The Arrow #114
Greetings from Montecito.
We’ve got a lot of stuff to cover this week, so let’s get to it…
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First, I’m going to hit a few Covid stories. Or, I guess, more appropriately put, more Covid lies. If you’re tired of hearing about Covid, just skip on down.
Ten Biggest Covid Lies
Scott Atlas penned an opinion piece for Newsweek laying out the ten biggest Covid lies brought to us by our own government.
Here are the 10 biggest falsehoods—known for years to be false, not recently learned or proven to be so—promoted by America's public health leaders, elected and unelected officials, and now-discredited academics:
1. SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has a far higher fatality rate than the flu by several orders of magnitude.
2. Everyone is at significant risk to die from this virus.
3. No one has any immunological protection, because this virus is completely new.
4. Asymptomatic people are major drivers of the spread.
5. Locking down—closing schools and businesses, confining people to their homes, stopping non-COVID medical care, and eliminating travel—will stop or eliminate the virus.
6. Masks will protect everyone and stop the spread.
7. The virus is known to be naturally occurring, and claiming it originated in a lab is a conspiracy theory.
8. Teachers are at especially high risk.
9. COVID vaccines stop the spread of the infection.
10. Immune protection only comes from a vaccine.
I would add another to this list. One even more egregious than several mentioned above:
Early treatment for Covid doesn’t exist.
People who tested positive were told to go home, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and come back if their condition got worse. Sorry, but there is nothing we can do for you. Then, if their condition did deteriorate and they returned, many were put on ventilators, which was a death sentence for a lot of them.
The fact is there were a number of treatments available to them, but they were denied because of who knows what reason.
Here is in interview with Fauci on this very subject.
The lead up to this video is that Trump proffered the idea that hydroxychloroquine might be a valid treatment. As it turned out, Trump was correct.
In this video, you can see Fauci lie through his teeth. Or, if I’m being charitable, he is just stupid.
Back in 2005 when everyone was worried that SARS-CoV-1 (a close relative of the current infamous Covid virus) was going to cause a pandemic, the CDC studied chloroquine, a drug that was the forerunner to hydroxychloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine is basically chloroquine modified in such a way as to reduce side effects. Hydroxychloroquine has been given to millions upon millions of people all over the world. It has few side effects and has proven effective in the treatment of a number of disorders.
One of the uses of hydroxychloroquine is in the treatment of various autoimmune disorders. When Covid was raging through Italy, one of the early studies was a tallying of various rheumatologists throughout the country about their patients on hydroxychloroquine. As it turned out, about 67,000 subjects had been on the drug for various inflammatory issues, and few of them had developed Covid.
In 2005 the CDC published a study showing chloroquine was effective in treating SARS-CoV-1.
We report, however, that chloroquine has strong antiviral effects on SARS-CoV infection of primate cells. These inhibitory effects are observed when the cells are treated with the drug either before or after exposure to the virus, suggesting both prophylactic and therapeutic advantage. In addition to the well-known functions of chloroquine such as elevations of endosomal pH, the drug appears to interfere with terminal glycosylation of the cellular receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. This may negatively influence the virus-receptor binding and abrogate the infection, with further ramifications by the elevation of vesicular pH, resulting in the inhibition of infection and spread of SARS CoV at clinically admissible concentrations.
Since Fauci was around then, and since this was a study performed by the CDC, I’m sure he was aware of it.
So why did he say hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work for SARS-CoV-2 when he knew it did or at least very likely might? In the end, it turned out to be an effective frontline treatment. How many people died because Fauci a) lied, b) was stupid, c) was ignorant and uninformed, or d) was in the pocket of the vaccine manufacturers?
While I’m on the subject of Fauci, I just came across this report in an online news source.
Last year, Dr. Robert Malone told Tablet that the most urgent question to be answered about the COVID-19 pandemic remained to be, What did Anthony Fauci and his British counterpart Dr. Jeremy Farrar discuss on “burner phones … when it became clear that they had funded the development (by EcoHealth Alliance) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus?” We now have the answer: A new trove of emails released by a GOP-led House oversight committee investigating the origins of the pandemic shows Fauci and Farrar were intimately involved in crafting the influential 2020 paper in the medical journal Nature that argued the virus was strictly natural in origin and could not have escaped from a laboratory.
