Posts Tagged ‘health’
by adminadam in articles
Alternatives to radiation and chemotherapy for cancer patients
First it is important to note that the information presented here should not be construed as professional medical advice. You should follow your doctor’s recommendations. For many people radiation and/or chemotherapy are indispensable and the only alternative is death.
If you are currently undergoing either radiation or chemo regimens follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. For instance it is dangerous and counter-productive to take Vitamin C while undergoing radiation. While it may be recommended otherwise you want the oxidizing radiation to do its work — thus antioxidants like C are a hindrance to this process in their way of gobbling up free radicals. Again, listen first to your doctor…
Now for our article…
Most people have some cancer cells in their body. The reason we are unaware of this fact is that cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion in number. If your doctor were to treat you for cancer and then declare that you no longer had any cancer cells remaining, this declaration would likely indicate only that none remained above the threshold of detectability.
On the Immune System:
It is important to note that cancer cells will emerge between 6 and 10 times in the average person’s life. When the immune system is strong, however, in many cases the body can destroy cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying and forming tumors. Thus, when a person has cancer it can sometimes be an indicator of nutritional deficiencies of various sorts. These deficiencies can stem from genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors. In order to bolster the immune system and address such nutritional deficiencies, diet, exercise, and supplementation are essential (more on this later). This can help the body to fight cancer by itself.
Chemotherapy involves the poisoning of rapidly-growing (cancer) cells. This also destroys the body’s other rapidly growing cells, namely: bone marrow cells, the cells of the gastrointestinal tract, and many others. This form of treatment is also likely to damage vital organs: the liver, the kidneys, the heart, and the lungs.
Radiation destroys cancer cells but it also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs – similar to chemotherapy but using different (electromagnetic) means.
Further Limitations of Traditional Cancer Treatments:
Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However, prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in greater reduction in or shrinkage of tumors.
When the body has accumulated too much toxic burden (or too much damage) from chemotherapy and radiation, the immune system can be said to be in a ‘compromised’ state. This exacerbates other health problems in general, of course, and makes you susceptible to a number of otherwise trivial infections and ailments.
At this point we are left with surgery – and while it is sometimes necessary and successful (just like the other traditional treatments), surgery in itself also poses the risk of spreading malignant cells to other sites in the body.
Back to Basics!
One effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells of vital nutrients.
What do cancer cells feed on?
Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar you cut off one of the most useful sources of energy to cancer cells. Note: Intake of artificial sweeteners can also be detrimental, especially those containing Aspartame. Avoid eating too many sweets.
Milk and dairy products cause the body to produce excess mucus, especially in the gastrointestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus and inflammation. Use milk substitutes to thwart cancer cells. Flax, soy, almond, rice, and oat milk are all good substitutes.
Acidic conditions in the body are a boon to cancer. One of the most acidic food types is meat. Avoid beef and pork if possible. Aim for lean meats from animals that are not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or genetically-modified foods to eat. Limiting meat intake is also beneficial in general insofar as it eases the burden on digestion and helps you avoid many of the parasites that come with meat (yes, even in this day and age!). Consider substituting meat with products derived from beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains (more on healthy foods below).
A diet comprised largely of fresh vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, and mushrooms helps create alkaline conditions in the body. All that fiber is really good for you. And you need all the macro, micro, and phyto-nutrients in these whole foods to get your body back into the ring, so to speak.
With the exception of the beans and lentils, the rawer the better – active, useful enzymes from whole foods are destroyed at temperatures greater than 104°F/40°C. To obtain such live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh, raw vegetable juice in the form of a smoothie. Consider including chlorella, spirulina, and bean sprouts – they’re great immune system boosters! Whole fruit can be very good too, but remember that you are trying to minimize sugar intake here.
Pure, filtered water, exercise, and plenty of sleep (in a dark room) are highly underrated in terms of the role they play in fighting cancer. Simply put you need all three in large quantities.
