Author Topic: Another example of hormesis at work  (Read 4925 times)

Offline UrsusMinor

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Another example of hormesis at work
« on: March 05, 2011, 01:30:28 AM »
A lot of folks have noticed that heart attacks go up when it gets colder. Means cold is bad, right?

Yes and no. Researchers at London's Thrombosis Research Institute, in a little-cited paper, found that exposing people to cold water therapy over a period of time, working them up to delaing with it, actually resulted in healthy meatbolic changes that made heart attacks less likely.

So, a shock of cold when you are poorly adapted increases heart attack risk. Adaptation to cold lowers it.

Back in the 1940s and 1950s, they used to encourage heart attack survivors to avoid any exrecise at all, lest they precipitate another heart attack. Now, exercise--mild, but steadily increasing--is seen as vital. That's some progress...

One wonders how much other medical dogma is based on the same idiotic thinking--that something dangerous in excess should be avoided entirely.

Offline OtisBrown

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Re: Another example of hormesis at work
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2011, 08:24:02 AM »
Subject: Medical "blindness" and very bad advice.
I was told (as I was growing up) that "loud noise" could not have any effect on your "hearing".
But in working in a "high noise" enviroment, I  noticed that my ears would "ring".
I truly had to wonder about this "bad advice" to NOT WEAR PROTECTIVE EAR MUFFS when working is a high-noise environment.
I also noticed that the "old timers" who had worked in this "high noise" enviroment -- were STONE DEAF.
Thus "medical advice" was truly terrible and "faulted".
Sometimes your own "common sense" has to be your "guide".
So, today, it is now "standard practice" to use protective ear muffs.
So much for "medical advice" when it comes to protecting your long-term personal welfare -- in my judgment.
Otis

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Another example of hormesis at work
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2011, 11:10:10 AM »
UrsusMinor,

This is a good topic. Cold exposure indeed one of the best examples of hormesis, having both physical and psychological benefits when applied at the right levels.  Since starting cold showers, and following other hormetic diet and exercise practices, I've not had a single cold or flu.

You are exactly right that much medical practice is based on the assumption that, as you put it "something dangerous in excess should be avoided entirely".  This is also the basis of the dominant LNT (linear no threshold) dogma of toxicology, which has led the government to ban numerous useful chemicals, minerals, and treatments based on detrimental effects seen at ridiculously high levels.

It is ultimately a consequence of "defensive medicine" and a culture in which the individual no longer takes responsibility for his or her own health, but asks the government to regulate medicine.  Since the government cannot possibly take account of the variety of individual differences in physiology, it defaults to position of risk-minimization.  Paradoxically, this results in a medical culture which does not help individuals grow stronger and healthier.

Offline aelephant

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Re: Another example of hormesis at work
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011, 04:11:35 AM »
This thread got me thinking about the anti-bacterial craze that seems to be in full swing right now. Many years ago surgeons never washed their hands before surgery. Eventually someone started washing their hands and noticed far fewer patients catching infections and dying. Fast forward to the present and enter any hospital. At each doorway there are dispensing stations with anti-bacterial solutions. According to WikiPedia, the only "con" to hand washing is irritation.

Now consider the "hygiene hypothesis" but apply the same logic to bacteria. We have evolved for thousands of years with various bacteria living on our skin, in our guts and on our hair. Antibiotic drug resistance is a huge issue. I have read that many people suffering from acne (widely believed to be caused by a bacteria) see great improvement in their skin when they stop washing their face with soaps or antibacterial products. As with exposure to allergens, exposure to bacteria could also be expected to stimulate our immune system.

Just some rambling thoughts for now, hopefully this sparks some other ideas in someone else.

