PaleoPeople and Memory Training I

Dr. Kelly has written a fabulous book about memory and so-called primitive peoples. PaleoPathologist considers himself a Primitive Person as well (PPPP?). Those primitive people stored vast amounts of knowledge in pieces of wood, stories, dances, songs, paintings on rock walls, all kinds of places. Lynne says that the Navajo, for example, had detailed knowledge of 700 insect species. How did they do that without writing?

Our wiring was designed to keep us alive, NOT to help us pass the National Boards! That includes areas of the brain (like the hippocampus) that appear to PaleoPathologist to have an active forgetting algorithm for anything my software deems unlikely to keep me alive…like the name of the person in front of me I just met, or that new genetic mutation that looks like number and letter salad.  Got to learn to hack the software, because 50,000 years of survival says it’s pretty good software and I’m not going to change it.

I believe the algorithm works by forgetting anything that “scores” too low on how many times it has appeared and how strongly it is encoded–especially things that are dangerous, look funny, or have anything to do with reproduction!

So to hack the system, we need to build in repetition, emotion, and imagery. Words just don’t cut it. Our “primitive” ancestors did all of this and, here we are.

In our series we’ll begin to explore how they did it and how we can take their hacks and use them to learn the delicious mysteries of NeoPathology!

What memory hacks do YOU use?

PaleoPathologist becomes ProfessorPaleoPathologist

Yes, good old PaleoPathologist got a wild hair and decided to become a Pathology Professor at Rocky Vista University. PaleoPathologistMate introduced me to the phrase “wild hair” when in the midst of seven years of Evil Duke Medical School. (Don’t call me Mr. Paleopathologist…) PP started in January and gave a series of lectures on Reproductive Pathology to the second year medical students. It felt great to get up in front of a group again and pass on some hard won knowledge.  For a longer account, see here.

Looking forward to getting back into an academic environment and teaching, learning, contributing in a new and different way. I’m ALSO looking forward to getting back into the whole PaleoPathologist scene; been absent for way too long.

Next week, PaleoPathologist will be attending Low Carb Breckenridge with a bunch of other Paleo Low Carb Keto Freaks. Will keep you posted. It might not even be too late to sign up yourself although hotel rooms seem to be getting short…during ski season…just saying!

Keto On.

How to build an inexpensive shoulder/rotator cuff exerciser

As you probably know by know PaleoPathologist is into high intensity, superslow style weightlifting. My internet buddy Drew Baye asked me about a piece of equipment I made called an Infimetric Bar. PaleoPathologist cobbled together two of them, one for deltoid work and one for rotator cuff work.


The rotator cuff bar is on the left and the longer delt bar on the right. Delt bar could also be used overhead for tricep or bicep work. Basically to do the delt bar, pull outward and slowly raise one arm while resisting with the other. You’ll feel it in the delts. You can hit various parts of the delts by leaning forward and back. To do the medial/anterior rotators, try to compress the bar between your hands and slowly move the bar back and forth, rotating at the shoulder (not the waist.) For the posterior/lateral cuff, try to pull the bar apart and do the same movement.

I’ve tried doing 30 seconds at perceived 50%, then 30 at 75%, then 30 at 100%, and also have done 45 sec at 50%, 30 at 75%, and the final 15 sec at 100%. I seem to like the 45/30/15 a bit more, since doing 100% effort for 30 seconds kind of sucks actually.

To build these, get some 1/2″ PVC pipe at your local hardware store. Try to get the thicker walled pipe. Get two 90 degree elbow joints for each bar you want to build.


I cut four inch-long handles but I’m not a huge dude so you could add half an inch or so. I wouldn’t suggest too much more; the leverage if you hold at the end MIGHT be a problem.

The center bar for my rotator is 17″. I just held a ruler up and held my arms out in front of me in a neutral position to figure out the measurement. The delt bar is 36″ long.

You’ll need some PVC cement and a file or sandpaper, as well as a saw to cut the pipe. It’s soft and easy to cut.

Cut out your 2 handles per bar and your center bars. Follow the directions on the PVC glue. I suggest putting the handles into the L joint first; when the glue seizes it happens fast and that’s it. Then glue one of the handles to one end of bar. The only trick is aligning the two handles which I did by resting the whole assembly on a table.

Cost is about, oh five bucks.

What exercise equipment have you put togetber?

You gotta eat some dirt.

5334281676_14e1e3ffc2_zDr. Walt Larimore is a long time friend, family medicine doc, author, speaker, professor, and just a great guy. His blog always has some interesting stuff on it. This week he writes about a study where kids whose parents wash dishes by hand have fewer allergies than the dishwasher machine folks!  Probably sterilizes the bugs less. Also they found that kids that eat fermented stuff also do better. The evidence just keeps accumulating that our bodies develop a better immune system if we get challenged periodically through life rather than trying to keep everything squeaky clean. It’s sometimes called “The Hygiene Hypothesis.”  As PaleoPathologistMate says, “A kid’s gotta eat some dirt.”