Following the publication, Fauci frequently referred to the paper and its “highly qualified … virologists” when countering any suggestions of a lab-leak origin, all while claiming he had no involvement in it. Yet the new emails show that Fauci “prompted” the piece and that Farrar, the British super-scientist who used to head the Wellcome Trust research institution and was recently elected chief scientist of the World Health Organization, helped to “shepherd” the paper and even “push[ed]” Nature to publish “ASAP.” The day after the piece appeared in Nature, Farrar requested the journal replace the word unlikely with improbable in a claim about the virus origin. The revised sentence said, “It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of an existing SARS-related coronavirus.”
He’s really a wonderful guy. In fact, a friend of mine, in back and forth email correspondence a couple of years ago informed me that Fauci was “a national treasure.” I wonder, what with all that is now coming to the surface, if she has changed her mind.
The Covid Narrative Is Changing
Over the past couple of months there has been a handful of high-profile individuals who have come out apologizing for their previous tribal mainstream advocacy of vaccines, lockdowns, masking, and all the rest.
First was Brown University professor Emily Oster in The Atlantic. Her request for amnesty from all those whom she scorned was supercilious and pathetic at best. Here is her rationale for the actions of herself and others:
We didn’t know. [Italics hers]
More likely they didn’t want to know. Had they known, how would their friends have reacted if they had not worn masks or had refused to be vaccinated?
Maybe they even wore masks alone in the car. Which would be telling.
Speaking of which, I came across this a few days ago. Some comic relief.
A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal published a book review for a book titled Sorry, Sorry, Sorry: The Case for Good Apologies. I have neither purchased nor read the book, so I can’t comment on it. But the review listed the six components of a real apology, which are as follows:
Say, “I’m sorry.”
Say what you’re sorry for.
Acknowledge what you did was bad.
Make no excuses.
Promise not to do it again.
Offer to make things right.
You can go through these pseudo apologies and see if they follow these rules for a real apology.
Emily fails right off the bat on #4, with her “We didn’t know.” That’s an excuse.
When I read her ‘apology,’ I intended to go through it and critique it line by line, but never got around to it. Fortunately, someone else did have the time and inclination and did a much better job than I would probably have done.
Click here to see Midwestern Doctor’s most complete job in dismembering her apology.
He does it like this, so it’s most enjoyable to read.
More recently another apology appeared in Newsweek. This one from Kevin Bass, a medical student in Texas. I don’t know how someone who is a mere medical student gets upgraded to an opinion columnist in Newsweek, but he has been. I have my own antipathy toward Kevin Bass, because he is an anti-low-carb troll on Twitter. If someone posts something positive about low-carb diets, you can be sure Kevin will jump in there with some kind of snide comment.
By the time I got around to reading his mea culpa in Newsweek, Midwestern Doctor had already done a job on it similar to the one he did on Emily. Before I get to the dissection, here is one of the things I agree with about Kevin’s article. In fact, I discussed it above. Midwestern Doctor’s commentary in red.
Ain’t it the truth. And Fauci was wrong way more than he was right. In fact, I’m having a hard time recalling anything he said that was right.
Midwestern Doctor believes the Bass apology is not really a true from the heart apology, but a forced apology.
This specific passage is why I do not believe this is a genuine apology; rather, it’s a forced apology and an attempt to minimize the losses of the vaccine pushers who have discredited themselves to the general public. Throughout this essay, he attempts to say we had “valid concerns” (that I must emphasize were not political in nature) but nonetheless, in a backhanded way dismisses all the actual objections (e.g., the alleged “conspiracy theories” that all proved themselves true)
The entire piece by Midwestern Doctor is outstanding and well worth reading in its entirety. Toward the end, he quotes Malcolm Kendrick at length from a post he wrote a while back about Jacinda Ardern, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand. It bears reading in its entirety if for no other reason than the C.S. Lewis quote, which is one of my favorites that, somehow, I have not thought to use myself during these trying times.
