Posts in the Medicine category

Cheap Safe Drug Kills Most Cancers

New Scientist recently posted an update to their story on DCA, a cheap chemical which is so readily available in industry that pharmaceutical companies are unable to get a patent on it - so the funding is not available for human clinical trials to see if it can safely cure cancer in humans.

The initial research at the University of Alberta is exceptionally promising, and represents an entirely new approach to attacking cancer.

The gist of it is this. Normal cells use their mitochondria to create the energy they need to live. In cancer cells, which tend to be oxygen-starved, the mitochondria can't do their job (no oxygen!), so the cell switches them off and reverts to an older survival mechanism - glycolysis.

Unfortunately, the mitochondria themselves are what controls cell death (apoptosis), and with them out of the way, the cells become "immortal", and will not commit suicide, even though they're now cancerous.

The chemical DCA turns the mitochondria back on, enabling the faulty cells to commit suicide, and then the immune system cleans up the rest of the mess.

Please DONATE money to the University of Alberta Dr.Michelakis - Cancer Research Fund (make sure you select this from the list of funds they allow you to donate to) to allow them to perform the necessary human trials to get this drug into the hands of doctors.

I've donated $100 in memory of my mum, Linda Marie Cooke, who died of cancer in 1996 at the age of 37.

They also have a site you can sign up for email updates when they have new information on the progress of the research.

This represents possibly the most amazing medical research I've heard of in recent years. Well, that and the use of enzymes extracted from the intenstines of icelandic Cod as a potent cure for the common cold, influenza, arthritis and eczema.


Random Updates...

A few things to update on the posts I've made over the years...

Hangover Cures

The basic principal still stands, but throw in some Vitamin B6, and/or some Red Bull. Red Bull is actually surprisingly good as a hangover cure - lots of B vitamins in large supply, some amino acids, caffeine and sugar, so it replenishes lost nutrients, helps with the headache, and the sugar helps trick your system into creating more serotonin.

New info: SSRIs and nausea

Why do SSRIs make you nauseous on an empty stomach? Because the Vegus nerve runs right through there, and it gets affected first. The Vegus nerve is what gives you motion sickness, makes you feel nauseous, and handles a lot of digestive system communication tasks. Speaking of which...

New research: Morning Sickness Cures

I verified this with research from Johns Hopkins after coming up with the idea independently, because I started thinking about what nausea really is... Two good morning sickness cures are either Dramamine (quiets the Vegus nerve, which is causing your nausea), and it's tried and tested on a friend on mine who's going through horrible morning sickness (ends up she tried it before I mentioned it, so this might be pretty well known). The other is half a Unisom tablet plus 50mg of Vitamin B6 - which matches an old prescription-only morning sickness cure that has since been taken off the market. Yes, they'll make you groggy (basically, they're antihistamines, and put you somewhat to sleep), but they're a good cure for nausea. Pick your poison, basically.


Want to avoid anxiety? Drink more fluids

Here's something I really should remember, but often don't.

If you want to avoid getting anxious, avoid panic attacks, avoid feeling depressed...

... drink more water. Heck, drink some Gatorade - it'll restore your electrolytes too. But mostly drink more water.

It's a stupidly simple thing. And so easy to forget. But if you're bouncing around on nearly empty, it'll make any bad feelings you're having worse. So drink plenty of fluids - at least 8 glasses of water a day.

And feel better.


The Sudafed Test for ADHD

Warning: the following post is not provided by a medical practitioner. Follow it at your own risk, under guidance of your doctor. If you have high blood pressure, or a history of heart problems, you probably shouldn't do this. Follow all instructions on the packet. I don't assume any liability for any problems that this may cause - again, do so at your own risk.

Now that that's out of the way, here's how I found out that I had ADD. Or some form of anxiety that mimics ADD in nearly all of its symptoms, such that ultimately it's pretty much exactly the same thing. Or so my Doc tells me.

I had a cold for a week, so I was taking an over the counter cold remedy which contained a decongestant. The weird thing was that I noticed that at the end of the cold, I was a lot more alert and awake than I had been before I even had a cold. Which got me thinking...

I tried an experiment. At first, I tried taking it at night, figuring that - since I have cats, and I'm allergic to them - it might be a pretty good idea to rule out allergies as being why I was tired all the time. I added in a new-class antihistamine (the ones which don't make you drowsy) to the mix, and it seemed to help a bit. Not tremendously, but at least a little.

I did this for a few weeks, and then one day - I can't remember why - I tried taking Sudafed in the morning.

