Well…

As expected, I went in for my check-up today and they said I couldn’t have it until I got my blood  work done. A week ago I called and asked to speak to my doctor’s office. They asked why. I said I wanted to make sure the order for my blood work was sent. They said I couldn’t get an order for my blood work until after I saw my doctor.

So, today I got my blood work done and I have to go back in a week and a half for my check-up that was supposed to happen today….

Misc.

Today was the first day this year that we actually went outside and walked. Up until now we either haven’t exercised or used our elliptical machine. I have to admit that I was super happy to get out in the fresh air. I’m hoping the weather will continue to be nice enough to walk outside but it seems tomorrow there’s a 90% chance of rain.

I’m moving away from Kindle. When I was living in Washington state I was a big Kindle fan. I liked the idea that you could take all your books with you. But now that I’m home most of the time and trying not to spend so much time looking at screens and getting annoyed at how badly some books are formatted in their Kindle versions and getting further annoyed at some books that have content in their book format that’s missing from the Kindle version and getting annoyed at the fact that I’m annoyed at myself for buying some books and they continue to show up on my Kindle reminding me of those damn books that I shouldn’t have bought but did, well, lately I just find myself buying physical books. And I’m happier.

Lately I’ve been playing Age of Empires. This is a game I played a lot years ago and for some reason I’m playing it again this year. It’s a time waster and I know that at some point I’ll have to put it away again but for know I’m really enjoying playing it again.

Tomorrow I go in for a checkup. My LDL was high the last time I was in (April, 2016) and I’ve made some changes to see if they will affect it. I guess we’ll find out soon. I was thinking I could find out tomorrow but when I called the Centegra office last week to ask about getting my blood work done before my checkup the lady on the phone told me they don’t do that. It seemed strange to me and I’ll ask about it tomorrow. It seems to me that it would be good to have the lab results at the checkup.

We have duck eggs again! The farm we get them from hasn’t had them for most of the winter but it looks like the ducks are laying again. This makes me happy every morning.

That’s about it  for today.

Tripping over the Truth, Travis Christofferson – Wrap Up

This is the first time I did a (many) multi-part review of a particular book. Why? Well, as soon as I finished it I immediately wanted to go back and read it again, taking in all the details. Writing them down as I went helped me understand the book even better.

This book made quite an impression on me. As I mentioned in the first part, I was primed by a desire to know more about cancer and how to deal with it. I was also primed by my recent focus on my own health (nutrition, sleep, stress, exercise). I also wanted to know the latest thinking on cancer and how to deal with it and this was a relatively recent book.

More than that, though, is that it’s a great, well-written book. Christofferson is a great story teller. He also has the ability to explain opaque and difficult (to me at least) scientific concepts in an understandable (to me at least) way. More than in my brief descriptions of the characters in this story, he also does great biographical summaries of those characters.

This is probably my favorite book that I’ve read in the past few years. Highly recommended for those who are curious about cancer and especially its history. Or for those who just like a great story well written.

Tripping over the Truth, Travis Christofferson – Part 7 and Appendices

Cancer is increasing and will soon become our number one killer. The W.H.O. reports that the number of people  will increase from the current 14 million per year to 19 million by 2025, 22 million by 2030, and 24 million by 2035. The great book on the history of the fight against cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies, ends on a discouraging note. The author of that book believes that cancer is purely genetic in nature; complex and inevitable.

At the time of the Christofferson’s book’s writing (2014) most researchers believed the genetic theory of cancer. But what if it was not so “simple”? The idea that cancer was caused by genetic mutations became harder and harder to justify as more research was done. Among those who held to the genetic theory of cancer, the research felt like a dead end after multiple episodes that started so hopefully.

But what if cancer is not that? Given what researchers knew at the time, the genetic theory made sense. And when a theory looks elegant and makes sense given that context maybe the tendency is to hold onto it, even in the face of confounding research.

The metabolic theory of cancer leads to quite different approaches to treatment than what is now mainstream. It paints cancer as a disease with a single, understandable flaw – it cannot continue without the glucose it needs for energy. Unlike cancer cells, healthy cells can adapt to ketosis and thrive.

The genetic (SMT) theory sees cancer as an infinitely complex disease, always mutating and one step ahead of treatments. The metabolic theory sees cancer as “damaged cells trying to survive in their own misguided way.”

The metabolic theory is just starting to gain traction. Rather than feeling like a dead end, these early attempts foreshadow a more hopeful future in the continuing quest to solve the problem of cancer.

 

The book ends with two appendices. The first gives guidance on how to implement R-KD and what can be done in conjunction with it. Appendix B lists some doctors and nutritionists that are familiar with metabolic cancer treatments and may be willing to help.