With the resignation of Jacinda Ardern, my thoughts were dragged back to Covid once more. Jacinda, as Prime Minster of New Zealand, was the ultimate lockdown enforcer. She was feted round the world for her iron will, but I was not a fan, to put it mildly. Whenever I heard her speak, it brought to mind one of my most favourite quotes:
‘Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.’ C.S. Lewis
At one point she actually said the following:
“We will continue to be your single source of truth” “Unless you hear it from us, it is not the truth.’
Yet, there are still many who believe her to have been a great and caring leader. She certainly hugged a lot of people with that well rehearsed pained/caring expression on her face.
Her ‘Unless you hear it from us, it is not the truth’ way of thinking personifies how so many people in power acted during the pandemic.
Finally, the Wall Street Journal published a piece yesterday by Tim Trevan, who runs a biomedical safety consulting business. The purpose of his piece is to absolve all the scientists who pooh poohed the lab leak hypothesis. And by extension to absolve all those scientists who were so wrong about Covid, the handling of the pandemic, the vaccines mandates, etc.
He cites a list of reasons that all these folks got it wrong, but they did so for all the right reasons. I’ll go through a few of my favorites. [My bold for emphasis throughout]
Scientists can’t be experts in everything, or even in all aspects of our immediate disciplines. When something new crops up, we look to those we think are better informed—other leading scientists—to help us form our views and to reinforce them. Thus, there is a tendency to settle on an established view. When that happens, it is hard to go against the orthodoxy.
In the case of the lab leak, scientist first thought it was a possibility, then when Fauci intervened, they turned a 180. As to Covid itself, the leading scientists in the field—the Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford professors who had made careers as virologists and public health experts—were ignored in favor of a bunch of career government bureaucrats, i.e., Fauci, Birx, Redfield, Collins, and the rest of the clowns.
People who choose the same profession tend to think about things similarly, so it’s natural that groupthink could arise. Conformation bias plays a role: We seek evidence and the views of others that match our own and ignore or discount evidence that challenges us.
So, he pardons the idiot class—Fauci, Birx, et al—for their groupthink that was used as a hard consensus against the true experts in the field, all of whom also pretty much thought along the same lines as one another, so another kind of groupthink, but one based in real science instead of made up science. And they were tossed off social media, banned in some cases, and reviled for it.
When we identify with a group and an outsider attacks other members of the group, it is a natural response for the group as a whole to mount a defense. Here, the attack was seen as being on both the scientists at the Wuhan lab and on virology as a whole.
In this case, the outsiders attacking the insiders were the real experts. The experts were making their attacks on the basis of their knowledge of virology. Why were the groups being attacked—Fauci et al—not listening to their betters instead of sending emails back and forth describing them as “fringe epidemiologists”?
For the most part, people don’t form their views on complex social issues in isolation. Rather, they identify prominent people with whom they agree on issues that are most important to them and then tend to adopt their views on other issues. Sometimes the process works in reverse. Many public-health officials strongly disagreed with Donald Trump’s politics. When he asserted (without definitive evidence) that the Wuhan lab was the source, they assumed, either consciously or subconsciously, that the opposite must be true.
Again, why didn’t Fauci and crew turn to prominent people who were not bureaucrats, but the real scientists in these fields? And, as to Donald Trump… Just by the law of averages, the dumbest SOB in the country is bound to be right some of the time. Why immediately knee jerk the other way when someone you hate makes a suggestion? Is that science?
There are other reasons he gives for why everyone was wrong. You can read the piece yourself in the link above (no paywall). He ends it by defending all those who took the position opposite to the true experts in the field. And, by the all encompassing defense against anything: we’re only human. Yes, well, so was Charles Manson.
I am not suggesting that scientists consciously decided to thwart the truth. These processes can be insidious and subconscious. But you don’t have to posit conspiracy theories to explain the rush by the science establishment to exclude a lab-leak explanation to Covid. You merely have to admit that scientists are human.
