Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Simple AM Radio Transmitter

This simple circuit transmits the audio output from my iphone halfway across the room using a 1-MHz crystal oscillator.  I was hoping for a better transmit range using my Tecsun AN-200 medium wave antenna. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Type 2 Diabetes and Sulfate (Epsom Salt)

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Insulin Resistance has become a terrible pandemic far worse than Ebola or Bird-flu.  According to WHO statistics, approximately 9% of adults worldwide have diabetes which directly results in over 1.5 million deaths per year. And this statistics greatly underestimate the disastrous impact of diabetes on health.  While type 2 diabetes is only the 7th leading cause of mortality in the US, most people who die of coronary disease, heart failure, stokes, kidney failure and sepsis also also have diabetes as a significant contributing comorbidity.
Unfortunately, when it comes to diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary disease, kidney failure, and stroke; medical science is still in the dark about the root causes of these diseases.  We know it has to do with a combination of genetic and environmental factors like diet and exercise. But this isn't the whole story because exercise and health enthusiasts arent necessarily living longer and current medical treatment are not curative.

A new theory that has yet to be studied and verified by large multi-centered studies suggests that insulin-resistant diabetes may be a consequence of sulfate deficiency.  Sulfur is one of the most important elements in the body.  Sulfur in the form of sulfate is used by the liver to detoxify the blood, and used to solubilize and transport important complex molecules within the body. Despite this importance, the USDA does not have a recommended daily allowance for inorganic sulfate. The government kind-of treats sulfate as a pollutant.  It is not required in fertillizer, removed from water, and scrubbed out of coal and oil emissions.

3 personal cases are supporting the finding that insulin-resistant diabetes is a result of sulfate deficiency and improves  significantly with daily oral supplementation of inorganic sulfate in the form of Epsom salt.  I have three acquaintances with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes that I have committed to taking 1/4 tsp Epsom Salt orally disolved in water once- or twice a day and all 3 have seem dramatic improvement in their blood sugars.  They also are avoiding tylenol and sodium benzoate preservative which both negatively impact sulfate metabolism.

How does sulfate help and possibly cure insulin-resistant diabetes mellitus?  If you don't get enough sulfate in the diet, the body is also difficient in cholesterol sulfate which is an intergal component of cell wall bi-lipid membrane function. A person deficient in inorganic sulfate, will also be deficient in cholesterol sulfate.  A person deficient in cholesterol sulfate will be deficient in cholesterol sulfate and "lipid raft" formation in cell walls, especially skeletal muscle. Without lipid rafts in skeletal cell walls, Glut4 receptors cannot be inserted.  Without Glut4 receptors in skeletal cell walls, which are responsible for binding insulin and absorbing glucose from the blood, the person becomes insulin resistance. 

Early cases demonstrate that oral inorganic sulfate supplementation in the form of magnesium sulfate heptahydrate (Epsom Salt) together with limiting exposure to acetaminophen (Tylenol) and sodium benzoate, and cinnamon (contains benzoate) significantly improves daily blood sugars.

These dietary sulfate guidelines could potentially benefit any inflammatory condition that is assiciated with elevated homocysteine, psychiatric conditions linked to SAMe, some pregnancy-related diseases, acute thrombosis linked to heparin sulfate, neoplastic disease related to glutathione and folate-DNA repair mechanisms, and cholesterol-sulfate-linked Alzheimer's dementia.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tactile Augmented Reality

Dr. Eagleman is an American neuroscientist at the Baylor School of Medicine, Laboratory for Perception and Action. Dr. Eagleman gave a TED talk at the following link:  This talk discusses the principles of sensory perception and how the brain makes sense and responds to sensory inputs.  

The brain is set up to perform pattern recognition and association. The brain doesn't care how or where the data comes from. You give the brain any sensory inputs and given some time, the brain will begin to draw out patterns in the data and then associate those patterns with other patterns. The brain is designed to recognize patterns, make and then reinforce connections.  

Humans have been designed with 5 major senses: sound, sight, taste, touch, smell.  These 5 senses exclude the inner ear that is designed to sense orrientation and acceleration.  There are other refined senses in the animal kindgom like a bat's echolocation, or a pit viper's thermal sense.  Birds have magnetite in their heads that helps them orrient to the Earth's magnetic field.

For the brain, everything is just electrochemical signals and synapses. According to the brain, it doesn't really care what the peripheral input devices are.  We see this with the blind and deaf. Many blind people learn braille and instead of seeing words written on a page and associating meaning with various symbols, braille readers (blind or seeing) can teach their brains to "read" by associating meaning with tactile bumps on a page instead of printed symbols.

On one side, scientists have been moderately successful in bionically restoring sight and sound perception to the blind and deaf by creating artificial eyes and cochlear implants which simulate natural sensory organs.  Other experiments have been done using sensory replacement or augmentation. In this case one sense can be converted into another.  In this way, blind or deaf persons have been able to see or hear by converting a digital image or audio into tactile sensations on the forehead, tongue or back.

