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.
I had a chance to visit T. Boone Pickens website, where he has unveiled a plan to develop contingency energy policies involving a blend of natural gas, wind and solar as a sort of 'stop-gap' measure to halt the increasing importation of foreign oil.
Whereas I think he is onto something, his plan may actually not be big enough to really make a difference. I quickly did some simple calculations on the energy generating capacity of solar cell technology (per total surface area) given its placement in any environment sufficiently 'sunny' enough to power the solar cells for a minimum of five hours per day.
Based upon published data it is possible power the entire electrical grid of the United States at almost twice its current level by simply creating a 'National Solar Farm' approximately 100 miles by 100 miles (10,000 square miles) in size.
The total land space required is symbolized by the blue rectangle on the above map. Placing this solar farm anywhere in the light blue area guarantees a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight in winter, 6 in summer --very ample amounts.
Fortuitously, the majority of this area is some of the most hostile territory to be found in the continental US, so there would not be any significant displacement of people or fauna.
Solar panels are not inexpensive, and one would think that a 100 by 100 mile wide area would be prohibitively expensive. But the raw materials of solar panels (silicon and cadmium) are themselves quite inexpensive and abundant and a government effort on par with the Manhattan Project should be able to use economies of scale to drop the production costs.
This would have added ecological advantages. A lot of electricity is generated locally, which brings many known carcinogens into densely populated areas.
Opponents might be argue that by generating electricity from a singular, highly centralized location a lot of the juice would be lost due to overall 'low conductivity' of the majority of the national electrical grid. However, this might also be an opportunity to develop the next level of superconducting devices alongside of a National Solar Farm and reform the National Electrical Grid while we're fixing things anyway.
Many common folk also have a decidedly deterministic, perhaps fatalistic opinion of genetics. “It’s in the genes. There’s not much that you can do about it.” Nothing could be further from the truth; and although I can easily genuflect at the altar of genetics, I do not worship there. Your genes are just a reasonable plan for a particular way things can happen. Genes are just cogs in the wheel of life. They’re not here to cause disease; they are part of the structure of life.
For something so important to life, it’s quite surprising that there are so few of them; we humans have somewhere in the vicinity of 35,000 genes. Indeed when the human genome was first published scientists were incredulous to find that the number was so low (prior estimates were that there were at least 100,000.) And as if to prove that numbers aren’t everything, we humans don’t even measure up in this department as well; the average rice plant has around 40,000 genes. But then again, it’s not what you’ve got; it’s what you do with it.
It’s true, you can’t change your genes, but we are beginning to discover that Nature and Nurture do need each other. You can affect the way that your genes function. Matter of fact you do it all the time. For example, it may turn out that that dirty door knob your mother touched while she was pregnant with you may have had more influence in certain areas than all your DNA and RNA combined. As we move further into the meat and bones of this book, you will see how and why.
Genetics is typically thought of as being very complicated and difficult for the average person to understand, and this may well be true. However, the goal of this book is not to turn you into a geneticist, but rather give the advantages of conducting your life in such a way as to benefit from the knowledge of genetics.
Car showrooms can cast an interesting light on human behavior. While waiting my turn in a local dealership to buy a car, I had the chance to observe the interaction between the salesman and the young couple that he was attending to. Diligently he spouted out facts and details about the engine torque and horsepower, the suspension, and steering as the husband stood by obviously not understanding an iota of it all, but duly shaking his head and feigning great interest.
At the end of the soliloquy, our salesman of course asks if there are any questions. Not wanting to be seen as unintelligent, the young husband say no, he doesn’t have any. The young wife, on the other hand, had a burning question:
Where were the cup holders?
This simple interaction not only changed the way that I chose to write books, but changed my way of communicating in my medical practice. Most people who buy cars don’t want to repair them; they want to drive them. Yes, there is probably a very nice motor under the hood, but most intelligent people do not need convincing that there is a squirrel on a treadmill instead. For them the car is a means to an end; a way to get someplace. So, if you are willing sometimes to suspend disbelief that I am making this all up, I will repay the favor by spending the majority of our short time together teaching you how to get someplace with The Genotype Diet, rather than bludgeoning you with details that you could have easily gotten someplace else.
However, facts do make for the best stories, and I fancy myself a bit of a storyteller. However I do promise to try and keep the terminology down to a reasonable minimum, while keeping the nomenclature at the level where the names of things could at least serve as an interesting name for a pet.