I suspect his apology on behalf of all these folks is because those who totally screwed the pooch are in position to hire consultants to help them with safety issues. And knowing this guy is on their side just might tip the scales in deciding which firm to hire. In my humble opinion, this article isn’t as much an apologia as it is a marketing piece.
None of these apologies fit the six-part definition of a true apology as described in the Wall Street Journal piece described above. They all made excuses, and I’m sure they would all do it again if the situation were the same. Just for grins, let’s say Trump gets elected in 2024. The same groups would align against anything he said. So, in reality, they’ve learned nothing. They just want to escape the fury of those they scorned this time around.
Pandemic Service Blues
Does anyone else think customer service in general has turned to crap since the pandemic?
Maybe I’m just too critical, but it seems to me that people in business got used to sloppy service during the pandemic. Back then, if you stayed in a hotel, there were notices saying your room wouldn’t be made up because of Covid, of course. If you wanted fresh towels or sheets or whatever, you had to call for them.
Now the pandemic is over, but a handful of hotels I’ve stayed in have maintained the same policy. You have to make a request to get your room cleaned.
MD ordered a package that was supposed to be delivered this past Saturday. She went by our mailing place on Monday to get it, but it hadn’t been delivered. The lady who runs the executive mail service we use when we’re here said that deliveries had gone to crap since the pandemic. Especially FedEx and UPS. She said overnight still worked pretty well, but 2nd day and 3rd day was a different story. It got there when it got there.
Before we went to Fayetteville for our son’s birthday a few weeks ago, MD ordered him a set of antique cufflinks (he collects cufflinks), and ordered them 2nd day, so she would be sure they arrived before we drove up to Arkansas. They were supposed to arrive almost a week before we left, but she had paid for 2nd day shipping just to make sure. They did not arrive before we left. Our other son, who lives in Dallas, was going to leave a few days after we did, so he said he would check on them and bring them when he came. They didn’t arrive before he left, so he came empty handed.
MD called the company that she bought the cufflinks from (she’s purchased many sets from them) and told the owner that these were for a milestone birthday present and that they were ordered way in advance. And that despite her purchase of expedited shipping they had not arrived. The guy, who does understand customer service, said he would overnight her a similar set, so they would be there for our son’s birthday celebration. And he did, and they did arrive in time.
Of course the others finally arrived in Dallas 5 or 6 days after they were supposed to. MD shipped them back to the seller when we got back. He said he would go after FedEx for a refund of MD’s extra $17 or so she spent for 2-day shipping. He just called her a few days ago and told her that the shipper said they don’t refund on delays of anything but overnight. For the rest, you pays your money and you takes your chances. Pretty piss poor customer service, if you ask me.
Same thing with Amazon. Since I read a lot, I order a lot of books. I have Prime, so I’m used to getting them in 2 days. Now I get about half or maybe a little more of them in two days. The rest, I get a notice saying the delivery has been delayed. I don’t know if it’s an Amazon problem or a UPS, FedEx, USPS problem.
Ozempic, Wegovy, and Hooch
I just read an article in the NY Times about how GLP-1 receptor agonists seem, in some people, at least, to curb the desire to drink.
At what Eva Monsen calls the height of her drinking — during the long slog of the coronavirus pandemic — she drained around half a bottle of wine each day. Ms. Monsen, 46, wasn’t a regular drinker before the pandemic, but she grew to rely on several glasses of wine to help her relax and soften the tension of life during and after lockdown.
Then, in August 2022, Ms. Monsen’s endocrinologist prescribed Ozempic to treat her diabetes. Almost immediately, she said, she lost her desire to drink. When she poured herself a glass of wine, “I felt no pleasure from it at all,” she said.
A part of her missed the comforting blur from being tipsy. When she tried to drink while on Ozempic, though, she felt dizzy and nauseated — but not intoxicated. “I was just incapable of feeling the buzz,” said Ms. Monsen, who lives in Seattle. Now, she barely drinks at all.
