Monthly Archives: January 2015

Do outcomes improve when doctors are more available? Might surprise you.

click on this URL for Dr. Perlmutter’s summary of this study:

A Better Outcome for Humpty Dumpty?
Poor old Humpty Dumpty. Not only did he fall down from the wall, but despite all of the high tech efforts of all the kings horses and all the kings men, it seems that all efforts failed when it came to trying to put Mr. Dumpty together again.

But it may well have been that our friend Humpty Dumpty may have been better off if all the kings horses and all the kings men would have been less aggressive in their efforts.

In a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Harvard researchers looked at 30-day mortality risk of Medicare patients admitted to the hospital between 2002-2011 with a diagnosis of either heart failure or cardiac arrest. What the researchers wanted to explore was the possible correlation between risk of death within the first 30 days following admission compared to whether or not there was a national cardiology meeting going on around the time the admission took place.
One would assume that when many cardiologists were attending a national meeting and were not available in the hospital to take care of patients with these acute issues, the risk of death would certainly be higher. As a matter of fact, the results revealed just the opposite.

Risk of death when patients were admitted with heart failure was 17.5% when the cardiology meetings were underway versus 24.8% when there was no meeting. Similarly, rates of death from cardiac arrest were 59% if patients were admitted during the time of the meeting, but significantly higher, 69%, if they were admitted to the hospital when no major national cardiology meeting was taking place and presumably cardiologists were more available for patient care.

In their conclusions the authors stated, “One explanation for these findings is that the intensity of care provided during meeting dates is lower and that for high-risk patients with cardiovascular disease, the harms of this care may unexpectedly outweigh the benefits.”

We expect that when someone is admitted to the hospital in some form of cardiac crisis situation that they will receive aggressive therapy whether it be catheterization and balloon angioplasty, stent placement, or any number of other high-tech interventional approaches. But it now looks like, at least to some degree, this aggressive approach may not necessarily be the best choice in all cases.

Once again, it’s important that we always honor the dictum of above all, do no harm. And who knows, maybe if all the kings horses and all the kings men would have backed off in their aggressive efforts to help Humpty Dumpty, he might have gone back to sitting on the wall.


Symptoms of Ketogenic Diet

Click on this url for this Ketogenic Diet Resource article:


Ketosis symptoms are a function of the way the body gets rid of the excess ketone bodies which build up in the blood stream when a person eats a low carb, ketogenic diet.
In short, the body has three ways of dealing with excess ketone bodies:

First, the muscles liver and brain can burn them for energy in the cells.
Second, the body can breathe ketones out through the lungs.
And third, the body can flush ketones out through the kidneys and urine.
The ketosis symptoms associated with the benign dietary ketosis caused by eating a low carb, ketogenic diet are not dangerous. They may differ for each individual, with the most common symptoms being:

Ketosis breath, which has a fruity odor, and the person in deep ketosis may feel a sort of slight burning in the nose and a slight smell of ammonia.
Dry mouth, which is alleviated by drinking more water.
A slight headache at first which goes away in a few days.
In the first week of beginning a ketogenic diet, most people experience frequent urination followed by fatigue, as the kidneys release extraneous water stores. Minerals such as sodium, magnesium and potassium are also lost with excreted urine, and it is the mineral loss that causes the fatigue. This can be offset by eating more salt, drinking more fluids, and increasing the intake of magnesium and potassium containing foods. (Dairy foods and avocados are high in potassium, and you can drink broth for more sodium.)
Ketone bodies become detectable in the urine. Ketone bodies are leftover fragment molecules created by the natural process of burning body fat for fuel. Diabetics and low carb dieters use a product called Ketostix to check for the presence of ketones in the urine, although each group does this for different reasons. If ketones are present, the stick turns purple.
After several days of ketosis, there may be a sense of euphoria, or an experience of high energy.
Very clear thinking, and a lack of “brain fog”.

Cutting this in your body will stop inflammation, cancer! AMPK!