“Here, Allele! Sit! Good doggy! That’s a good Allele!”
Gillian Roberts sent along this link to an interesting article about how the human genome changes with age. Sound like it is right out of The GenoType Diet if you ask me.
Although I’m probably only one of five people on the planet who have not read it, the blockbuster success The DaVinci Code is just another indication that we humans have an innate curiosity about codes and their relationships and meanings. This blog will take us into the ultimate code of them all: The Code of Life.
By general agreement, a code is a rule for converting a piece of information into another form or representation, not necessarily of the same type. For example, I often write computer programs, most often to do some particular job or another on my website. Most programmers refer to this a “writing code.” Computer programming code appears to the non-programmer as a series of arcane jottings and numbers, but to both the programmer and computer, this code is in reality a series of highly specific instructions, executed step by step, that result in the computer performing some real world action; perhaps posting a message to an internet bulletin board or sending along an email.
Since computer programs are often rather large affairs with many loops and computations, writing good computer code is a daunting -if at other times stimulating- pursuit. It can be reassuring to remember that at any moment in time only very simple, rather dumb things are happening. What makes the computer program so powerful is that all these simple dumb things are happening extremely fast with a tremendous degree of accuracy.
Very few computer programmers can ever claim to have written a perfect program straight off. There are too many places that things can go wrong, computers being the terribly literal creatures that they are. For example, a command that tells a computer to print Hello World! to the screen might look like this:
23. PRINT “Hello World!”;
Simple enough, eh? Like the way we humans typically read books (from front to back and top to bottom) computers execute code from the top down. Thus, our line of computer code is numbered 23, so we can assume that there are twenty odd lines of computer code in front that will be executed before our screen lights up with the words “Hello World!” Perhaps line 22 tells the computer to make the screen font red, in which case our “Hello World!” would be rendered in red colored type. If we remove that line and run the program again, our font color goes back to black.
Look at our line 23 again and you will notice that the phrase you see -- Hello World! -- is in quotes, because in our simple computer language putting a phrase in quotes tells the computer where is the beginning and end of what you want sent to the screen is located. Without this type of instruction, computers are actually quite dumb, and have to rely on us to tell them where the beginning and end of various human things lie. Also notice that at the end of the line is a semi-colon, which in our little computer language tells the computer that this is the end of that particular line of code, so move down one line and execute that command next.
Computers are so literal that a mistake of even one character can cause a program to malfunction. For example, if you saw this line:
23. PRIINT “Hello World!”;
You’d probably guess that something is supposed to be printed. However the computer does not see PRIINT as the equivalent of PRINT. On the other hand if your code looked like this:
23. PRINT “Hello Wurld!”;
The program would probably still execute, since as far as the computer is concerned the command is correct and it’s in quotes, so it assumes that this is probably what you wanted. Once the command is correct, the computer doesn’t care if you tell it to write “Hello Wurld” or “Kick Me”. As long as its own language is correct, the computer will chug happily along, performing its assigned tasks.
Like computers, first impressions, and that light switch on the bathroom wall, genetics is remarkably digit business: On-Off; Yes-No; Love-Hate. So even if it looks complicated at times, don’t be fooled: It’s not. Just remember, like computers, genetics is simply a lot of small things happening in a clear-cut manner and if you get perplexed or lost, just take a step or two backwards and start again.
The mechanism of the genome is surprisingly similar to our simple line of computer code; so simple in fact that I will provide you with an “executive summary” of the whole affair in just two paragraphs.
A molecule called DNA periodically assembles copies of various parts of itself that are called RNA. RNA then travels to other parts of the cell where it is read as an instruction template, assembling chains of amino acids into something very useful: protein molecules of delightfully complex three dimensional shapes that are most often a class of proteins called enzymes.
Enzymes are special speed-up molecules that greatly foster the production and metabolism of the body’s tissues and secretions. Without them many biochemical reactions would occur so slowly as effectively negate their value. Just think about the difference between soaking a dirt stain in plain water for four days, versus soaking it for four minutes in a solution of water and laundry detergent and you’ll get an appreciation for the action of enzymes.
Enzymes catalyze many of the reactions involving proteins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals. Hormones, mucus, neurotransmitters, you name it; they are all made from enzymes.
It sobering and a bit humbling, to ponder the fact that when we eat any kind of protein, we’re actually consuming the results of something’s DNA and some of their DNA as well. However we usually break down dietary proteins to their amino acid building blocks and start all over again.
