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.

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What would you call Super High Intensity Training? Yeah. Me too.

Today PaleoPathologist visited his “friends” at Trufit in Denver, and was introduced to the ARX machines they just got. I suspect this just may be the next step in exercise evolution, intensity, effectiveness, and safety. The machine is designed to give you the perfect amount of resistance on the positive (concentric) AND negative (eccentric) phase of the repetitions, with multiple different exercises. PaleoPathologist thought he basically had the HIT (High Intensity Training) thing down, going to momentary muscle failure. PaleoPathologist was wrong. Welcome to Super High Intensity Training.

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Tip of the Day: Rapid easy cleanup for cast iron skillets

PaleoPathologist  loves his cast iron skillets, but people keep messing with them around here. For some reason they think you have to put soap in them to really get them clean.  PaleoPathologist’s Incredible Wife (IW) found a chain mail cast iron cleaner here, and ordered it up. When I finish my bacon and eggs in the morning, I pour a bit of the hot water from the coffee thing in the pan and let it sit. My cast iron is pretty well seasoned now. Then I buff it with this chain mail number with hot water, for about ten seconds, and it’s clean. A few seconds on the stove, a wipe with coconut oil, and all done. You can drop it in the dishwasher but it rinses clean fast. Amazon reviews claim it doesn’t scratch glass either–haven’t tried it though.

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What one exercise modality gives you bone and muscle strength AND cardio conditioning?

Drew Baye has been doing a great job of training athletes and ordinary folk for many years.  His blog is full of information (mostly for bodybuilding but many other posts as well). I enjoy his writing.  This newest one just re-emphasizes how efficient a good high intensity weight program (like the Body by Science Superslow style workout PaleoPathologist does every ten days or so at TruFit Health in Denver) really can be. TEN DAYS?? Yes. Properly done weight training ALSO gives you an excellent Cardio workout!  How long has this been known? Would you believe 1975?

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In short, maximal stimulation of muscles releases growth signals. This makes muscles grow, sure, but ALSO appears to help other tissues grow and repair. There is a correlation between muscle/lean mass and organ function, including heart function. PaleoPathologist is interested, and PaleoPathologist’s Pater, 86, still is going strong with HIS weightlifting. He is my inspiration.

PaleoPathologist is huffing like a racehorse at the end of the Leg Press. I was a breaststroke swimmer in high school and college and left it all in the pool when I raced, so I know what lactic acidosis feels like and this really does it. I’m up to 330 pounds (well, Nautilus pounds; who knows what that really translates to) for two minutes.

PaleoPathologist thinks that machines are just as good as free weights, and have a lower potential for injury. Other than aggravating a pre-existing shoulder problem if chest press form deteriorates, and one back spasm from overdoing the low back machine, NO injuries in over a year.

TruFit has a brand new toy, also, called an ARX machine. It is supposed to electronically adapt to your strength at every point during the repetition and meter out exactly the resistance you need. Yeah, PaleoPathologist is pretty sure that he has to try this new toy, as soon as possible!

So have you ever tried high intensity weight training? What has your experience been?

An interesting review of the “gut microbiome”

PaleoPathologist has as a “hobby” a PhD in Microbiology. He knows his bugs, especially Parasites and Fungi. He views some of the discussions about “gut microbiota” on the various Paleo websites with suspicion, but more and more articles are coming out in mainstream journals. This one came across on the Medscape email newslist that comes to my email. It’s a review article of the various interactions between the bacteria we carry around and how we behave!  Fascinating. The little monsters may be manipulating me into eating ‘taters!

If you are a fellow doc and haven’t found this corner of the literature, take a look; it’s a pretty easy read.  PaleoPathologist is now eating KimChi, Sauerkraut, full fat Kefir, and Bob’s Red Mill unmodified potato starch. (Start slow with the starch!  I had some volcanic episodes early on when the bacteria smelled the starch, yelled “whoopee” in their tiny little voices, and produced abundant methane.)

One little pill a day can cut cancer risk 9%? Really?

And the answer, according to a new publication, is…aspirin. Good old acetyl salicylic acid. PaleoPathologist has been taking an aspirin a day for many years; I use generic enteric coated “baby aspirin” (75 mg) because it seems to work as well as anything and costs basically nothing. As the article states, higher doses don’t seem to add much except side effects. The most common side effect is stomach upset or even gastritis and bleeding. As always talk with your doc about this since some people have higher risks of bad side effects.

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Diabetics, can you really get off insulin with diet alone?

Apparently. Here is a link to a brand new review article on exactly that subject. If I were a diabetic I’d be on the low carb ketogenic diet in a heartbeat…oh, wait, I already am.  I have a friend who is doing paleo-autoimmune for various conditions, a type II insulin dependent diabetic, and she is now completely off insulin. I’ve also heard type I diabetic physicians interviewed who say their blood sugar control is much less brittle if they restrict carbohydrates. (They still need some insulin, but not nearly as much and their Hemoglobin A1c levels are better.)

Please note there is a big difference between type I and type II diabetes!  Type I usually means the pancreas cannot make insulin, while type II usually means your body has become insulin resistant no matter how much insulin your poor pancreas tries to pump out.

And please don’t just “go low carb” without getting with your own physician. I hear reports of people’s insulin requirements dropping in a few days and you could get hypoglycemic without guidance. Dangerous and unpleasant. Test, test, and talk with the doc. Give them the link. My blog is definitely only for education, not for individual health advice.

What experiences have you had with diabetes?  Ever try a decent low carbohydrate diet?

Could cancer be a metabolic rather than a genetic disease?

This is a fascinating hypothesis. I’ve just scanned the article and am far from a molecular biologist; I’m just a simple country pathologist, but I work in a cancer hospital and wonder why we see so much of it around here? Today I made the diagnosis of colon cancer in a 39 year old! And I see squamous cell carcinoma, like the picture below, every week.

evan tumor picture