat more veggies.
The Blood Type Diet is outlined by Peter D’Adamo in Eat Right 4 Your Type, a diet book that has been a bestseller for over 10 years. Mr. D'Adamo asserts that your blood type is the key to your immune system, and by eating particular foods according to your blood-type, you can lose weight and prevent diseases, such as cancer, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and others. But truthfully, there is no scientific evidence to back the authors claims, and the diets recommended for some blood types could produce nutritional deficiencies. The Blood Type Diet is just another fad diet.
Many dieticians embrace and use the research behind the Blood Type Diet, so it is not a complete and absolute truth to claim that registered dieticians (RD) know almost nothing about nutrigenomics and genetic based nutrition. However, based upon a series of interviews conducted in Holland among Dutch dieticians, it's not far from the truth:
Based on the analysis of 51 face-to-face interviews with Dutch dietitians in April 2006, it can be concluded that awareness and knowledge on nutrigenomics is low. Almost half of the interviewees had heard of nutrigenomics and nutritional genetics, but most could not explain what either were about.
Clients of more than half of the interviewees bring up the topic of heredity or family history during consultations in regard of nutrition-related diseases such as weight and diabetes. Clients almost never ask questions related to genetic testing but, if they do, it is in the context of hyper-lipidemia, hyper-cholesterolemia and other metabolic disorders.
More than half of the dietitians thought genetic testing would be relevant for dietetic practice. Most, however, experienced difficulties with identifying the practical implications of nutrigenomics. They expected nutrigenomics to offer opportunities for dietetic practice through tools for creating more personalized or individual dietary advice and prevention of diet-related ill health. Some dietitians expressed concerns about cost, the current lack of evidence, and the affect on clients’ attitudes whilst other felt they knew too little to identify their concerns.
In line with these concerns, there is feeling that nutrigenomics is not relevant to dietetic practice because of a lack of evidence, anticipated costs of testing, and the existing potential for treatment without genetic testing.
When I read these critiques from people who are supposedly experts I simply marvel at the degree of self-assurance they display despite what appears to be a complete ignorance of the subject. There is enough science behind the use of blood type as a dietary determinant to choke a horse; maybe two or three horses. However, if you don't like the conclusions (or more likely don't like who or where they came from) go ahead and criticize the science. That never fails to buy a bit of time.
I also get a bit skittish when someone who is trying to convince me of something starts their sentence off with 'Truthfully...'
The line about the diets producing nutritional deficiencies is complete twaddle. There is no proof of that whatsoever. I challenge Ms. Hartley to back up her assertions with some sort of evidence, or lacking that have the courage to retract this ridiculous statement.
Reminds me of the quote by Upton Sinclair:
If is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
Speaking of fad diets, many dieticians still cling to the low-fat (or should I say 'fat-phobic') fads of the 1980's. There is perhaps perverse justice in a vignette I recently read in David Stafford's terrific new book Endgame, 1945. Stafford writes that after the outcry against the Nazi euthanasia program, the experts merely moved their lethal expertise away from gas to starvation:
The asylums and hospitals reverted instead to the murdering of the handicapped through lethal injection and deliberate starvation. The director at Kaufbeuren, Dr. Valentin Falthammer, was an especially keen and energetic supporter of the program, and proudly introduced a carefully crafted fat-free diet that guaranteed death to his patients and economized on pharmaceuticals. The death rate rose so high that local authorities forbade the ringing of church bells at funerals, so as to not alert the local population.
Like Peter Gabriel said three decades ago:
It's only knock and know-it-all,
but I like it.
Spent the weekend in Phoenix/Scottsdale where I lectured to the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association. Nice crowd; surprising to me was the fact that MDs outnumbered NDs at the morning professional session. Had way too much material. The professional lecture was supposed to last four hours, and by midpoint I realized that I actually had about nine hours worth of material, forcing a truncation which certainly had nothing to do with any lack of science.
Happily, this probably means that my presentations for IfHI 2009 are already complete.
Here is a short film about the epigenetic landscape that I made for the lectures. Enjoy.