Try starting with daily walks, push-ups, and sit-ups. If you begin exercising more, you will also probably find yourself drinking more water naturally, and sleeping more deeply and easily as well. This is a positive feedback-loop, or perhaps we should call it a Synergistic Health-Boosting Vector Trajectory..! Ok, ok, let’s keep it simple then. How about “Nutrition, Exercise, Water, and Sleep”. It’s good NEWS – get it? Just give it some encouragement and you can let your body do its thing!
Other foods and forms of supplementation to consider:
- Garlic – The superfood to beat. Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, etc. I take it chopped up (finely) and swallow the (raw) pieces with a big glass of water at the first sign of a cold.
- Turmeric – One of the best anti-inflammatory foods available. It adds nice flavors to food too.
- Melatonin – A natural hormone your body releases when you sleep (in dark spaces). Be careful to protect your personal stock of melatonin by turning off all screens that shine into your face (such as this one) 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Supplements come in 3mg doses generally. Melatonin effectively turns off cell division while you sleep as one of the key mechanisms of homeostasis (body maintenance) – this means cancer cells aren’t growing while you sleep!
- Vitamin C – General health booster extraordinaire!
- Vitamin D – The sun vitamin. Prevalent in oily fish. One of the only vitamins proven to help prevent disease through supplementation in pill form.
- B Vitamins – These perform a wide variety of roles in your body. B6 and B12 are particularly important to supplement in times of illness, but can be obtained through healthy, whole foods at adequate levels.
Fight the Holistic Fight:
Remember that cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Likewise, a prolonged angry and bitter response to illness may shorten your life.
Learn to relax, remember to breathe, and try to enjoy life to the fullest.
by adminadam in articles
Nootropics (say “Noah-Traw-Pics”) are drugs that provide some form of cognitive enhancement and yet are shown to be, if not neuroprotective, at least non-toxic and safe to use. These drugs work by A) making certain neurochemicals more available in the brain, B) by increasing the brain’s oxygen supply, or C) by stimulating nerve growth.
I first became interested in smart drugs (and subsequently nootropics) when a friend in college told me she took Adderall occasionally to boost her productivity (a non-ADHD-related use). She told me she could easily stay awake for 24+ hours and feel alert, clean her dorm room from top to bottom, write a paper or two, and so on. It should be noted, however, that in speaking of nootropics, we should not include Adderall, because it has numerous potential side-effects that may stem from non-prescription use: addiction, heart problems, depression, nausea, etc. (source: webmd)
A powerful and commonly-used smart drug these days is Modafinil. It is a “wakefulness promoting agent”, meaning it keeps you awake and alert, and is prescribed generally for narcolepsy and other sleeping disorders, in addition to ADD. It is has been used by soldiers on long missions and even by Canadian astronauts serving on the International Space Station. As noted by Andrew McMillan, a Journalist for Rolling Stones (Australia) who experimented with the drug, while it may not be addictive, after three consecutive days on the drug — staying up for 79 out 90 hours:
I felt as though I’m not making sense, and that those around me are acutely aware of this. I feel in control, but my mind is racing faster than my mouth can keep up. … Around 2am, I note that I’ve got an impending feeling of doom going on. Like I’m riding this too far, and it’s about to start doing some serious damage.
After sleeping a full-night’s sleep and erasing some of his sleep debt, he remarks further:
I reflect on how my views toward modafinil have veered between utter devotion to, now, in the cold light of day, a realisation that it’s probably not a good idea to be taking that shit on consecutive days.
Despite the illegality of off-label use in most places, one study in the journal Nature estimated that up to 25% of students at some campuses had taken neuroenhancing drugs like Modafinil in the past year. Many students have reported that it helps them to stay alert and perform — both mentally and physically — and that when final exams approach, the temptation to ‘take something’ can be overwhelming.