When I did a PubMed search, I found 52 articles, most of which report a decrease in alcohol consumption in multiple animal models, so there may be something to it. Here is one nice review article on GLP-1 receptor agonists and addictive behaviors. In going through this paper, I noticed a number of various mechanisms are discussed. At this point, the science is just kicking in on this.
What I want to know is whether any of you who have tried Yacon syrup noticed a change in your drinking desire and/or habits? So, it’s time for a poll.
For those of you new subscribers who don’t have a clue as to what Yacon syrup is, you can read about in this previous post. Scroll down to the section titled Wegovy in a Jar and read all about it.
Diamond Study and Mass Balance
I got my every Monday email newsletter from my bud Zoë Harcombe on a new protocol set up to study the low-carb diet in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D). I don’t know who names these things, but they must spend as much time coming up with clever acronyms as they do figuring out how to do the study.
This particular study is called Dietary Approaches to the Management Of type 2 Diabetes, which acronyms out to DIAMOND. That’s about the only thing clever about it, however.
Here’s the deal. Mainstream diabetes researchers have seen the success those with T2D have experienced after following low-carb diets. But they can’t shake the idea that the low-calorie approach is best. So they decide to test the low-carb diet in low-calorie form. Neither Zoë nor I think that is wise. It’s crazy, in fact.
I’m going to slip behind Zoë’s paywall for just a sec and lay out the protocol.
* If people are allowed to choose their own food and are restricted to 800-1,000 calories a day, they will choose low-fat, high-carb foods, to get the most food for the fewest calories.
* Adding a carb restriction to the calorie restriction will stop the low-fat, high-carb food choices. This is good. However, it also stops the low-carb, high-nutrition choices (red meat, oily fish, eggs, whole dairy etc), which low-carb eaters naturally make. This is bad.
* The calorie restriction is unnecessary if good low-carb advice is given.
Zoë is absolutely correct. People don’t like to starve. They want to eat as much as they can on any given diet. There is an old saying in the diet biz: Hunger always wins. Which is why low-carb diets are so nice. Restrict yourself to 50-60 grams of carbs and eat as much as you want of non-carb stuff, i.e., meat, eggs, butter, etc.
On a calorically-restricted diet, folks will tend to the higher carb, lower-fat foods in an effort to get more food.
The downside of a low-carb diet is that you are limited in carbs. The downside of a low-calorie diet is that you’re limited in just about everything but carbs. Combine them, and you are limited in everything. I don’t see a really positive outcome for this study. I would bet subject retention is going to be difficult.
The reason low-calorie diets work, to the extent they do, for people with T2D is that even on low-calorie diets carbs are restricted. If you ate your entire 800-1000 calories per day as carbs, you would be taking in only 200-250 grams of carbs per day, which is less than most people eat on the standard American diet. But usually these diets aren’t 100 percent carb, so if there is a little lean protein thrown it, the carb count ratchets back quite a bit.
With a low-carb diet, you’re limiting the very thing that causes T2D, which will lower insulin levels, and, ultimately, get rid of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia.
Now, let’s take a look at this from a mass balance perspective. If instead of fiddling with calories and grams of carbs, you simply count the grams of everything except for water. (If you’re new to this newsletter and don’t know what mass balance is, see this past issue and/or this video.)
3,000 calories would represent 330 grams if it were consumed as all fat. That would be 3,000 kcal X 0.11 gram/kcal. If you took it all in as carb, it would be 750 grams. 3,000 X 0.25 gram/kcal.
So let’s shoot for something in the middle and say 400 grams of food. That’s about a pound per day. But it’s not a pound in the way you’re thinking. It’s a pound of fat, protein, and carb by dry weight. For example, let’s say you’re hungering for a big, juicy 16 oz ribeye steak. Well, that’s a pound right there. But it really isn’t, because the majority of it is water.