All Good Things Disappear

Every time she opened the box there was that anticipation. Would she get one? It didn’t always happen. They were definitely in the minority. She pulled away from the drive-through and into a parking space. She turned the engine off.

Sticking her hand into the bag, she fished out one of the two small plastic containers and peeled the foil back. The familiar thick, yellow sauce seemed almost to greet her. Then, the main event.

From the same bag she pulled out a larger box. She opened it. Inside was the treasure, the golden brown morsels. Ten of them. She reached into the box and took one out. Into the sauce and then into her mouth…

Not this one. This one was white meat. She tried another. White meat again. Finally on the third, there it was. Dark meat. For her, it was the best. The taste of dark meat chicken mixed with the hot mustard sauce was the best. She savored it. There would be only one more like it in this box. Still, there were times when there were none. So today was a good day.

 

Later that week she heard it on the radio. They were changing things. Chicken McNuggets would now be white meat only. The way they said it on the commercial sounded like they thought this was a good thing but to her it was incomprehensible. How could they do this?

Another in series of disappointments in life. Another pleasure cruelly yanked away. At that moment she vowed to never eat at McDonald’s again.

Tripping over the Truth, Travis Christofferson – Part 6E

…Watson’s released a paper in 2012 (which he called his most important since the double helix), “Oxidants, Antioxidants and the Current Incurability of Metastatic Cancers,” which highlighted the relationship between free-radical (also called reactive oxygen species, ROS) inducing cancer treatments and antioxidants in cancer cells. Watson noted that many cancer treatments work by overloading cancer cells with ROS which kill the cancer cells. Watson also noted that antioxidants, which many claimed were healthy, might make these cancer treatments less effective or even cause cancer. In essence, antioxidants may help keep cancer cells healthy in the face of ROS. The R-KD, on on the other hand, cut off the cancer cell’s ability to make the antioxidant glutathione making it more susceptible to those cancer treatments.

Valter Longo, a researcher at USC, tried to test the effect of fasting on the side effects of chemotherapy but ran into problems trying to recruit patients. Oncologist were skeptical. He eventually convinced ten oncologists with patients with a variety of cancers to try a pre-chemo and post-chemo water-only fast. All reported less severe side effects

Another related question was whether R-KD helped cancer cells be more vulnerable to chemo therapies. A group at the Barrow Neurological Institute Institute in Arizona showed that it did in a mice study. These and other studies showed that being in the state of ketosis helped protect healthy cells and improved the effectiveness of ROS-inducing cancer treatments.

 

In 2012, the FDA approved the first of a new kind of cancer drug, ipilimumab, that attempted to work with the immune system against cancer. This kind of drug works by releasing some of the controls on aggressive immune cells. The theory was an elegant idea, but in a trial of 540 patients, 3 saw their cancer go away but fourteen died. The course of treatment was four infusions over three months. The cost: $120,000.

 

Dominic D’Agostino, a research professor at the University of South Florida, received a grant from the Navy to study the effects of oxygen toxicity on cells. This is related to improving performance of Navy SEAL divers. They used a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to test the effect of increased oxygen pressure on different types of cells. One particular type of cell was particularly vulnerable – glioblastoma cells from a stage 4 cancer patient.

D’Agostino had also done work with nutritional ketosis. This was to possibly reduce seizures that SEAL divers sometimes got from oxygen toxicity. Putting these two effects together, he showed that ketones could kill cancer cells. He read Seyfried’s journal article on cancer and it made sense given what he was seeing in his research work. He called Seyfried and they worked together on a mouse experiment to measure the effect of Seyfried’s R-KD with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. They found that separately the two treatments slowed the growth of tumors but together they were even more effective. Mean survival went from 56.7% with diet alone to 77.9%.

Rather than seeing cancer therapy as a war with the disease, Seyfried and D’Agostino see it more like an ecosystem. They see the diet as making cancer weak and vulnerable and the metabolic therapies pushing them over the edge. R-KD with hyperbaric oxygen therapy leaves patients healthier and is also dirt cheap compared to radiation. However, radiation oncology is the most lucrative branch of medicine. There is likely to be resistance. Similarly, 3BP also has the possibility to revolutionize cancer treatment. It is largely non-toxic and could potentially work on any PET-positive cancer (95% of all cancers). 3BP treatment would likely cost less than $100 (the cost of the treatment mentioned in part 3C of this book review). These metabolic treatments show great promise but because they are so cheap (in the case of the diet, free), it is hard to get funding for trials. No one would make much money if these treatments became mainstream.

The “Fiction” Tag

Today on my blog I introduce the “Fiction” tag. This tag will go on posts that are not necessarily true. They may be just writing exercises, or sketches. They may be small, even snippets. I’m thinking of them as  short (or maybe some will end up being not so short) R&D or probes for longer form writing.

We’ll see how this thing actually works as time goes on.