IfHI Faculty Member Dr. Emily Kane sent me this note:
"Recently there was been discussion on a Naturopathic chat group about the validity of blood type diet, with (IfHI Master) Dr. Virginia Oram being one of your most fervent defenders! Our moderator commented that corn could hardly have been "bad" for all those native Americans. The highly esteemed Pam Taylor offered the following perspective:"
Back in the mid-70's a group of us were doing some comparative studies of skulls from Woodland Native American tribes and skulls from Central America with Dr. Jerry Rose (U. of AR, Dept. of Anthropology), whose specialty was medical anthropology. He pointed out the outlines of arterial imprints in certain groups of the Woodland skulls, which were noticeably larger than those from Central America. He theorized that the adaptive development of the larger blood vessels was a response to the presence of anemia, requiring greater blood flow to supply an adequate amount of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
The discrepancy was due to diet. The Woodland tribes were known to have cultural "boom and bust" cycles where they would spend some time hunting and gathering while the population expanded and became more robust living off game, fish and berries. Skulls from these groups did not display the enlarged blood vessels. When the tribe reached a certain level of vitality with a large enough population to afford a greater division of labor, they would find a place to settle and and farm, with corn as a staple. The significant increase in corn consumption as a dietary staple eventually resulted in anemia, a lower fertility and birth rate, and a level of irritability that led to less cooperation, more fighting (as evidenced by breakage and healing patterns in the bones), increased mortality and injury, a smaller band of individuals, and eventually resulted in their having to abandon a settled life style and resume hunting and gathering.
He theorized that when native populations in Central America prepared their corn by grinding it with limestone tools the grit that mingled with the corn contained a chemical had an inhibitory effect on corn's assumed inhibition of iron uptake.
Recent rat studies indicate that the periodic iron deficiency anemia of the Woodland population during their settled agricultural periods was more likely due to the amino acid imbalance in the corn (see article notation below) rather than a specific factor inhibiting its uptake. However, the physical evidence over time consistently supported the idea that when the Woodland groups were hunting and gathering, with substantially less corn in their diet, they were measurably healthier.
Studies in cultural anthropology spanning nearly a century note specific disease susceptibilities peculiar to different blood groups. But for sure, whether it's from an anthropological perspective or a naturopathic one, the contributing factors to health and disease, whether focused in an individual or extended to a culture, are multiple and multi-layered.
On days when I have a string of obnoxious patients, I definitely miss the bone lab.
I seem to remember reading that changes in dental and skull molding were also seen in so-called 'Mound Builder Cultures' that appeared to correlate with their evolution to an increasingly corn-based diet. That corn may have had this effect takes nothing away from its sacred role in these societies. It was a key subsistence food which allowed populations to grow and avoid starvation, despite the fact that it may have been a suboptimal source of some key nutrients.
Living on an avoid food is probably better that starving because you can't find any beneficial ones nearby.
Fact is, my research has not met with great acceptance in the naturopathic community. It indicates prudence and occasionally some honest skepticism, although I also think a lot of NDs just can't grok it intellectually. So like the chat moderator, they see it in only its most simplistic manifestations, thus requiring only the simplest objections.
Although you might think that capitalizing on the potential for polymorphisms and biochemical individuality would be a 'no-brainer' in a healing art like naturopathic medicine, the reality is otherwise. Maybe in time things will change, but for now my work lies in that wonderful 'excluded middle' that Charles Forte alluded to; misapprehended by the allopaths and naturopaths alike.
Nonetheless, my old friend, Dr. Pam Snider, who is running the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine project, an attempt to codify naturopathic tools and techniques, recently asked me to author two entries (co-author with Dr. Joseph Pizzorno on the genomics chapter; lead author on the genomic medicine chapter; and contributing author on nutrition chapter.) I don't know where I'll ever find the time to do this, by Martha has said that she would help out, which almost always makes things better.
Getting ready for a lecture this weekend at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts. They invited me to do two lectures on Saturday, for a total of about three hours running time. I suspect they don't have much awarenes of the GenoType material, so I'll do the first session on blood groups and then perhaps the second on GenoTypes and epigenetics.
Speaking of which, running factor analysis on the GenoTypes yields interesting spacial distinctions. Here is a graph of two principal components of data aligned along the point of maximum variability seen with the so-called 'classic genes'. It helps to imagine the small lines as actually coming out at you, if the graph could be in 3 dimensions.
The Explorer GenoType sticks out under these conditions as a very unique archetype.
I've finally gone to a 'commercial' blogging software package, in this case Wordpress. The change has mostly come from a need to have the so-called syndication (RSS, or 'really simple syndication') act in what programmers call a 'well-behaved' manner. This is important because author blogs can now be linked to places likewww.amazon.com</em>.
If you were getting RSS syndication of my older blog, you should add this site as a new live bookmark.
In the past we've used a program called GreyMatter, but the author has long ago stopped developing it. Much of the syndication scripting was simply hand-hacked by yours truly on an 'as needed' basis .
I'm going to give it a try, then see if it is worth porting over to the remaining bloggers. One thing GreyMatter did well was allow you to run multiple blogs out of the same package. It also had the convenience of having been written in Perl, a language I like to work in. However, not a whole lot of BTD blogging is going on these days, so perhaps I'll convert the remaining active bloggers (Suzanne Graham comes to mind and perhaps there are a few others) and move the rest to a searchable archive.
Doing a series of short films for the GenoType Diet website. They're mostly 'how-to' type movies that center on teaching people about doing the GenoType measurements. I've upgraded to Final Cut Pro 6 and I am entirely happy with it.
'What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.'
-Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death
Huxley wins in overtime.
It's interesting to gauge the expert reactions to this diet theory. A lot of professionals, including a few naturopathic colleagues, seem to think that they have to abandon every long-held notion to accept (or maybe allow) this idea to penetrate their thinking.
Personally, I think this is wide of the mark. The BTD and the GTD are concepts that can be used in a wide variety of permutations, certainly much more than simply determining a person's blood type and giving them diet advice.
Perhaps if they just relaxed their shoulders and bit and slowly exhaled, they might discover that the idea really doesn't require you to 'Drink the Koolaid'.
As my colleague Dr. Natalie Colicci said to me the other day, 'these are all healthy, whole foods diets... with perhaps the added value of having a better than average benefit in some folks versus others.'
The etymology of pathos, pathetic and pathological are all the same. They come from the Greek word ('pathologia') that is the name for the study of emotions.
Can you judge a book by its cover? What about if you don't even have a cover?
Recently my publisher leaked a tidbit about The GenoType Diet to one of those glossy woman's magazines. In an article of perhaps two whole paragraphs the editors chose to mention my book and another one I had never heard of as two of the new books on genes and diet.
Anyway, after a quick trial and summary execution from the resident expert, the reader was essentially advised to read the book not written by me.
Now, in case you don't already know, virtually all the women's magazines are the lock and stock domain of organization shills for professional nutrition associations, which is why the advice in these ad-driven magazines is so generic and inoffensive. Though they act the part of impartial consumer advocates, most glossy womens magazines are in the diet business themselves, usually cranking out a 'new' one with every issue.
I doubt that the resident experts ever laid eyes on a copy of The GenoType Diet. The manuscript wasn't ready in time to send them a galley copy.
So here we are. 'Experts' now tell us to avoid reading something they've never read.