It seems that, as it’s not a safe long-term solution to the desire to enhance cognitive function, perhaps it is best to look at other (and more legal) options for those that would like to improve their memory, accelerate their learning, or simply be able to work longer each day. I have no qualms with people enhancing or hacking their bodies or their metabolism; I exercise and take numerous supplements myself (including turmeric, garlic, vitamin C, vitamin D, melatonin, and a few others). Indeed, even healthy (read: non-super) foods can improve brain function. And who among us wouldn’t like to stave off Alzheimer’s, right? So, with that pre-emptive counter-argument to the “But taking drugs is like cheating, man!” argument, I present you with my Thrivenotes List of Safe* Nootropics for your consideration — these should all be milder, safer, and more effective over the long-term, according to my research**:
- PIRACETAM + CDP-CHOLINE — Piracetam is a safe and effective cognitive enhancer that is thought to restore membrane fluidity of compromised neuronal cells (helping with neuro- transmission, protection, and plasticity). It was first used in the 1960′s to combat motion sickness. Its companion (I’ve listed them together intentionally) is CDP-Choline, which is a choline supplement, so it increases the amount of choline available to the brain. (Choline, or Acetylcholine, more properly, is one of the primary neurotransmitters in your brain; without sufficient choline, your brain can’t function well.) [Read more about both of these substances, including how they work together, at SmarterNootropics.com]
- ANIRACETAM — Similar to Pricetam, being in the “racetam” family, but this is a fat-soluble version. It may be worth checking out due to the fact that you can take it at greater intervals, as in just once a day. [See more here: smarternootropics.com/table-of-contents/aniracetam/.]
- PYRITINOL — Pyritinol is a modified form of vitamin-B6. It is two B6 molecules combined together so that — when broken down by your body — they can easily cross the blood/brain barrier to help with neurotransmitter synthesis. It has been shown to improve reaction time in individuals in time-based tests and is used to help treat dementia in some places in Europe. It has been in use as a nootropic since the 1990′s. (Interesting to note that it is also known as an effective “hangover cure”.)
- MAGNESIUM L-THREONATE — While magnesium is apparently one of the most deficient minerals in the American diet, eating foods high in the mineral and taking supplements is unlikely to positively impact your brain for the reason that these forms of magnesium cannot easily pass through the blood/brain barrier. With this challenge and the knowledge that in-brain magnesium is vital to synapse density, recognition memory, and spatial working memory, MIT sought to find a form that can easily get where it needs to go, hence: Magnesium L-Threonate, or MgT. In lab animals given it it led to 18% improvements in short-term memory and 100% improvements in long-term memory. It is currently being tested in human trials.
There we have it — four nootropics for the uninitiated to look into! Please let me know in the comments if you have insights into (or experience related to) these or other cognitive enhancers.
* I am not a doctor and do not recommend anyone take these drugs or supplements based purely on my advice. You should do your own research and consult your doctor before taking anything. Please!
** Admittedly, my research into this area is only around eight hours total. I am not an expert — I am just curious.
- Geriatrics works on treating pathology – cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease – but much too late in the game to extend lifespan.
- Gerontology attempts to prevent aging by adjusting a very complex system, the metabolism (see picture below). This can have many unwanted side effects. Thus, progress in this field is very difficult.
- Maintenance and rejuvenation extend lifespan by repairing damage, a process which can be repeated and, itself, improved upon in a parallel process to overall technological progress. All this without altering or disrupting the metabolism.
- Longevity Escape Velocity (L.E.V.): Even marginal rates of advancement in treatment efficacy can exponentially increase life span when considered over periods in which patients receive rejuvenations every 20 years; each treatment removes greater amounts of damage, more comprehensively.
- Key Claim of L.E.V.: Eventually our ability to maintain health will hit a threshold at which our medical technology will effectively increase average life span by one year each year (or more). This will eliminate any diminishing returns in damage repair efforts; we will be able to repair more damage in one year than can actually be accumulated during that year. This is what de Grey refers to as “the Methuselarity”.