The above graphic is from a site we use to determine nutritional content. This is for a steak house steak. As you can see, more than half the weight of the steak is water. If you look at the chart in the link above, you’ll see that the fat is 21 grams for a 4 ounce portion, the protein is 19 grams and carbs are 1 gram. So four times all that for a 16 ounce steak would be a total of 164 grams. Which is less than half of your 400 gram limit.
You would still have a lot of grams left to go.
Play around with it, and you’ll see that you could get a lot to eat if you hedge toward more fat, as fat weighs only 0.11 grams/kcal, whereas carbs and protein weigh in at 0.25 grams/kcal.
If you went all fat, you would end up eating 3636 kcal, whereas if you ate an all carb diet, you would end up taking in only 1,600 kcal on your 400 gram diet.
After fooling around with this, maybe a 350 gram diet would be better. If you try it, let me know your results.
Is Cancer a Mitochondrial Metabolic Disease?
Before we get into this discussion about cancer, let me give you a brief, but all too common, history.
On New Year’s Day in 2012, we visited MD’s sister Rose in Little Rock. She prepared a delicious New Year’s brunch for MD and me and a small group of her close friends. MD and I left the next day, and before we did, Rose told MD that she (Rose) had a bad chest cold. MD checked her out as best she could given a lack of even a stethoscope and gave her a prescription for an antibiotic.
Rose called a few days later to report that she felt a lot better. Several weeks after that she called again saying her chest cold had returned. MD called her in a prescription for a stronger antibiotic. She improved, but then had another relapse. MD told her she needed to go somewhere and get checked out.
She ultimately went to the emergency room in early March where she was given a chest x-ray. She was found to have what appeared to be a mass in her mediastinum, the area in the middle of her chest. After a CT scan of her chest, she was found to have lymph node masses in her hilum and mediastinum. Before they could work her up for that, she began having cognitive issues, as in she couldn’t sign her name.
She was then sent for a head scan, which ended up showing multiple masses in her brain. After a full body scan, she was found to have metastases in her adrenal glands and a few other places. This all took place in early March of 2012. She was started on a schedule of radiation treatments of her brain and chest. After almost two months, her brain lesions were mostly gone and her lymph nodes sharply reduced.
She then started a course of chemotherapy for the primary cancer, which was highly undifferentiated adenocarcinoma of the lung. After about six treatments with the chemotherapy, she developed some toxicity problems, so they stopped her chemo and admitted her to the hospital to deal with the problem. Her condition improved, and she was told she could go home soon. MD had practically moved to Little Rock to help Rose through all this, but had come home for a bit right before her hospitalization.
MD got a call from the oncologist who said she had much improved and wanted to go home. He was advocating for a brief stint in a rehab hospital for her to regain her strength, but she didn’t want to do it.
Then, out of the blue the next morning, we get a call from her oncologist saying that she has taken a sharp turn for the worse and is about to die and asking if we can get there to see her before the end. We got the next available flight, and while we were waiting for the Uber to take us to the airport, we got a call from MD’s nephew telling us Rose had just died.
So she was diagnosed with cancer on March 5 and died on June 3 of the same year. And the same year she had fixed us all a terrific meal on Jan 1. MD was the executor of Rose’s estate, and discovered her medical bills totaled a bit over $400,000 for the three months of treatment she had undergone.
Dreadful as this all sounds, if you’ve ever had a loved one with a deadly cancer, you’re familiar with this story.
In the three months between Rose’s diagnosis and death, MD probably spent two months there with her, and I spent a month, maybe a little more, there myself. We both saw how miserable Rose was during these three months. Not many bright days out or the 90 or so she lived after diagnosis. Forgetting about the $400,000 expense, was the treatment worth it? Not the money, but the days of life saved? Were there any days of life saved? Did the chemotherapy hasten Rose’s demise? Those are all questions that can’t be answered short of doing it all differently, which we couldn’t do other than in an alternate universe.
Watching it at close quarters, it made both MD and me wonder what we would do if confronted with the same situation ourselves.
