Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mushrooms as Medicine with Paul Stamets

I could listen to Paul Stamets (One of the leading Mycology experts in the world) all day.  Super cool info.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Things I Don't Understand

Ever now and then I think to myself, this really doesn't make a lot of sense, I usually just move on, but I figured I would keep a list of them lately.


Ordering a Starbucks drink with room for cream, they put the lid on.  I then carry my covered drink 3 steps to the cream, take the lid off, pour in the cream and put the lid back on.  Why not just give me the drink with the lid off?  (maybe it's policy)

When a patient comes in as a new patient for you to look at something, (quite chronic) and they proceed to tell you they have a surgery scheduled for one week, but wanted to see if you could do anything.  This has happened so often, I quit keeping track.  A good rule of thumb, if you really want to avoid surgery, give yourself the same amount of time to see what can be done as the amount of time you will be in rehab.  So if you are having a shoulder surgery that requires 4 months of rehab, give yourself 4 months to see if indeed a surgery can be avoided.

People that do an exercise that they know hurts them even though they are doing it to feel better.   Every time I do the yoga twist my back is sore for days?  Why do you keep doing it?  I want my back to feel better.  Talk about an oxymoron!  This goes for every exercise.  I've had people tell me everything at some point.  Ask for an alternative, or figure out the why that exercise hurts.  But, don't keep banging your head against the wall hoping it solves your "headache."

People that tell me coffee is unhealthy.

The gap between what we know in physical education and actual school education.  There is researched well known facts, that are repeated over and over that shows direct relationship between physical activity, (gym, play, recess) and doing better in school.  Yet, it's getting systematically cut from the schools.  Ironically, these same schools are cutting it to chase better test scores.

You brush your teeth most likely 2x a day.  Your teeth can be replaced.  Dentures.  Do you want to do  But, it can be lived with.  How come no one does a musculoskeletal "cleaning" 2x a day.  Something as simple as a minute of cat/camel in the morning and evening.  You don't have the option of replacing your spine.  Your just old before your time.

People that tell me they don't like to read.  This statement is for foreign to me.  I grew up loving books and still do.  As a kid, you could travel to amazing adventures.  As an adult you can travel to amazing adventures, that you can actually plan on doing yourself!  Some books are also like the boiled down version of everything a person knows.  A person may have worked in a field for 30 years and then taken that 30 years of lessons/experience and boiled it down to 300 pages.  In a matter of hours you can download that 30 years for yourself.  Whenever I get a new book, I get a little excited and think about that scene in the Matrix where Neo downloads a new program..."I know Kung Fu."

People that expect to be good at something they have never done.  Being good at golf, doesn't make you good at swimming.  Lance Armstrong was downright mediocre as a runner, he was the best biker in the world.

Equating security for freedom.  This job has good health insurance so I'm staying at the job I hate.  That is self imprisonment.

Why my 16 month old can't sleep through the night.  Kid, give us some uninterrupted sleep.  We'd all be better off including you.

People are still smoking that are under 50 years old.  I give you an age break, because lets face it, addiction is a real thing.  I'm not going to judge that.  In the 50's and 60's they still had advertisements that it was healthy.  Presently, there is no room for misunderstanding.  It is horrible for your health.  No one thinks you look cool.  There is no possible reason to even try smoking.  Yet I still see younger people huddled in the freezing cold, puffing away their health and money.

Spending primo money on things you put on your body, clothes, lotions, shoes and looking to spend the least amount possible on the things you put in your body.

Young athletes that are looking for the keys to the kingdom, but ignore sound advice, like get 8 hours of sleep, drink lots of water and eat protein with every meal.  The next visit they are asking about some new supplement that is like 70 dollars.  You getting good sleep yet?  No, but I'm working on it. Have you ever heard of XYZ MAX PRO?  It's supposed to put on lean muscle really quick.  LOL.

I'm sure at some point I'll think of some more.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Random Thoughts and Notes

The human being is 2" taller in space after the 2nd day.  Stu Mcgill studies have shown that the spine hydrates the best at night with 8 hours rest.  At 6 hours we don't get enough hydration, hydration brings nutrition to the discs.  Over 8 hours and the discs get to hydrated or enlarged and if you have a back issue this will often create more back ache on waking.

Jumping rope should be part of every runner or athletes repertoire.  It teaches stiffness and relaxation.  Nice pulsing activity.

If you ask most late 30's to late 50's individuals all would say that they would love to have healthier joints and be stronger overall.  Chances are they were taught wrong (if taught at all) in weight lifting. I'm noticing a lot of people my age were taught to arch hard in the lower back when squatting.  It does provide stability, but it crushes the bones/discs.  Stable then, pay for it later.  How much would it be worth to hire great strength coaches to put into high schools and teach kids how to be strong safely?  I think the ROI 20 years down the road would be huge.  Just something I've been thinking about lately.

