Sunday, July 28, 2013
For the past couple of weeks our local handyman, Luke, has been doing various small jobs around our house -- renovating a closet, repairing a bathroom, patching door-frames, etc. -- and he noticed that whatever he was doing, he attracted a small audience of my cats. They'd sit for hours watching him, apparently fascinated with his work. Luke was used to this sort of treatment from children, but getting it from cats was something new.
"I bred them for intelligence," I told him, "And they've got it. They're about as intelligent as 6-year-old human children, except for not having symbolic language. But they're still cats, with all the curiosity of cats, and they use their intelligence for their own little furry purposes. Of course they're fascinated with the strange things you're doing; they've never seen anything like it before. By the way, we've got to give away four of the younger ones. Would you like a cat?"
"Can't take one," he said. "We're going to move soon, and anyway, my Doris is allergic to cats. Sorry."
Oh well, it was worth a try. Luke went back to spreading plaster on the bathroom wall, just being more careful of his audience of cats.
The next day he made a point of hunting me up, where I was working at the computer, and -- with a solemn look -- told me: "You know, that little Siamese-looking cat of yours is very moral."
I pricked up my ears at that, since "moral" is not a word one usually associates with cats, and said: "What do you mean?"
So Luke sat down and explained. He'd been in the kitchen, washing out a paintbrush in the sink, when one of the cats -- a colorpoint, therefore either Comet or Nascar -- trotted up to him and meowed for attention. When he looked, she trotted over to the cat-box in the corner, and jumped up on top of it; she didn't set foot inside the box, but walked carefully around the rim. She made the classic scratching motion that a cat uses to kick litter over a fresh pile of urine or manure, looked at him again, then picked her way over to the waste-bucket at one end of the box where I keep the poop-scoop, and scratch-scratched at that. Then she looked at him again, turned around and picked her way to the other end of the box where I keep the carton of clean cat-litter, and scratch-scratched at that.
Intrigued, he came over and looked at the litter-box, and saw that it was indeed overloaded. The cat repeated her actions and meowed a bit urgently. He got the hint, took up the waste-bucket and the poop-scoop, and began cleaning out the litter-box. Before he'd cleaned out more than half of it, the cat jumped into the clean end, squatted, and made use of it.
"She wanted me to flush her toilet so she could use it," he finished, "Rather than poop on the floor. That's a really good cat."
Well, what could I say but to repeat: "I bred them for intelligence, and they've got it."
"Yeah," he agreed. "Too bad Doris is allergic."
--Leslie <;)))>< )O(
Sunday, July 14, 2013
The latest propaganda trick from Big Pharma shows the industry's disturbing influence on the mainstream media.
To quote Life Extension, the newsletter of the Life Extension Institute -- one of the longest-lived (founded in the 1960s, and several of its founders are still alive and kicking) and respectable of the naturopathic organizations:
"On April 13, 2013, a meta-analysis performed by the Mayo Clinic was released that looked at 3600 patients and found huge cardiac benefits in those who supplemented with L-carnitine... The Mayo Clinic study found carnitine supplementation was associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality, a 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmias, and a 40% reduction in angina symptoms in patients who had experienced a heart attack. The media largely overlooked this favorable report, however.
"Instead, headline news stories were created based on a report released a week earlier that had asserted that carnitine (found in red meat) may react with certain gut bacteria in certain individuals to promote a compound (TMAO) that could then cause heart disease.
"These carnitine findings were based on a sub-study of 10 people. They were obscure, theoretical, and preliminary. Yet the media ignored hundreds of studies showing significant cardiovascular benefits to carnitine, choosing instead to use this study in isolation to bash anything that contained carnitine."
The researchers who came up with that 10-man study published their findings in the journal Nature Medicine, which has a strong bias toward vegetarianism and would welcome any "study" that made red meat look bad. The clinic where the study was done was not named.
This story shows that: 1) mainstream reporters and editors don't do their homework; 2) the big pharmaceutical companies have a pipeline to the mainstream media, whereby they can push reports from a small, "obscure, theoretical and preliminary" study in order to discredit following studies by a much more reputable researcher; 3) Big Pharma is scared to death that "supplements" might get approval from an institution as prestigious as the Mayo Clinic.
The reason for Big Pharma's hostility toward mineral and vitamin supplements is obvious once you look closely. Supplements aren't just rival medicines; they're all derived from natural sources -- they're discovered, not invented: derived, not synthesized. This means that they can't be patented. Given the downright obscene profits that Big Pharma makes from its synthetics (as much as 20,000% of manufacturing costs, according to Consumer Reports), the industry really-really doesn't want the public trusting medicines that anyone can make from food sources -- and sells for a thousandth of Big Pharma's price.
