Been working on a sort of 'unification software' that allows me to input bio-impedance results, polymorphic data, clinical impressions and biometrics into a 'heuristic' database model, then pull out relevant analytic data. I'm mostly working in VB.Net, which is a lot like VBA programming in Access, and which you may remember from previous blogs, I hate. However it is the only way to go (other than writing for straight old DOS, which would not be without its charm) since VB.Net gives you all the nice-nice Windows accouterments like buttons and pull-down menus.
Haven't trained all that much the last week as I had the flu last week. Probably a sign that I needed to cut back on my work schedule, since I have been burning the candle on both ends these last few weeks getting ready for the conference, maintaining a heavy patient load in the clinic, doing all this programming, while also training and trying to act like a husband and father around the house. Feel much better now and unfortunately have that burst of energy that often accompanies one's returning health fortunes.
Sadly, a bright shining soul from the old days on this website is slipping away rapidly from end-stage breast cancer. I've never actually met her face to face, but we corresponded often, and I so enjoyed her witty emails. You don't practice medicine for twenty-three years and not get somewhat inured to the whole death thing, but still, some circumstances are more difficult than others.
Many, many years ago I remember my grandmother saying that 'The world is a cruel place, and there is no justice.' At the time, all I could think was 'Gee, what a downer, to see the world in only those negative terms.'
Yet there is a reality in that harsh assessment. The world can be cruel. There is not a lot of justice.
Not in this Nature, not in this Solar System.
But we humans are one of the few species capable of altruism. We sometimes practice compassion, we can often empathize. As time went on, I began to really think about my grandmother's assessment of the world, and started to get the point. It wasn't the cruelty and injustice that was the focus; they will always be part of our existence. It was the challenge of working on myself to acknowledge and be thankful for the times when someone 'did the right thing' or extended a kindness to me.
If this was true, then bad things did have a purpose.
There is cruelty and injustice in the world because most of us are simply not evolved enough to learn by pleasure; we must learn by pain. Think of the abundance of material goods in the Western world. By this token we should the most appreciative population in human history. But instead our abundance just begets our further acquisitiveness, and as the Buddhists believe, desire is the root of all suffering.
The impersonal and unjust nature of suffering harkens us back to the acknowledgment of reality and its random and ephemeral nature. Further, when calamity befalls one who otherwise would be among the least deserving, the lesson is reinforced by its own pathos.
I often tell patients with a recent diagnosis of cancer that one element in their life almost always changes for the better; their prior level of assumption.
I've often used this example:
Imagine you are driving in you nice late model car, along a modern interstate. The air conditioner is on, keeping the interior a crisp 68 degrees. The stereo is playing your favorite music in surround-sound. You are zooming along at 65 mile per hour, the suspension air-cushioning any potholes and bumps. The windows provide views of rolling countryside gently moving along.
In the midst of all this control, there are assumptions and expectations. The car will continue to move. You will enjoy the next song. The temperature will stay the same. These assumptions leave time for other things, like arguing about whom does the most work around the house, or threatening the kids with punishment unless they stop bickering.
Then it happens.
The car's timing belt snaps. Now the engine dies. You steer the car over to the side of the road. The landscape that previously passed so effortlessly in front of you is now frozen solid. Now you feel the humidity, hear the bugs. The guardrail that you would never have noticed before now looks like a pretty good place to sit down. Now you have to depend on your spouse to figure out a way out of this mess and you know that first and foremost you are going to have to find a way to protect your kids.
If we understand this, we then understand that it is not just â€˜sad' when 'bad things happen to nice people.' It is critically important for our growth, and that is why it persists.
'There Was A Savior'
There was a saviour
Rarer than radium,
Commoner than water, crueler than truth;
Children kept from the sun
Assembled at his tongue
To hear the golden note turn in a groove,
Prisoners of wishes locked their eyes
In the jails and studies of his keyless smiles.
Yesterday I cleaned an old brass plaque that says:
Peter J. D'Adamo, ND
It was severely tarnished, and it took a long time to shine it up, but after a while it really came to life.
The plaque once hung on the door of my first office in Connecticut, at 54 Lafayette Place in Greenwich. After I moved from that location there never seemed to be an appropriate place to hang it, so, as sort of a joke, I hung it on the door to my home office.
Then the other day I thought, "I'd like to hang that plaque on the outside of the new clinic."
So I pulled it down, shined it up, and went over to the worksite to tell the carpenter where I wanted it hung.
Interestingly, the last time it hung on a office:
1. I was just starting in private practice.
2. The practice was in a house.
3. I was spiritually invested.
Perhaps that old plaque will bring some of the old energy with it.