A new study from UC Davis is showing that meditation can, over-time, help to increase your telomerase, a vital rejuvenating enzyme that extends the life of cells and helps to repair damage. The key is in meditation’s ability to reduce stress levels. Stronger psychologically; stronger physiologically. Clifford Saron, a researcher who contributed to the study, had this to say:
“The take-home message from this work is not that meditation directly increases telomerase activity and therefore a person’s health and longevity, rather, meditation may improve a person’s psychological well-being and in turn these changes are related to telomerase activity in immune cells, which has the potential to promote longevity in those cells. Activities that increase a person’s sense of well-being may have a profound effect on the most fundamental aspects of their physiology.”
The participants in the experimental group underwent intensive training during a three-month retreat, and, compared to the control group, generally showed greater ability to avoid neuroticism/negative emotionality, in addition to feeling more in control of their lives and aware of themselves by the end of the study. I personally find this a very encouraging link between mind and body. I used to meditate more often and connected this with the Buddhist philosophical mindset that I had created for myself. While I no longer would link as much of my purpose in life to such Buddhist ideals as infinite compassion and the complete elimination of suffering, I still enjoy a contemplative kind of meditation every once in a while, where I merely try to watch my thoughts float on through my head.
The aim in a large part of the various meditation methods is to ‘observe without judgment’ and become aware of your own mind and how it works. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a sitting-down, lotus-position, focused-breathing type task, but some structure seems to be helpful if we look at the volunteers in the UC Davis study, who practiced in a group setting for two hours a day, and in solitude for an average of about six hours a day. This is an intensive dedication to structure which is surely unrealistic to any normal working person, unless of course you are a ‘paid meditator’. But I digress…
You may not have 8 hours a day to train your mind and sharpen your awareness, but as little as 10 minutes I find often helps me regain my emotional footing during turbulent times. Here are a few different techniques for you to try out… And may they fuel your telomerase production through improved mental health!
- Impermanence Meditation: Think on happy and unhappy events/times in your life. Think back and notice how all these things change and nothing is permanent. As you recall an experience, say to yourself “This is also impermanent.” or “This too will pass.” This I have often tried as I am falling asleep, my head full of fantasies and worries for the coming day. It calms me down to think of the transient nature of everything like this. You may find it useful, too.
- Watching the Dust Cloud: The mind is constantly churning with thoughts. Trying to stop yourself from thinking anything is generally futile, like trying to clear the motes of dust floating in a sunbeam by throwing spears at individual specks; every time you throw a spear, the whole cloud just gets kicked up again. Wait and the dust settles. Here, the idea is to compassionately note to yourself, “Thinking, good buddy…” and choose a focus point — your breath going out, the look of the back inner side of your eyelids, the sounds you are hearing, whatever you want. Choose a focus point and notice yourself thinking. Let the quiet enter naturally and you should finish feeling quite refreshed — but I will warn you that I have spent up to 45 minutes working towards this clear-mind-feeling, although it was worth it in the end. The realization that you are having no thoughts fill your head is singular and also quite exciting.
- A Healing Light: Good for relaxing the body. In this exercise, the practitioner images a brilliant source of healing light wandering slowly and meticulously over every section of the body. As it does it’s healing work in your mind, you feel the sensation in your toes, then the bottoms, then the tops of your feet, and working slowly up the legs and torso, out onto the arms, and up the neck to the face and head, the light sets your body tingling… Even without an imaginary light source, “feeling” your toes, feet, legs, torso, arms and head one-by-one is a revitalizing mental massage.
- Tonglen Meditation: This one I get from Pema Chodron. It is meant to provide illumination in dark and hopeless times. You start with the assumption and, well, fact — that despite the level of your woes, there are those out in the world who are worse-off, those who live with great suffering: Hunger, disease, poverty, chronic stress, intense anger, resentment, jealousy, deep-seated negativity, and more. To awaken the Buddha inside of you — or perhaps Inner Light for those not so keen on Inner-Buddha — one must continue to develop empathetic skills. In Tonglen Meditation, one breathes in (symbolically) the black, poison smoke of suffering, lightening the burdens of fellow human beings, and then breathes out peace, love, wisdom, hope, and happiness, in a clear, cleansing breathe of light. Taking in suffering, breathing out release from suffering. The target may be an individual as well, a mourning mother, a drug-addicted father, a lonely child, a relative who is ill, anyone you choose. To cleanse others awakens the Inner-light, the Inner-Buddha, who can more easily see the transient, unjust, and cyclic side of things. This helps to develop compassion and empathy, and put things in one’s own life in perspective.