Peter Gøtzsche, one of the founders of the Cochrane collaboration, doesn’t believe chemotherapy is worth what it costs both in money and in suffering. He just published a piece on it for the Institute for Scientific Freedom. Here’s how it starts:
If you get cancer, one of the most important questions is to decide if you should accept or decline chemotherapy. By far most patients accept chemotherapy, likely because they think that if it wasn’t worthwhile, it wouldn’t be offered.
This is a mistake.
Chemotherapy is rarely worthwhile
The bold emphasis was in the original, which is well worth reading.
He goes on to discuss the terrible statistics for most chemotherapeutic regimens and the terrible symptoms they inflict on people.
You may be saying to yourself that the statistics you’ve seen show decent survival rates for a lot of cancers. A tiny few do respond well to chemotherapy, but the vast majority don’t.
Here is how the statistics are created.
Let’s look at two men who have the exact same type and severity of prostate cancer. Both are 65 years old. Both are asymptomatic. One man has a physical and gets diagnosed immediately. He goes through all the various treatments for prostate cancer. Seems to do fairly well with it, though a lot of it is miserable. He ends up back and forth to the doctor for checkups and tweaks to his therapy over the years and ends up ultimately dying from his prostate cancer at age 73.
Our second man doesn’t have the physical, doesn’t get the diagnosis, continues on with his life as his prostate cancer slowly grows. (In most cases, prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer.) He lives his life free of all the misery the first man went through to have his prostate treated. Finally, at age 71 he develops some symptoms, gets diagnosed, and starts therapy. He dies at age 73.
In the first man’s case, the statistics show that early diagnosis and treatment allowed him to live an extra 8 years. The poor second guy got diagnosed late in his disease and only lived 2 extra years. But remember, they both died at the same age. The early diagnosis and treatment didn’t do squat except make the first guy miserable for 8 years whereas the second guy was miserable and worried for only 2 years. The first guy didn’t live any longer.
But that’s how cancer statistics are generated. On paper, the first guy got 6 years more life than the second guy thanks to his early diagnosis and treatment. But did he really? Of course not. Under this scenario, would you rather be the first guy or the second guy?
One more story. I’m sure most of the readers of this newsletter could tell similar stories as they’re all too common.
One of our favorite nurse’s sister’s husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which is a really bad cancer. When his primary care doctor gave him the news, the guy asks what should I do? His doc, being a wise doctor with a lot of experience in watching the progression of this disease in a lot of other patients, and also a friend, told him, John, just go fishing.
John got pissed, stormed out of the office, and scheduled an appointment at MD Anderson in Houston. He goes down there, undergoes chemotherapy, then horrific surgery, then more chemo. He’s finally declared cancer free. He was ecstatic. His wife was ecstatic, And our nurse was ecstatic. He was dead in six weeks.
Those are just some little vignettes showing what a terrible disease cancer can be and how the statistics on survival are really kind of specious.
If you look at the survival statistics of cancer, they are grim.
Here is a photo of a slide I took at Thomas Seyfried’s talk in Scottsdale, AZ MD and I attended a few weeks ago.
As you can see, the rate of cancer cases and deaths has about kept up with the population growth over the past eight years. The sad thing is it hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years. With a few exceptions, we’re badly losing in the war against cancer.
The problem, according to Tom Seyfried and a whole lot of other people, is that we’re looking at cancer the wrong way. Since cancer is an uncontrolled replication of cells, everyone persists in considering it a genetic disease. After all, genetics is the science basically of cellular replication, so it makes sense. If we can figure how to deal with the genetics of cancer, then we should be able to treat it. Problem is, we haven’t been able to do that in the 80 or so years we’ve been trying to treat it that way.
Seyfried believes cancer is a metabolic disease of the mitochondria. And he makes a good case for it. Below is a graphic from one of his papers.
The results this graphic shows are quite profound, but it takes a little explaining to make it clear. On the left, you see a normal cell. It has a big roundish nucleus, where all the genetic material is stored. The two little sausage shaped organelles are mitochondria. These are not to scale. The nucleus is much smaller relative to the size of the cell, and there are thousands of mitochondria in a cell, not just two. Okay, the next picture to the right is of a cancer cell. The next two are the interesting ones If you take the nucleus of a cancer cell and use it to replace the nucleus of a normal cell, the cell functions and reproduces normally. If, however, you insert the cytoplasm of a tumor cell into a normal cell with a normal nucleus, you get a cancer cell when it reproduces.