Click on this URL for this article:

I have pasted the last half of this article here. Please visit the above site for this cell biology information on cutting of food to cancer cells!



Fasting, the Ketogenic Diet and AMP-K: The New Kid on the Block

AMPK and Warburg

The Warburg hypothesis is something that comes up often around these parts. Very briefly put, Warburg showed that whether oxygen was present or not, cancer cells would rather use glucose for energy derivation. Even though when oxygen is present, cells can rely on mitochondria to make significantly more energy, cancer cells still seem to rely on the inefficient process of glycolysis (the breakdown of sugar).Well, while AMPK may stop cancer by blocking pathways like mTOR, newer data shows that it actually blocks the Warburg Effect by blocking the ability of cancer cells to use sugar for energy.4

Amping up AMPK

The great thing about AMPK, is the plethora of ways we seem to be able to manipulate it. AmpK seems to take away the helplessness of disease or “luck” of cancer and lets us know that we do have biologic pathways that can clearly be manipulated by our lifestyle to thwart off disease.

AMPK is upregulated via several mechanisms (in no apparent order):

Muscle contraction during exercise,5,6 with the more intense exercise resulting in increased expression of AMPK7

Carbohydrate restriction (with or without fasting and even in the face of an increase in calories)8

Intermittent fasting9

In a very nerdy, sciency kind of way, AMPK is one of the many reasons why the current and ancient lifestyle that relies on lower amounts of carbohydrates in the diet along with periodic lifting of heavy weights and intense exercise like sprinting puts so many people back in control of their health and in the driver’s seat in the fight against cancer. Activation of AMPK, which we can directly affect through our actions, may be putting us in an enhanced metabolic state to fight disease.

Summing it up

With all the recent talk of fasting, a ketogenic diet, and even calorie restriction, insulin (the hormone raised after carbohydrates are consumed in the diet) and the insulin-like growth factor receptor (where insulin and IGF bind) have been getting most of the hype. While it is well-deserved, as they are heavily implicated in cancer diagnosis and progression, we seem to be forgetting about AMPK, the new kid on the block. If we can increase an enzyme that helps stop cancer by fasting, limited carbs, and lifting some weights, isn’t the effect of lifestyle on health common sense at this point?

And remember, even biochemically and metabolically, our lifestyles and actions translate to our health. While Milli Vanilli may not, AMPK helps prove this.

Epigenetics: You CAN turn off your disease causing genes!

Might want to try the Keto-adaptive life style to do this!

Watch the video on this PBS site!

Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet: Book Review


book-cover-medI have been on a bit of a “blog-iday”, taking a break from all things cancer while I focus on other pursuits and await the results of my early April MRI. I am pleased to be able to report that I received a “stable” result, which means no change in the tumour. That’s two full years since my first diagnostic scan, with no change in the watchful waiting approach, because there’s been no change in the tumour. I have not had any medical treatment, no chemo or radiation, during that time. Not because I was against it, but because my team of doctors more or less agreed that these interventions should be reserved in a future arsenal, and if this tumour remains well-behaved with slow growth and doesn’t display any aggressive conversion or invasive characteristics, we can all happily co-exist.

The only treatment I’ve employed is a dietary overhaul, going…

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The Ketogenic Diet: high fat, high hopes

Click on this URL for this The Guardian article:

And click on this URL for a forum post on this subject:

David Cox
Sunday 7 December 2014 13.00 EST


In 1921, an endocrinologist named Dr Henry Rawle Geyelin arrived at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association to deliver a talk on therapeutic fasting in the treatment of epileptic seizures. Ninety years later, Geyelin would probably be surprised to find that the same diet is being heralded as the latest magic weight-loss programme.

The ketogenic diet has been called the “new Atkins” and is being taken up by an increasing number of people. But Professor Thomas Seyfried from Boston College, who has conducted research on the regimen, urges caution. “This diet is not to be taken lightly and there are healthcare professionals who work specifically in administering it,” he says. “Done incorrectly, you can alter your blood lipid parameters, which is not healthy. But when done the correct way, the blood parameters for the heart look beautiful.”