by adminadam in articles
I was amazed to hear of the newly possible DNA-based logic gates presented in this article at PopSci (world’s first DNA based logic gates could lead to injectable bio-computers). My mind is abuzz with extropic potential. Here’s my short version…
Researchers at Hebrew University recently produced a set of self-maintaining XOR logic gates built entirely out of DNA. These gates are designed to indicate the presence of specific physiological conditions and then produce an output, most likely a biochemical signal which can feed into other systems and even (eventually) trigger the release of needed chemicals, hormones, or medicines, like aspirin, for example, if a heart attack is detected.
The article states that these gates “can be wired in series, each one creating a new output that serves as the input for the next gate, the basis for complex calculations.” You certainly can’t get much more extropic than that. I was quite impressed and decided to leave my thoughts as follows on the PopSci site:
Like any new tech there are huge potential risks and benefits… I just figure it will get worked out over the years and tested thoroughly before becoming publicly available.
Imagine though, say it could detect the impact from a car crash and release some hydrogen sulfide into your blood at the same time, preserving you for the doctors to treat in the ER. Or say, make your skin turn purple if there’s too much carbon monoxide in the air, or supplement your body’s naturally-declining nightly release of melatonin to help you sleep soundly. Etc, etc.
Privacy and undetectable-assassination risks notwithstanding, in theory you get a greatly enhanced ‘portable’ healthcare package that might just grant you a few extra lives.
Magnets Guide Stem Cells towards Damaged Heart
Stem cells have great potential in medicine as they can be coaxed into becoming any type of cell. But for all their dynamism, researchers have had a tough time getting them to stay put.
At Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, where a team lead by Dr. Eduardo Marbán first isolated and grew stem cells to replace damaged human heart tissue, it was discovered that only 10% of cells on average stay where they are meant to do their miraculous healing. Other cells placed near the heart are swept away by the blood stream or squeezed out by the heart muscles themselves.
The most promising solution to this has been to load up the cells with micro-sized iron particles so they can be guided with magnets. At Cedars-Sinai they placed a magnet right above the damaged tissue of a rat’s heart and found that more than triple the normal amount of stem cells were retained, leading to much more effective healing. (See the study: here)
Trials are moving forward and if all goes well this strategy will be combined with the institute’s already innovative heart stem-cell procedures.
That’s the kind of extropy hack that will keep us all fit and strong. Just imagine similar stem cells being guided up and coaxed into healthy brain tissue to help fight Alzheimer’s!
Pluripotent Stem Cells
The seven aging mechanisms that run down our bodies are:
- Loss and atrophy of cells
- Accumulation of unnecessary cells
- Chromosomal mutation
- Mitochondrial mutation
- Intracellular junk
- Extracellular junk
- Cross-links in extracellular proteins
Before gerontology comes to the rescue, you’ll have to take care of your own cells in the following ways:
- Exercise – Preferably up to 1 hour a day, the more the better. Weights, walking, swimming, yoga, you name it. Personally, I love weights, the stationary bike, and soccer.
- Sleep – 7+ Z’s per night will do you good.
- Proper nutrition: In addition to fruits and vegetables, try throwing in some reservatrol (wine) and melatonin (use the supplement, or darken your sleeping area) to combat free-radicals, and perhaps lower your calorie intake (caloric restriction).
- Lower your stress and blood pressure levels: Meditation, exercise, laughing, walking, talking with friends, creativity, making art and music — these are all good things.
- Keep your mind in gear: Try to learn some synonyms, or read some great free books!
- Stay social to stay happy: Again, this will help with lowering your stress and blood-pressure.
- Keep up to date on important health research: try the Methuselah Foundation.
Read more about negligible senescence and what you can do to stay young and healthy.
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