In addition to my feverish efforts to bring www.dadamo.com back into the Information Age ---the shoemaker's kids do in fact often lack shoes--- the so-called holiday week finds your humble blogger finally mastering the intricacies of Apple's wonderful Keynote presentation software. If like me you've always used PowerPoint, Keynote is indeed a revelation.
The purpose of using presentation software is to give presentations and my upcoming lectures in Arizona are providing the necessary threat-impetus.
At the request of the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association (AzNMA) on Saturday, January 10, 2009 I'll be doing a total of four hours of lecturing to docs and a one hour public lecture (with a half hour reserved for questions and answers) at the Doubletree Paradise Valley in Scottsdale, AZ. If you are in the Phoenix area why not plan to stop by. I can promise you that the slide/multimedia/rumination presentation may well give old Al Gore a run for the money.
Any trip to Phoenix also affords the extra benefit of seeing our good friends Paul and Laura Mittman. I'm so proud of what Paul has accomplished at Southwest College.
Found this little unused snippet from the volumes of material that was prepared for The GenoType Diet but never used. Thought it might make for interesting reading.
The high water mark of hunter-gathering is often called the Mesolithic period ('Middle Stone Age') which began around 10,000 years ago and ended with the introduction of farming. The onset of farming differed from place to place, starting early in the Near East and much later in Europe. Hunter-gatherer technology reached its apex during the Mesolithic era; fishing tackle, stone adzes, canoes and bows have all been found preserved at various sites.
Popular culture tends to depict our Stone Age ancestors as crude, simplistic animals perpetually at the point of starvation. "Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" as Thomas Hobbes had put it in 1651. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Though small in number, Paleolithic hunter-gatherers worked far fewer hours and enjoyed more leisure than typical members of industrial society, and they still ate well, satisfied with very little in the material sense. The transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture was not necessarily a one way process, and evidence seems to disprove any notion that hunter-gatherers were saved from extinction by the advent of farming technology. They seem to have been familiar with farming practices when it arose, but for the longest time simply rejected it, or used it as a marginal supplement to the diet.
As these late hunter-gatherer societies evolved, they began to develop specializations such as fishing and seafood collection, harvesting nuts and fruits, or trapping small animals. They often had simple forms of representative government, based around family or clan.
Perhaps it is not coincidental that the story of the Garden of Eden in the Bible shares some of the same elements in its storyline. Some anthropologists have hypothesized that the Garden of Eden does not represent a geographical place, but rather represents cultural memory of the simpler times of hunter-gathering, when man lived off God's bounty, as opposed to being civilized and toiling at agriculture.
A large percentage of the world's cultures have stories of a Great Flood that devastated earlier civilization. This flood is sent by God or the gods as an act of divine retribution to destroy civilization. Noah and the Ark in Genesis, Matsya in the Hindu Puranas and the Epic of Gilgamesh are among the most familiar versions of these myths, all of which divide prehistory into a pre-flood or Antediluvian and a post-flood world.
Certainly there were major changes to the planetary water table at the end of the last ice age, as melting waters for the rapidly diminishing glaciers would have caused the levels of the seas and oceans to rise about 125-150 feet, deluging and destroying many prior land bridges, such as that between Alaska and Siberia, and isolating many populations. The end of the last ice age was also accompanied by the mother of all volcanic eruptions as the movement of the African plate opened a fault-line under the Mediterranean Sea, creating a string of volcanoes that still exist, such as Vesuvius and Etna. There is some geological evidence suggesting that a massive prehistoric flood occurred around 8000 years ago as the Mediterranean Sea spilled into the present day Black Sea.
William Ryan and Walter Pitman, geologists from Columbia University proposed what came be called the 'Black Sea Deluge Theory' which hypothesizes that melting of the last great glaciers caused the rising Mediterranean to finally spill over a rocky sill at the Bosporus eventually flooding 155,000 square kilometers of land. Despite some supportive findings, the theory remains an active subject of debate among archaeologists.
Although by this time agriculture had already reached the plains of central Europe, the Ryan and Pitman linked its spread with farming people displaced by the flood. It has been suggested that the memories of these displaced survivors was the source of the Great Flood Legends.
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.