An addition to the famous Liver Post: Eat the Offal!

Dr. Colin Champ is a radiation oncologist and author of the Caveman Doctor website. He has written and podcasted for several years on nutrition, lifestyle, and exercise. In this post he discusses how the Masai, who are tall, well muscled, attractive people drink blood and eat the organs and leave the ‘scraps’ for the Europeans!  I happen to like liver but I was raised by farm folk who gave it to us periodically. High school swimmers, who absorb massive numbers of calories, are not picky eaters so thank goodness they gave me liver.


What gets in the way of your eating the good stuff instead of that wimpy muscle meat or (whew) chicken breast?

So do the predators eat the muscle or the liver first?

You gotta know they go for the “offal.”  Here is a photo to prove it. Liver? Full of vitamins (B12, folate, B6.) Full of iron. It’s a meaty vitamin pill.  Brains? Huge amounts of omega three fats. (go to the bottom to the fat section.) PaleoPathologist is a big liver eater. I’ve done brains a few times; once had Brains and Eggs at a little diner in Durham, NC and had some sheep brains in Thailand.

So, what do you think? Why do you or don’t you eat liver, heart, or kidney?

PaleoPathologist was busy!

What a couple of months! My father was in and out of the hospital, doing much better now. PaleoPathologist and his brother went fishing for salt water fish in Belize with fly rods, and we did not eat any of the bonefish we caught. Paleo? Hm. I can tell you that even a little bonefish is like a torpedo compared to a trout in the Rockies.DSC_0294

Then Incredible Wife and I went out to see two Cave Babies (two of the Grands) and had a great time.

A couple of weeks later PaleoPathologist and his son in law, who was an Army Ranger trainee, took to the hills to try to collect our own grass fed meat. We brought back a Doe Deer and ground the meat on Incredible Wife’s kitchen counter; should have taken some pictures, a Neanderthal would have been proud, shocked, and awed to see that machine spit out deerburger. There was one downside: the liver got damaged and I had to leave it for the coyotes.  (We saw bighorn sheep, deer, bald eagles, pronghorn antelope, and even a cougar stalking a deer. Even if you don’t bring home an elk, PaleoPathologist  has discovered that elk just don’t live in ugly places.)

Happy to get back on the horse here. I’ve got more about exercise, cooking, fat, all kinds of good stuff. Stay tuned!

Autoimmune disease rare in Middle East, says new doc in Denver

PaleoPathologist sometimes takes on young docs to help mentor them into Pathology. My newest mentee (is that a real word?) was looking at some slides for tomorrow’s liver disease conference, and one of the cases was autoimmune hepatitis. We see that diagnosis all the time at Porter Adventist Hospital, Transplant center. My new doc asked me, “What is going on here? Where I trained (somewhere in the Middle East; I’ll keep the exact country confidential) we almost never saw any autoimmune diseases or allergies. They are everywhere in the United States!  Is it maybe all the processed foods?”

PaleoPathologist on a Jimmy Moore low carb podcast.

Jimmy Moore is well known in the Low Carb community and fairly well known in the Paleo group as well. He is a real success story, having lost 180 lbs on the Atkins diet ten years ago. (That’s more than PaleoPathologist weighs, total!) Jimmy has quite an empire around “Livin La Vida Low Carb” with podcasts, forums, a useful blog, a Low Carb Cruise, all kinds of things. There is a good intro to Low Carbing that covers a lot of useful details (as I’ve said many times, you don’t do Low Carb by just axing flour and sugar!) He has also written a couple of books, Cholesterol Clarity and Keto Clarity, with a co-author, Eric Westman, who is an internal medicine professor at Duke.  PaleoPathologist was a student there and the Internal Medicine professors were very smart people.  I sent my story in to Jimmy (it’s on about page 172 of Keto Clarity) and he invited me to come on his Low Carb Conversations show. What a blast–he is well informed but a kind and generous host. Listen here!

How to deal with procrastination like a human

This fabulous couple of posts comes to me courtesy of the Caveman Doctor, Colin Champ. He mentioned it on the podcast, Relentless Roger and the Caveman Doctor. Good to listen to a couple of smart young men talk about diet, exercise, life.  The WaitButWhy website has a two part series on why we procrastinate. Hint: it is the Instant Gratification Monkey living inside each of our so-called human minds. But there is a way out–the monkey and the human can be trained. (this beats recruiting the third member of the triad, the Panic Monster!)

PaleoPathologist loves metaphors like the Monkey. They work so much better than erudite verbose explanations.