Sensory associations can get a bit messed up too.  Synesthesia is when certain people associate certain numbers or letters with a color or shape. Projecting synesthesia report actually seeing certain numbers as having a color.  PTSD is a disabling disorder where victims experience flashbacks, and strong negative emotions, anxiety, panic in association with certain "trigger" sounds, smells, taste, or sights.  On the positive side people can have positive emotional response where the smell of fresh baked bread "takes them back" to happy emotional memories of childhood or a vacation.

Dr. Eagleman talked about using a vest that transmitted sound into tactile stimulation for the deaf. This served as a cheaper and much less invasive alternative than undergoing a coclear implant.   But the interesting part was the potential adaptation of this "augmented reality" technology for the common man. So far, scientists have envisioned augmented reality to involve glasses or contacts which project or overlay information into our visual field. The downside to doing this is that ths paradigm may detract and distract from our visual senses. 

According to Dr. Eagleman, the visual sense is really very limited. Despite the complexity and amount of data being imputed to our brains, the brain has to narrowly scan through that ocean of visual data and pick out patterns one at a time.

Instead, Dr. Eagleman suggests augmented reality data could better fed to us by tactile sensations. The brain receives a deluge of vibratory, touch and proprioception data from our skin allowing our brain to know exactly where each part of our body is at any given moment. This spacial sensation makes it possible for us to cognitively visualize, project, predict, and make coordinated complex movements. 

Dr. Eagleman is of the opinion that augmented reality data may be more efficiently and less obtrusively fed to us through tactile stimulation instead of visually using a vest with hundreds or thousands or potentially millions of tactile vibratory and light touch stimulators on our back and torso.  While our eyes, ears, arms and legs are always being heavily used, the advantage of using your chest, abdomen and back is that this sensory real estate is not really being used much.

The potential possibilities of using an augmented reality tactile vest is to unobtrusively receive needed information like turn-by-turn directions (like the apple iwatch tactile sensor) but also recieving realtime telemetry data on the orientation and functioning of a complex machine like an airplane.  In this way a pilot could "feel" the status of the airplane at every moment.  Similarly, health data could be transmitted through a similar system allowing a nurses to "feel" and continuously monitor the status of their patients.

Are there downsides to this technology? Like any technology, it can be abused and used to manipulate. Imagine a matrix-like dystopian future with 7 billion people or more all wearing these augmented reality vests?  Could central governments be tempted to begin sending unsolicited information and stimulus to users to distort, decieve, modify, and manipulate behavior, emotions and attitudes?  

In the future "internet of things" are we all humans to be plugged into a grid where central governments and corporations begin using people and their processing potential in crowdsourced, distributed computing projects? Will humans together with our appliances, toothbrushes and even forks become yet another "thing" to be controlled through a future global matrix?

Okay, I wasn't really taking this Matrix thing serious until I just read the following article about "Human Sat Nav" system controlling movement with electrodes and electrical impulses to the muscles. Is this wearable tech one step closer to the creation of a Borg-like Hive and Collective?  Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Metabolic Manipulation: Cancer Treatment Paradigm

Up to now, traditional cancer treatment involves a cocktail of super-expensive cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs that target rapidly dividing cells. The aim of our current treatment strategy is to give the patient just the right dose of poison that will kill the cancer but not the patient. With only a few exceptions, the focus on most cancer treatments has been to target rapidly dividing cells by directly damaging DNA (cisplatin, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide), indirectly damaging DNA (MTX, 5-FU), inhibiting DNA repair enzymes (etoposide), or by targeting key enzymes necessary for cellular division (paclitaxel, vincristin). The problem with this paradigm is that this selective killing isn't selective enough. However, this strategy is not the only one out there.

[Cytotoxic chemotherapy is very effective for leukemia and this article does not seek to discourage current effective and even currative treatment regimens.]

Another promising paradigm for cancer treatment would be to focus on the manipulation of metabolic pathways of cancer cells. Scientists are discovering that cancer cell metabolic pathways may be unique or at least more limited than normal cells. And it is these metabolic limitations that could be exploited. First off, we know that all cells in the body can generate energy using several anaerobic and aerobic mechanisms. These metabolic pathways include: anaerobic glycolysis, aerobic respiration (TCA cycle), oxidative phosphorylation, lipolysis (ketogenic), and gluconeogenesis,

One of the first identified biochemical hallmarks of tumor cells was a shift in glucose metabolism from aerobic oxidative phosphorylation to anaerobic glycolysis (the "Warburg effect" or "Warburg hypothesis"). Now, scientists have revealed that cancer cellular functions and growth are primarily dependent upon the anaerobic metabolism of glucose, fructose and lipid (lypolysis). Aerobic respiration via the TCA-cycle and Oxidative phosphorylation is very complex and requires intact mitochondria. Because of that complexity, mutated cancer cells can rarely depend on aerobic metabolism for energy. Instead, they rely primarily on the much simpler anaerobic glycolysis; using glucose and fructose as fuel. Otto Warburg, 1931 Nobel Laureate, was first to measure and explain the mechanisms behind the large amounts of lactic acid produced by cancer cells.