On another note, I reformatted and cleaned up the Clinic Website. There are some neat things over there, such as downloadable pamphlets, etc. Give it a look.
"Hi there. The study by Michael Dansinger of Tufts-New England Medical Centre in Boston may be of interest to you, if you haven't already heard about it: "One diet won't work for everyone, scientists warn slimmers" (Guardian, UK) They tested Atkins, Ornish, Zone and WeightWatchers. Why not Blood Group??? Best regards, Aidan"
The Dansinger study is interesting. For the study, he chose 160 overweight people and randomly assigned 40 to each of four different diets. They weighed an average 100kg and needed to lose between 13 and 35kg. All agreed to follow the diets to the best of their ability for two months, although none was enrolled in the full programmes that Weight Watchers and Dr Dean Ornish advocate. These include exercise, group meetings and food diaries for Weight Watchers and stress reduction for the Ornish diet. After two months, 22 per cent of the dieters had given up. After a year, 35 per cent had dropped out of Weight Watchers and the Zone diets and 50 per cent quit the Atkins and Ornish plans.
The study suggests there is no one-size-fits-all diet best for everyone. Wonder where I hear that one?
"The best way might be to be open minded about all of the options rather than focusing on finding the same 'best one' for everybody says Dansinger."
I think they were probably looking for diets that could go head-to-head with each other, and the BTD really can't be used for that. I remember a while back Wired magazine compared popular diets, and when they profiled the BTD, they used the type O diet and avoided mentioning the A, B and AB diets altogether.
Been reading about a new class of cancer chemotherapy drug, called the epothilones, which seem to offer the promise of greater efficacy, with perhaps a special relevance for blood group A cancer patients. The epothilones are much like the taxol class of chemotherapy drugs in that they inhibit mitotic spindle degradation in the malignant cell (mitotic spindles are the delicate network of tubes that act as a scaffold for the migration of the split chromosomes as the become two new â€˜daughter cells.' In essence, promoting tubulin polymerziation prevents the mitotic spindle from being broken down by stabilizing the microtubule bundles, so the cell cannot replicate.
Taxol class chemotherapy drugs represent one of the most effective classes of anticancer therapeutics; however many human cancers either do not respond or become resistant to taxol-based therapy. Since 1995 Epothilone B, a new drug class sharing the same mechanism as taxol, has been in development. But, unlike taxol type drugs, epothilones have cytotoxic activity on cells overexpressing P-glycoprotein. P glycoprotein is rewsponsible in part, for drug resistance associated with many anti-cancer treatments.
This may be important for type A individuals, who appear to have increased level of p-glycoprotein in their malignancies, which may explain why in my clinical observances, they tend to be under-represented in the long term survivor groups. A drug that does not appear to be inhibited by p-glycoprotein may be just what the patient ordered.
In contrast to taxol class drugs, epothilones demonstrate a 2.5-fold greater potency than taxol, cause virtually complete cell-cycle arrest and are active in a large panel of cell lines and multi drug-resistant cancer types.
Obviously, I'm not a big fan of chemotherapy. But, as of right now, it is a part of the cancer treatment landscape and if it can be made to work better in certain individuals, so much the better.
I was up way to late last night watching the 24 hour 'Twilight Zone' marathon on the Sci-Fi channel, which featured the classic episode 'To Serve Man.'
The Kanamits, a race of nine foot tall space aliens, with big light bulb heads and curious little goatees, arrive on Earth, and immediately start helping man. They appear totally trustworthy and full of goodwill. This idea is backed up when they leave a book titled "To Serve Man" at the U.N. Michael Chambers, a decoding expert, along with thousands of other people book passage to the Kanamit's home panet. Meanwhile, Michael's assistant Pat is trying to decode the book left by the Kanamits. As Michael is boarding the Kanamit spacecraft, Pat runs up and tells Michael she has finished translating the book - it's a cookbook!
Besides the fact that it was shot in glorious black and white and gorgeously lit, the show had oddly moralistic endings, which were themselves often quite twisted. Not too scarey to a saucer-eyed kid in 1964 who could still run to his grandparents sitting in the kitchen if things got too intense.
This all-consuming soliloquy reminds me of a classic line from the Simpsons, during the opening credits of the Clown's holiday special:
"It's a Krusty Kinda Kristmas. Brought to you by ILG: selling your body's chemicals after you die. And by Li'l Sweetheart Cupcakes - a subsidiary of ILG."
Which of course reminds me of the famous scream by Charleton Heston that 'Soylet Green is made from humans!' or, even better, the repeated attempts of an Apache-necktied Heston parody on a long-ago Saturday Night Live trying to get the phrase just right.
Back soon with a 'heartier' blog!