Posted by: cg00n | July 30, 2008

Medical News

Nothing much has happened to me, personally, just recently although I am going to see the dermatologist tomorrow.  I don’t expect any surprises but I’ll blog about what happened when it has happened.

Three little pieces of news rose above the noise level this last week.  The first was a New Scientist article about a study in California looking at how diet and lifestyle affect the expression of genes.  Now, I never knew that genes had expressions, but I guess if they’re sad you might feel sicker than if they seem cheerful.  Anyway, the paper describing the study (PDF) is also available and it seems to suggest that eating good food, getting some exercise, lowering your stress level, and generally living a good, clean life may help fight cancer:

A 3-month comprehensive lifestyle modification was prescribed comprising a 3-day intensive residential retreat, followed by an outpatient phase where participants were in weekly telephone contact with a study nurse. Lifestyle modifications included a low-fat (10% of calories from fat), whole-foods, plant-based diet, stress management 60 min per day (gentle yoga-based stretching, breathing, meditation, imagery, and progressive relaxation), moderate aerobic exercise (walking 30 min per day for 6 days per week), and a 1-h group support session per week. The diet was supplemented with soy (1 daily serving of tofu plus 58 g of a fortified soy protein powdered beverage), fish oil (3 g daily), vitamin E (100 units daily), selenium (200 mg daily), and vitamin C (2 g daily). Participants were provided with all of their food during the intervention period. A registered dietitian, exercise physiologist, clinical psychologist, nurse, and stress management instructor were available for education and counseling.

Nothing we didn’t already know perhaps but I like to see my genes happy so I’ll try to do a bit more of the Right Stuff.

The second news item was pointed out to me by Dr. D.L. of Calgary.  This is a Boston Globe article about recent medical thinking regarding depression.  There appears to be an emerging view that depression is a neuro-degenerative disease, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, except that we have fairly effective drugs to control this one.  Prozac works, it is suggested, by encouraging the growth of new cells in certain critical parts of the brain.  The serotonin boost is more or less a side effect.  Fascinating.  I remember an article some years ago about migraines claiming that those also cause brain damage.  It’s a wonder I’ve got anything left with which to think.

Finally, a friend gave me an actual page ripped out of the June 2008 Scientific American.  How retro is that?  I mean, actual ink on actual paper physically handed from one person to another:  hardly ever happens to me anymore.  Anyway, this article is about blogging and how it might trigger dopamine release.  It says:

A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not.

Well, it works for me.  I wonder if I write something like “DIE, nefarious melanoma!” often enough that it will keep the CAT scans clean?  Worth a try.

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Responses

  1. You are doing all the right things … and I think have done a good job of looking after yourself (and P & A) for years. And I had no idea that Prozac created the growth of new brain cells!

  2. Just stumbled on your blog site again since I have it on the menu bar. This moving activity has absorbed all of my energy and time and will continue to do so for a long time. Nevertheless, I’m already working at the writing task aimed for in this new location.

    Glad that you are trying all of the right stuff for maintaining health and blocking the blahs as well as the cancer cells. Keeping the blog current is good for all of us as well as yourself and family.

    I’m so fortunate to have my own family near me here, though I do miss the Calgarians and the Bramwells. Annette was wonderful in sending me off with fun, mementos and lots of cheese and maple syrup. Only she can explain these latter items.

    Keep your genes happy. Helen

  3. love your twisted sense of humor.
    Today, Arthur said: Puffin peanut butter puffs, and I heard: puffing peanut butter puffs (out behind the bathrooms at school). Mondegreens–can’t live with them, can’t not make them.


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