Occasionally, wild molecular gyrations occur as the incredibly DNA long molecule prepares to replicate by winding itself up tighter and tighter on a tubular scaffold of its own creation. Splitting from the ends much like an old Manila hemp rope would, each of the two unraveling single strands then begins to assemble a copy of its missing partner, producing two unique strands of DNA and creating two daughter replicas from one original.
What happens is surprisingly simple. Good things are like that; a strong underpinning of fact and analysis, and a veneer of simplicity and common sense. Now why, on the other hand, is quite a different story.
Eye color is far more complex than is generally appreciated, ranging from blue, gray, green, green/blue, brown, and others, varying with different populations. As with skin pigmentation, eye and hair color results from the degree of melanin pigment deposited in the tissue. Humans have several eye color genes. Two best understood are named BEY2 (brown eye) located on chromosome 15 and GEY (green/blue eye) located on chromosome 19. Interestingly, the human “secretor” blood type gene is linked to the GEY gene, since they are both found on chromosome 19. This may explain why the percentage of secretors in the population rises as one heads further north, since the percentage of green and blue eyes increases as well.
There is one peculiarity of eye structure which has been used in making racial distinctions called the epicanthic eye-fold, a fold of flesh that covers the upper eyelid, and sometimes even the upper eyelashes, when the eyes are wide open. It gives the eyes a narrower appearance. It may be an evolutionary defense against both the extreme cold as well as the extreme light that occurs in the Eurasian arctic and north. It has also been suggested that the fold provides some protection against dust in areas of desert such as that found in the deserts of northern China and Mongolia as well as parts of Africa.
Although almost universal amongst Central and Northern Asians, there is a wide distribution of the epicanthic fold across the world. It is also found in significant numbers amongst Amerindians, the Khoisan of Southern Africa and some people of Sami (Lapp) origin. The presence of epicanthic folds is common in many, though not all, groups of East Asian and Southeast Asian descent. Due to classic genetics children of a parent with a pronounced epicanthic fold and one without an epicanthic fold will have varying degrees of epicanthic folds as a result. On the other hand, high orbits, with no folds, are characteristic of certain Balkan populations and of most Near Eastern peoples.
Hair texture is measured by the degree of fineness or coarseness, which varies according to the diameter of each individual hair. There are four major types of hair texture, which are fine, medium, coarse and wiry (sometimes referred to as wooly). Head hair grows at the rate of approximately 1.25 centimeters, or about 0.5 inches, per month, and it has been speculated that the significance of long head hair may be adornment leading to what evolutionary biologists call “Fisherian Runaway Sexual Selection”, in which an prospective mate’s health is gauged by lustrous hair, leading to a greater rate of selection for those individuals with the gene –the same mechanism that probably led to those beautiful peacock feathers.
Scalp hair varies tremendously between races; the scalp hair of most Asians has the greatest thickness and the roundest cross-section, which produces a thick, straight hair. In Europeans the hair is more oval and finer; in Negroes it is flattened, resulting in small wiry, or “kinky” curls. There are at least three kinds of kinky hair. There is short kinky hair that covers the whole scalp evenly, as with most African peoples. There is short kinky hair that grows in tufts with seemingly bare spaces between, as in some East African groups. Then there is the longer kinky hair of the peoples of the Southwest Pacific islands. The hair of the Australian Aborigines is curly or wavy, except for one small group in Queensland who have what is called "frizzy" hair, or hair that is slightly kinky. It has been speculated that wiry hair texture has an advantage in being difficult to penetrate by stinging insects and tends to wick sweat effectively, keeping it away from the face, two distinct benefits in hot, humid environments. Only persons of African descent usually have this type of hair, although some Europeans can have extremely curly or frizzy hair.
Blonde hair is produced by an absence of melanin and may be attempt to optimize UV penetration of the scalp (maximizing vitamin D levels in the northern climes)
Having red hair is associated with the recessive version of the MC1R gene on chromosome 16, which also codes for fair skin and freckles. Four out of five redheads have this gene variant, which is found at its greatest frequency in Scotland and Ireland. Some authorities suggest that red-haired people may be descendents of a blending of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon peoples while others suggest that the gene is more recent, well after the human migration from Africa, so that the geographical distribution of red hair would be due to post-glacial expansions from Europe.
The tendency of the two eyebrows to blend over the nose, called “concurrency” is found in its highest frequency in the Middle East, but is also common among Southern Europeans.