That the diet exists at all is down to the persistence of Geyelin, who was also one of the first doctors in New York to use insulin as a treatment for diabetes. But his ideas were not new. The ancient Greeks had discovered that one of the best ways to manage epileptic seizures was to stop eating, a finding that particularly fascinated Hippocrates. Unfortunately, it clearly was not a long-term solution. Both Hippocrates and Geyelin discovered that once fasting was over, the seizures invariably returned.

Epileptic seizures are brought on by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The causes can vary, from a defective gene to a head injury, but one common mechanism of the condition is chronic inflammation throughout the whole body. Geyelin wondered what precisely happens during fasting that might be acting to counter this.

He found changes in two particular molecules in the blood: falling blood glucose and raised levels of fat metabolites, called ketones. So how to achieve this without starving the patient? Over the following decade the ketogenic diet was developed: a strict programme enforcing a 4:1 ratio of fats to proteins and carbohydrates.

Nuts, cream, butter and foods high in fat are encouraged while bread, pasta, sugar and grains are all forbidden. This results in ketones replacing glucose as an alternative fuel – and this transition from glucose to fat metabolism reduces the systemic inflammation that can underlie epilepsy and many other diseases. In addition, it induces a process of healthy weight loss. This differs from losses that occur as a result of insufficient nutrition.

Early studies showed enormous success in the treatment of epilepsy – but then in 1938, phenytoin, an anticonvulsant drug, was discovered. It became the epilepsy medication of choice and the ketogenic diet was dismissed and largely forgotten.

In 1994, Hollywood film director Jim Abrahams came across a recent paper on the diet by a doctor at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore. Abrahams’ two-year-old son Charlie was in a critical condition, experiencing up to a hundred epileptic seizures a day and not responding to either drugs or brain surgery.

“We were desperate, so I did some research to find out the options,” Abrahams says. “We found out about the ketogenic diet, and about a herbalist in Texas. I asked Charlie’s doctor what we should try. He said, ‘Flip a coin. I don’t believe either is going to work.’”

But after a month on the diet, Charlie was both drug- and seizure-free and has only the faintest memories of his traumatic start to life. “It was like a miracle,” Abrahams says. “But back in the 1990s, there were several myths used to talk people out of the diet. It was suggested that it stunts growth or may have long-term side-effects. Another popular argument is that it’s too difficult. The diet isn’t easy – but what’s more difficult, controlling what your kid eats or watching them have lots of seizures?”

Anticonvulsant drugs work in 70% of epileptics but if one drug fails, there is only a 10-15% chance that another will work. In addition, the side effects of long-term usage range from problems in bone density and hair growth to cognitive impairment. In a bid to bring the dietary option to the attention of similar families, Abrahams made the 1997 film First Do No Harm, starring Meryl Streep, based loosely on the experiences of his family.

It caused a new explosion of interest. Understanding exactly how the combination of low blood glucose and high ketones prevents seizures has become the subject of intense research. The diet is also viewed by some as a potential way of slowing down the growth of tumours and significantly delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

“It enhances the metabolic efficiency of all your normal cells,” Seyfried says. “With cancer cells, they can only produce the energy they need to grow via fermentation, which requires glucose. If you’re limiting glucose, you’re taking away their fuel. We know of many people who have had their tumours stop growing or become very indolent as a result of this diet, making these cells vulnerable to other kinds of non-toxic drugs and treatment.”

Aside from the risks from insufficient monitoring, the main difficulty the ketogenic diet poses has always been one of self-control. Therefore, the ultimate aim is a drug that can replicate its effects while allowing a normal diet. However, this remains a long way off.

But Abrahams believes that the problem is not so much human willpower as finance. “Ultimately hospitals are businesses, especially in the US,” he says. “The diet requires a trained dietitian, it is work-intensive, involves lots of hours and there is no pot of gold at the end of that, apart from the benefit to the family.”