Our Latin lesson for today is: cui bono and caveat emptor!
Friday, July 12, 2013
I'm annoyed to see the pharmaceutical industry trotting its anti-vitamin propaganda around various popular news websites again, especially after seeing what a help vitamins, minerals and other nutrition supplements have been to me and my friends. I suspect it's because growing numbers of regular, respectable, AMA-anointed doctors are recognizing the usefulness of supplements and are prescribing them -- widely, sometimes instead of pharma-company-made (expensive) prescription drugs. Macy's, as they say, has no reason to love Gimbel's. Still, denouncing one's rivals by clever half-lies and outright lies is dirty pool.
The main lie being pushed by Big Pharma is that, except for cases of provable deficiency, vitamins and mineral supplements are useless, a scam, and a waste of money -- which could better be spent on proper prescription medicines. Right. Tell that to the numerous cardiologists, neurologists and oncologists who've found that Niacin is very good for their patients' post-operative care.
Lies are fairly easy to disprove, which is probably why Big Pharma relies more on half-lies, which only require omitting certain information rather than falsifying it completely.
The most common half-lie is that Linus Pauling (probably the greatest chemist of the 20th century), who believed in the benefits of Vitamin C, took mega-doses of Vitamin C but died of prostate cancer anyway -- therefore Vitamin C is useless. The whole truth is that, yes, Pauling was infatuated with Vitamin C and would hear no criticism of it, and did indeed die of prostate cancer -- but that was at the age of 93.
Half-lie number two is that "studies have shown" that cancer patients who took large doses of vitamins -- especially Vitamin C -- actually died sooner than patients who didn't, and therefore vitamins are actually bad for you. The whole truth is that it was, ironically, researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute who discovered that cancer patients who ate carefully-balanced diets with lots of vitamins did indeed die faster than those who didn't -- because the cancer cells ate the nutrients first and left the patients to starve. The best chemical means to kill cancer cells is to change the Ph of the blood from acid to alkaline, ingest mineral supplements which strip the protective/disguising biofilm off cancer cells so that white blood cells can attack them, and to hyperoxygenate the blood -- cancer cells being anaerobic. Indeed, the last thing one should ingest is anti-oxidants, such as Vitamin C. Mega-doses of Niacin, on the other hand, assist in hyperoxygenation.
Half-lie number three is that vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements aren't controlled by the FDA, and therefore have no standards of purity or quality whatever. The whole truth is that despite lack of FDA oversight, supplements are constantly subject to analysis and criticism by nutritionist and naturopathic medical organizations -- not to mention the Consumers' Union -- and with a little study the prudent buyer can learn which producers and products are reliable.
Half-lie number four is that supplements are "a billion-dollar a year business", and therefore a scam. The whole truth is that Big Pharma is a 646-billion-dollar a year business, proven to overcharge outrageously and lie shamelessly, and the cheats -- and prices -- of vitamin and mineral manufacturers are nothing by comparison.
Half-lie number five: supplements, even when proven "pure", have little if any effect. The whole truth is that minerals and vitamins are synergistic -- which is how they're found in Nature -- and therefore work best in concert with each other. Calcium, for example, doesn't get absorbed very well without the assistance of Vitamin D, and works even better when its absorption is regulated by Vitamin K-2. K-2, in particular, has shown itself very useful for pulling the calcium out of arterial plaque and depositing it in the bones and teeth where it belongs.
Half-lie number six: plenty of supplements, when tested, didn't work on most people -- so the few subjects who did show health improvements must have gotten them from other sources. The whole truth is that supplements are idiosyncratic -- they vary in effect with the biochemistry of the individual. Example: Hyaluronic Acid, which replaces cartilage and repairs arthritic joint damage for 20% of the population, and does little for the other 80%. This is why researchers are always looking for new vitamin and mineral combinations from Nature, and studying their chemical effects. The best way to take supplements is to get one's own biochemistry mapped and then get the advice of an expert, such as a naturopath or nutritionist. There's a lot more to the healing effects of supplements than just popping commercial megavitamins from the grocery store
In any case, minerals and vitamins are cheaper, safer, and sometimes a lot more effective than the Latest New Thing from the big pharmaceutical corporations.
--Leslie <;)))>< )O(