A Brief History of Disease, Science and Medicine by Michael Kennedy

A Brief History of Disease, Science and Medicine:
From the ice age to the genome project
By Michael Kennedy MD FACS

“‘Those who compare the age in which their lot has fallen with a golden age which exists only in imagination, may talk of degeneracy and decay; but no man who is correctly informed as to the past will be disposed to take a morose or desponding view of the present.’ (Macaulay, History of England, v. 1, ch. 1, 1848.)”

“The invention of agriculture marks the transition to the Neolithic, or ‘new stone age,’ period. With it came the development of larger social groups and the advent of infectious disease.”

“Prior to agriculture, with few carbohydrates in the diet, the incidence of caries (cavities) was about one percent in skeletal remains (and none are found in the Iceman). In the Neolithic period, with a diet including cereals and other carbohydrates, this incidence rose about five fold, still far below the incidence after the introduction of sucrose in the seventeenth century.”

“Ancient cities were so unhealthy that, until the nineteenth century, the mortality rate of the city-dwellers exceeded their birth rate and the population was only maintained by an influx of rural immigrants. Rome was an exception because of the high quality of sanitary facilities but other factors intervened…”

“Imhotep, an Egyptian physician in the archaic period and vizier to Pharaoh Zozer about 2600BCE, became a revered and, finally, god-like figure in later dynasties, establishing a following somewhat like that of Asclepius in Greek medicine. By the sixth century BCE he had replaced Thoth as god of healing.”

(to be continued…)

How To Eat Food

Thought eating was as simple as putting food in your mouth? Well, maybe it is. Chew on this!

These simple rules will help you adopt a bio-consumption-healthy lifestyle. Don’t try to make lifestyle changes in leaps and bounds. Can you say relapse? Start at the top and work your way down. Bon apetite! Continue reading How To Eat Food

My Workout Adjustments

More Rest Days
As follows every 1-2 week near-full vacation from working out, I feel better, healthier and stronger, and look better than ever while I torture myself. I am going to attempt to keep myself away from the gym and out of my running shoes for 2-3 days per week.

More Warm Up and Stretching Time
Before runs and most workouts I will take a hot shower, a warm up walk and jog, and do light dynamic stretching. I will do dynamic and static stretching after my workouts as usual.

More Variety and Better Balance
I will not focus only on running; I will add biking. Lower body workouts will alternate focus and will occasionally be in the gym including dead lifts, squats, lunges, and step ups. I am also reducing my push up efforts to within range of my pulling efforts: pull ups, chin ups, and body rows. My upper body workouts will continue to be body weight focused including push ups, dips, pull ups, chin ups, body rows, and sit ups and will occasionally be free weights and cables instead.

Tempt Some Pains
I will continue to stay fully aware of my body signals and address warning signs appropriately, but I will push further into the types of pain that have demonstrated no correlation to injury.

Less Barefoot Running
As a matter of convenience and in the interest of experimentation, running will be performed primarily with shoes. I will continue to warm down, walk and hike barefoot on occasion.

All of these changes will increase health benefits and reduce proneness to injury.

Understanding Yourself And The Universe

Terence McKenna – Nobody Is Smarter Than You Are

We all must try to understand what is happening. We need to try to understand what is happening. In my humble opinion, ideology is only going to get in your way. Nobody understands what is happening. Not Buddhists. Not Christians. Not government scientists. Not… you know. No one!… understands what is happening. So, forget ideology. They betray. They limit. They lead astray. Just deal with the raw data and trust yourself. Nobody is smarter than you are. Continue reading Understanding Yourself And The Universe

In Defense Of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

Notes and Quotes:

The entire book is an elaboration on:
“Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Interesting Quotes:
“A few years ago, Rozin presented a group of Americans with the following scenario: ‘Assume you are alone on a desert island for one year and you can have water and one other food. Pick the food that you think would be best for your health.’
“The choices were corn, alfalfa sprouts, hot dogs, spinach, peaches, bananas, and milk chocolate. The most popular choice was bananas (42%), followed by spinach (27%), corn (12%), alfalfa sprouts (7%), peaches (5%), hot dogs (4%), and milk chocolate (3%). Only 7 percent of the participants chose one of the two foods that would in fact best support survival: hot dogs and milk chocolate.”