Strength covers a multitude of health issues.  Some health insurance companies are paying for gym memberships now, but what if there were some fitness milestones that could be hit that would reduce rates?  It seems smart for both parties.  To get life insurance a nurse had to come to my house to take blood, get my blood pressure and do a basic health screen.  So perhaps some physical ones as well?
Can you do a pull up?  How about can you get down to the ground and up again 15x in 60 seconds?
Can you walk a mile in under 20 min?  Can you carry 25% of your body weight for 40 yards?  Can you squeeze a captains of crush gripper (selected for your age group).  All of these activities have been shown to have an influence on health.  Again, this is just something I've been thinking about lately.

Stomach is a dissolver.  Small intestine is an absorber.  Colon is a transformer.  Good way to think about your digestive system.

Fish oil has been shown to help stop sarcopenia.  I think everyone should take some fish oil everyday, but this is a must for the elderly.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Normal Should Be Used With Caution

Reading through "The Trouble With Testosterone: And Other Essays On The Biology of The Human Predicament," By Robert Sapolsky, one chapter that has really stood out to me was about what we have learned to be "Normal."

In the early days of human dissection and anatomy, bodies were often in short supply.  A whole underground of cadaver selling developed, whether the bodies were obtained legally or not was not much of a concern.  Some dug up newly buried bodies, others were obtained by some very nefarious practices.

"Burking"  Named for William Burke who lured beggars into his home and strangled them.  He then sold the bodies to anatomists.

One very common fact was that most if not all bodies studied were poor.  Being poor brought other health issues that were unknown at the time.  Essentially the had lived a life of chronic stress.  Malnourished, worried about being killed, etc...  This chronic stress made them produce more stress hormones.  The increase in stress hormones caused their adrenal glands to enlarge.  When physicians studied these cadavers an enlarged adrenal gland was considered"normal."

When a wealthy man came into the morgue or anatomy room they presented with an "undersized" adrenal gland.  They made up a condition called Idiopathic adrenal atrophy.  This disease was wide spread in early twentieth century.  Years later they realized they were mistaken about the size of the adrenal gland and then everyone was cured.

A more serious error came in the 1930's with the Thymus gland.  Still unknown to the medical community that stress can atrophy organs, lead to some very bad outcomes.  Babies suddenly dying in their sleep were being studied,  Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (SIDS).  We presently think now that it occurs when babies in the 3rd trimester receive less oxygen then normal and brain cells are damaged that help control respiration.  But, back then, they had no clue why babies were suddenly dying.

At the end of the 19th century a pathologist autopsied SIDS babies and non SID babies.  What he found was that SIDS babies had a much larger thymus gland.  Now we know that the non SID babies had died of chronic stressful illness that had atrophied the thymus gland.  They drew the conclusion that in SIDS, the "abnormal" large thymus gland was pressing down on the trachea causing suffocation.

By 1920 this condition had a name and it was in all the leading pediatric textbooks.  To prevent this the thymus should be irradiated to shrink it.  This advice persisted into the 1950's.  Obviously, this had no effect on SIDS, but what it did do is irradiate the gland next to it, the Thyroid gland.  This eventually lead to thousand and thousands of cases of thyroid cancer.

As you can see, mistaking normal can have tremendous consequences.  Every now and then it would be interesting, if not good practice, to reconsider what normal is to you and think about the opposite or how you could look at normal a little differently.

"What mistake are we making now, in our modern scientific ignorance, and how many people will ultimately pay for it." 
Robert Sapolsky.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Profound words from Ed Dobson.  "It's not about how long you have left, it's how you spend the time you do have."

ED'S STORY It Ain't Over from Flannel Staff on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mark Twain Even Fasted!

I've been a proponent and supporter of  Intermittent fasting for a long time.  It  has a lot of research behind it for health benefits.  Fasting has long been held in great respect in cultures though out the world.  In the last 15 years it has really gained ground.  That is why I found this article in Physical Culture so interesting, it was written in 1919, about Twains writing in 1866!

This article tells the discovery of Mark Twain, the author, first exposure into Fasting.  Mark Twain's Writing on Fasting .  He was sick in bed when sailors that had been stranded at sea for 43 days were finally rescued.  They were gaunt and weak, but all made full recoveries within days.  In fact, one that had been dealing with access, had made a complete recovery.  This got Mark Twain thinking about the health benefits of total lack of food while sick.

This reminded me of another great post from The Art of Manliness about the concept of Via Negativa.  Addition by subtraction. How to improve your life by not doing something.  Instead of spending more time in the gym, you quit smoking.  You stop something in your life that produces more results then adding something to your life.

That is what fasting is.  Improving life, by taking (calories) away.  I highly recommend adding this into your life.  An easy way to start and give it a try is to stop eating at 8pm.  Don't eat again till noon.  You will have just gone 16 hours without food.  You can drink water, tea and coffee.  I think after a few times, you will find more energy, more focus and clarity and overall improvement in well being.