However, when glucose levels are low, cancer cells are in a pinch. They can't do aerobic respiration, so lacking glucose, they instead turn to ketogenic lipolysis for energy. But cancer cells have the complex machinery needed to transport lipids into the cell. Instead, in a low glucose environment, they use their damaged oxidative phosphorylation pathway and other pathways to generate high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS are then secreted into the cells microenvironment where they damage nearby cells. In this way, cancer cells begin to parasitize nearby cells and literally eat their host alive.

New studies suggest that cancer cells may not generate ROS themselves, but instead, reprogram neighboring stromal fibroblast cells to generate high amounts of ROS for them. The ROS then damage neighboring cells resulting in lipid peroxidation, and the production of lactate, and ketones which the cancer cells can use for energy. Through this mechanism, tumors do not need much of a blood supply. Understanding how cancer cells metabolize energy, we can now develop new strategies to kill them.

Together, the medicines, herbs, and vitamins listed above should do two things. First, a low-fructose diet together with Metformin and DCA will serve to inhibit both gluconeogenesis and anerobic glycolysis and force cancer cells into lipolysis. While we want the force the cancer into a ketogenic state, a ketogenic diet and dehydration are discouraged because scientists believe that cancer cells may thrive on lactic acid and ketones. That said, this first strategy should force the cancer cells to depend primarily on lipolysis for energy.

Next, iron chelation is added to inhibit ROS formation. Antioxidants like Vitamin C, E, Co-enzyme Q10, and Cumin are added to prevent remaining ROS oxidative damage to surrounding tissues. Also, anti-inflammatory and immune modulating agents such as aspirin, cimetidine could be added to reduce inflammation and boost cellular and humeral immunity. All together, cancer cells should not be left with any alternative energy alternatives. Then, at that point, cancer cells would turn cannibalistic and should undergo autophagy.

The hope is that a paradigm focused on metabolic manipulation, will be not only more effective at curing cancer, but will avoid the terrible side effects of traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy. However, until this new paradigm is proven, it will most likely be necessary to test this new paradigm in between rounds of traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy.

Metabolic Manipulation: A New Cancer Treatment Paradigm

Mebendazole:  tubulin disrupting agent  induces apoptosis via Bcl-2 inactivation in chemoresistant melanoma cells.  Healthy melanocytes were unaffected.

Aspirin: inhibits the activation of a transcription factor that leads to cancer cell growth and inflammatory response (via cytokines IL-1 and IL-6).

Cimetidine: prevents histamine binding and indirectly enhances local anti-tumor response via IL-18 signaling to the immune system's natural killer and T cells.

Dichloracetate (DCA): DCA inhibits pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK), an inhibitor of pyruvate dehydrogenase, a key enzyme in glucose metabolism. DCA blocks anerobic glucose metabolism in cancer cells from glycolysis inducing apoptosis. [orphan drug used to treat lactic acidosis].

DCA in doses over 25 mg/kg can cause demyelination and peripheral neuropathy by oxidative stress. However, taking adequate antioxidants like ellagic acid can prevent this side effect.

Ellagic acid is an antioxidant found in blackberries, cranberries, pecans, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts, wolfberry and grapes.  Ellagic acid prevents the demyelination side-effect from DCA allowing patients to take higher effective doses.

Metformin: suppresses the AMPK/mTOR/S6K1 axis and several protein kinases. Metformin may also specifically target the cancer-initiating stem cells, thereby preventing cancer relapse when used in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy (dandelion root hypothesis). [Beware Cimetidine and Metformin are secreted by the same cation pump in renal tubules]

Low Fructose Diet: Pancreatic cancers use the sugar fructose to activate a key cellular pathway that drives cell division

Black Cumin Seed: Nigella sativa oil containing thymoquinone has been demonstrated to reduce the growth and size of tumors in rats.

Co-Enzyme Q10:
 (Ubiquinone) lipid soluble antioxidant that stimulates the immune system leading to higher antibody levels, greater numbers and/or activities of macrophages and T cells and increased resistance to infection.

MitoQ: Ubiquinone-based antioxidant that concentrates in mitochondria.

Vitamin C and NAC: both human lymphoma or human liver cancer cells which produce high levels of free radicals were suppressed with these antioxidants in a DNA damage independent mechanism. Researchers believe that the antioxidants destabilizing a tumor's ability to grow under oxygen-starved conditions.  NAC, taurine, and epsom salt boost intracellular glutathione levels.

Desferrioxamine: iron chelator that binds iron and limits a key limiting metabolite needed for tumor growth. High iron levels also inhibit the immune system.  Desferrioxamine is also a powerful antioxidant and stimulates p53 activity. A combination of p53 stimulation and BCL-2 inhibition (mebendazole) would likely induce normal apoptosis in cancer cells.