This experiment has been done numerous times in different types of cells by different researchers with the same results.
Based on these results, Seyfried finds it difficult to believe that cancer is a genetic disease. The genetic material doesn’t seem to matter.
So, what does it all mean?
Well, it means that treating cancer as a metabolic disease makes more sense than treating it as a genetic one.
Cancer cells can’t use ketones, but do love glucose. So one obvious treatment is to put cancer patients on a ketogenic diet. Which Seyfried and others have done with good results. Not perfect results. They haven’t really cured anyone. But they have managed to keep patients alive and functioning long beyond the time they would have using traditional chemotherapeutic regimens.
Seyfried’s biggest problem is funding more studies, because ketogenic diets don’t make anyone any money to speak of. There are no drugs to patent, so no one is interested in funding.
I’ve just scratched the surface of what Dr. Seyfried and others are doing, which is more than just a ketogenic diet. I’ll go into more depth next week. If you would like to read up on the various ways in which cancer has been treated over the years and how the metabolic treatment methods stack up, take a look at Jason Fung’s book The Cancer Code. It’s one of the best books I’ve read on the subject. It isn’t about fasting, which is what Jason is known for.
Video of the Week
This week while looking for something on YouTube, I got fed a video of Doc Watson, whom I hadn’t thought about in ages. It sent me down a rabbit hole of one Doc Watson performance after another. Doc was a generational talent on the guitar. I play guitar a little myself, but I’m not in the same universe as Doc. And unlike him, I can see.
I like this one just for the instructional information. Not that I could do this in a million years. He makes it look easy, but it isn’t.
And here he is flat-out flat picking with Merle Watson. No one could flat pick any better.
Hope you enjoyed Doc as much as I did. If so, you can find videos of him playing with just about everyone who was active in his era.
That’s about it for this week. I’m getting this out a little early this week because a huge storm is on its way. We’re supposed to be on a flood watch from later today through the weekend. Which is weird as it is nice and sunny outside right now. But the weather can turn on a dime here lately. And the power grid in Montecito sucks, so I want to get this in the can before there are issues.
I’ll finish up on the metabolic basis of cancer next week. Keep in good cheer till then.
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Thank you for writing about cancer. I have an appointment with my oncologist next week and I’m giving him my Dear John letter. I am unwilling to live with the horrible side effects of endocrine therapy for the next 10 years and simply live my life. Especially when my pharmacist friend told me the number needed to treat was in the upper 160s. I surrendered my breasts and ovaries to cancer, and that’s enough. The low carb lifestyle has been a challenge, but with what I assume you’re going to continue to write about, I will give it another whirl. Look forward to your newsletter every week.
I watched a documentary on Amazon a few years ago called “Cancer Can Be Killed” a Jeff Witzeman Film. (Just checked and it is listed now as “currently unavailable.” Anyhow he goes on to say that his wife has bladder cancer and the Doctor wants to remove her bladder. They do some research and her sister had been “cured” in Europe at an alternative health clinic. She ends up opting to do the same. The flight, hotel, treatment I think were about $28k and they cured her cancer with infrared heat and vitamin infusions. She comes back to the states and her Doctor is quite surprised when she is cancer free...
They end up saying that in America the infrared treatment is available but only with chemo, as they don’t want any success with any voodoo treatments that big pharma can’t profit off of. Further, the alternative treatment plans in America that do have some success usually get discredited as not a large enough profile or a fluke. Larger institutions are even not doing their clients justice in doing things like having a dish of candy in the lobby (as you mentioned sugar feeds the cancers).
I’m sure that there are plenty of honest folks out to do a good job and cure the diseases that plague all the people that are suffering but as long as the cure isn’t profitable for some it doesn’t stand a chance and doesn’t get any good publicity.