Offline OtisBrown

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Re: Another example of hormesis at work
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2011, 12:23:06 PM »
Hi Aelephant,
Subject: The adverse effect of "standard practice".
Re: The problem with "medical advice", versus providing Engineering/SCIENTIFIC advice.
Re:  How to draw the "line in the sand", so that you take wise responsiblity for your self, and your long-term visual welfare.
In medicine, very few provide any "long term" advice.  Why?  Because they know that the "public" (you and I) will not follow "their" medical advice.  The "few" brave ones who do "speak out" about the need for "prevention" (as per entry into myopia) are "beaten down" by a public that thinks that all who would "practice plus prevention" are fradulent (in some way) and are giving "bad advice" -- that should be ignored.  The result is "office isolation" that does not help anyone.  But, I think, that a wise "engineer" like Todd, and a few others finally realize that NO ONE WITH A MEDICAL TITLE, can or will help you with prevention, or worse, WILL NOT VOLUNTEER INFORMAITON ABOUT THAT POSIBILITY.  The result is that we live in "scientific blindness" about what should be "public knowlege", that wise use of the plus (at the 20/60 line) can result (with intense use) in the person clearing his Snellen to normal.  But of course, all who do that, are not considered "medical" -- so they are ignored -- totally. I don't make claims about success, but I do think about it.  Otis
This thread got me thinking about the anti-bacterial craze that seems to be in full swing right now. Many years ago surgeons never washed their hands before surgery. Eventually someone started washing their hands and noticed far fewer patients catching infections and dying. Fast forward to the present and enter any hospital. At each doorway there are dispensing stations with anti-bacterial solutions. According to WikiPedia, the only "con" to hand washing is irritation.

Now consider the "hygiene hypothesis" but apply the same logic to bacteria. We have evolved for thousands of years with various bacteria living on our skin, in our guts and on our hair. Antibiotic drug resistance is a huge issue. I have read that many people suffering from acne (widely believed to be caused by a bacteria) see great improvement in their skin when they stop washing their face with soaps or antibacterial products. As with exposure to allergens, exposure to bacteria could also be expected to stimulate our immune system.

Just some rambling thoughts for now, hopefully this sparks some other ideas in someone else.

Offline UrsusMinor

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Re: Another example of hormesis at work
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2011, 11:50:48 PM »
The thing is, almost anything can be thought of as a source of "stress." Too much forced labor? Bad. But how about enforced immobility? Ask any nurse about the effects of being confined to a bed.

The body adapts to challenges and generally improves in the process, so long as the challenges aren't overwhelming. Too much hot is just as bad as too much cold, but challenge in general is a good thing, and medicine doesn;t understand this as a general principle of the body.

I'm not sure if this merely harkens back to the Greek "Moderation in all things"...or if Nietzsche's "That which does not kill me makes me stronger" is more appropriate. 

Although Nietzsche wasn't quite right. That which challenges you makes you stronger. That which nearly kills you can really mess you up.

I guess I'll go with the Greeks: Moderation in all things, including moderation.

Offline thomas_seay

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Re: Another example of hormesis at work
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2011, 11:21:57 AM »
This thread got me thinking about the anti-bacterial craze that seems to be in full swing right now.

Yes, it's interesting.  The funny part is that many "Alternative Health" people who always talk about being holistic make up a huge part of this completely unholistic crusade.  One imagines a banner that reads, "Let's wipe out bacteria in our lifetime."  Another interesting craze is this belief among some of them of a Lyme disease epidemic! I know of one doctor here in the Bay Area who pretty much diagnoses all of her patients with Chronic Lyme disease.  It doesn't make sense.  For thousands of years we have been living in close proximity to deer (and other wild animals) and just now lyme disease becomes a devastating problem for humanity?????

Anyway, in case you haven't read it, check out this interesting potential treatment being developed for autism and asthma using RINGWORMS!!!!

Offline thomas_seay

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Re: Another example of hormesis at work
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2011, 12:05:48 PM »
Sorry, here is the article I mentioned in last post:

http://www.the-scientist.com/2011/2/1/42/1/

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Another example of hormesis at work
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2011, 02:34:19 PM »
Sorry, here is the article I mentioned in last post:

http://www.the-scientist.com/2011/2/1/42/1/

That's a great article, Thomas -- thanks for posting it!  The use of Helminthic Therapy (i.e. "worms") is something I also discussed in my recent post on Allergies and hormesis.  I also recommend reading Reubush's book "Why Dirt Is Good" as an antidote to the current anti-microbe hysteria.

Todd

Offline thomas_seay

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Re: Another example of hormesis at work
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2011, 04:47:09 PM »
.  I also recommend reading Reubush's book "Why Dirt Is Good" as an antidote to the current anti-microbe hysteria.


Todd, thanks for recommending the Ruebush book.  I am reading it right now.  Found this to be an important point that I did not know:

"...it is clear that by the time a child reaches adolescence, the large, robust thymus of early childhood has become a fibrous scar of its former self.  What this means to the functioning of the immune system  is that there is actually only a fairly small window of opportunity in a human life when T cells can be produced in massive numbers and set loose to patrol your borders."