The results were startling. I was able to focus at work much more, wasn't as tired, and I was happier and more alert. I carried on with this for a month, just to check that what I was seeing wasn't just a one off (I'd had weird experiences like this before - one time I got really bad food poisoning from Denny's, and when I finally recovered, I felt better than I'd ever felt before, period - so I wanted to rule that out).

It worked. Not perfectly, but enough to make me sit back and wonder. I went for sushi with a friend one lunch, and he mentioned that he and his son both had ADHD - and that it was getting worse as he was getting older. This got me thinking - what if I had the same thing? The symptoms are about the same - lack of concentration punctuated by periods of extreme concentration and productivity - also known as hyperfocus.

A little research later, and all of a sudden I had a working theory. Sudafed, you see, works by flushing your system with norepinephrine - its main claim to fame is that it essentially tells your system to pump out as much of the stuff as it can muster. Now, you've only got a limited supply of this stuff hanging around, but your body can synthesize more from L-Tyrosine, an amino acid that you can get into your system in a variety of ways, but my hunch is that eggs and sardines are great sources. (And sardines are an excellent source of calcium and iron, so they're worth eating anyway). However, it does mean that you'll run out of it - which is partly why the Sudafed wears off (the Sudafed itself gets metabolized as well, of course, which also screws things up).

The latest research shows that ADD and ADHD can be helped by pumping more norepinephrine into the brain. This is why the Sudafed trick works - although, unfortunately, it's also a stimulant, so it has other side effects including a faster heart beat, and the jitters. This is why if you decide to go down the same path, you probably shouldn't do it for more than a week, just to see if it works for you or not.

There are better things than Sudafed to cure ADD though. Something a little more... shall we say, industrial strength! It's called Strattera, and it's a Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor - or SNRI. Unlike Sudafed, it doesn't flush norepinephrine into your system - instead, it prevents your system from breaking down the norepinephrine, allows your brain to basically stew in what you've got. Which means that you're not going to run out. Also, it only acts on the brain (well, and your mucus membranes - which means that for the first time since I was a teenager, I have permanently unclogged nasal passages - in fact, when they start to clog up, I know that I need to pop another Strattera pill).

Armed with this knowledge, I went to a doctor who specialized in ADD. We talked for a while, I presented my findings, and she agreed to put me on the more powerful stuff. My life has changed for the better - I'm no longer as impulsive, I don't have anxiety, and I can focus at work. I also don't get involved in stupid pointless flamewars online any more. I'm still as creative as ever - but my brain's working the way I always thought it should.

So if you think you've got ADD, you might want to give the Sudafed test a shot. And eat more eggs and sardines. ;-)


Potential Snoring Cure

This one seems to help more if you've got anxiety/ADD than anything else; it can certainly alleviate a lot of snoring issues.

I discovered this a while back, when there was this whole new craze about getting more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids into your system. I was taking vitamins morning and night, so I just added fish oil capsules bought at Walgreens to the mix.

And unexpectedly stopped snoring.

Or at least, I did for a while. It definitely got a lot better than it was. So I tried a few experiments. One friend of mine with sleep apnea... stopped snoring, pretty much saving his relationship (apparently his girlfriend didn't appreciate the constant sound of sawing wood at night). Another tried it, and got very worried when a few minutes after taking it, he felt like his nose (which was broken) was expanding internally. Very odd sensation - but it seemed to help. I reported this to the local Swedish medical center who have a sleep studies department about 2 years ago... ... and have never heard anything back.

So does this work? Why not try it and find out. You've got nothing to lose - and you probably don't get enough omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet anyway. When you think about the fact that your brain - if you stuck it in a blender and then analyzed it - has about the same density, consistency and molecular make-up as a pat of butter, then maybe just maybe the fats that you push into it make a difference. (That similarity, by the way, probably explains the end of the movie Hannibal). You're supposed to get at least half of your fats in these omega-3 and omega-6 forms - most western diets only supply a tiny fraction of that amount.

If it helps, post a comment and let me know. If it doesn't...? Post a comment and let me know. Right now, I only have anecdotal evidence.

These days I just take Strattera which is a non-stimulant ADD med - like ritalin, but without the fun or street appeal. Apparently I have something with all the symptoms of ADD, but when you do the computer based tests, all my scores are flipped about the horizontal axis with those that a true ADD person would have - but if the symptoms are the same, and the drug works to alleviate them, I'm not sure there's much real-world difference. It also just so happens to completely open up my sinuses, making it possible for me to get snore-free, refreshing sleep.