“For a more complete (and fascinating) account of the biochemistry of these fats and the story of their discovery read Susan Allport’s The Queen of Fats.”

“Wild greens like purslane have substantially higher levels of omega-3s than most domesticated plants.”

“Two of the most nutritious plants in the world are weeds – lamb’s quarters and purslane…”

“Gas stations have become processed-corn stations: ethanol outside for your car and high-fructose corn syrup inside for you.”

Turf Toe

I recently sprained my big toe from barefoot Ultimate Frisbee. I should not have assumed that an ability to barefoot run for 40 minutes corresponded to being able to perform the side-to-side, twisting, and rapid acceleration and deceleration involved in Ultimate Frisbee for a full hour. Luckily, while I had to stay in Saturday night and walking has been a pain, I don’t expect this is more than a minor sprain. I’m recovering quickly and expect to be walking normally in 72 hours and back to the trails in a week or two. Unfortunately, if this is turf toe, this could be a serious problem. Continue reading Turf Toe

How to Train for 100 Consecutive Push Ups

I started Phase 2 of this plan 45 days ago, doing sets of 20 push ups. Now, I can do sets of 44 push ups. I expect to be able to do 100 consecutive push ups in 45 more days. From 20 to 100 consecutive push ups in 90 days sounds good to me.

Workouts and Rest Days
Always take a rest day after each work out. I recommend doing these workouts every fourth day. Day 1 will be the workout prescribed below. Day 3 should focus on back strength to balance your upper body, but I like to include dips, DB press, or shoulders if my chest feels fully recovered. Day 2 and 4 are rest days, lower body days, or cardio days.

Phase 0) Do sets of push ups with your knees on the floor until you can do sets of 3 or more without your knees on the floor.

Phase 1) Do sets of perfect normal grip push ups, all day if necessary, until you can do 100. Repeat this workout until you can do 100 push ups in less than an hour.

Phase 2) Do a set of perfect normal grip push ups and stop when your pace slows down or you lose form. Repeat sets of this number of push ups until you’ve done at least 100. If you complete the workout successfully, your following workout will consist of sets of push ups with a 10% increase in reps per set. For example, if you can do 12 push ups before your pace starts to slow and you lose form, then you will do 9 sets of 12. 9*12=108. Your next workout will be 8 sets of 13. 8*13=104. Continue this progression until you can knock out one set of 100 consecutive push ups.

The progression might look like this: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 33, 36, 39, 42, 46, 50, 55, 60, 66, 72, 79, 86, 94, 100. Even if you can only do sets of 1 today, you could potentially be doing sets of 100 in only 120 days following this plan. Though, notice an increase from 1 to 2 is an increase of 100%, not 10%. Be very careful when starting out.

Be conscious of your body and how it’s responding to recovery. Your chest can handle more than you think, but your elbows may get sore, and if your form is poor you can injure your shoulders. If your elbows are ever sore, ice and proper rest should suffice. Avoid other upper-body work for a few days. Consider skipping your Day 3 upper body workout. If you strain your shoulder, stop your workout immediately and ice your shoulder. If it still hurts the next day, contact me or a physical trainer or therapist or your doctor. Always keep good form!

Read more: How to Train for 100 Consecutive Push Ups — Second Attempt

Active Fascial Contractility

Fascial tissue may the ability to contract and adjust stiffness, potentially to the benefit of athletes under prolonged periods of mechanical stress. Endurance training may include an element of fascial tissue training which would work in conjunction with muscular endurance to further develop our bio-mechanical endurance.

What is fascia?
“Dense irregular connective tissue sheets in the human body – such as aponeuroses, joint capsules, or muscular envelopes like the endo-, peri- and epimysium – are usually referred to as fascia. Ligaments and tendons may be regarded anatomically as local thickenings of fascial sheets, which are adapting to increased local tension with a denser and more parallel fiber arrangement.”

Why am I excited?
“it is also assumed that fascia is solely a passive contributor to biomechanical behavior. Contrary to this common conception, the authors propose the hypothesis, that human fascia may be able to spontaneously adjust its stiffness in a time period ranging from minutes to hours and thereby contribute more actively to musculoskeletal dynamics.”

“Interestingly, in the condition “frozen shoulder” the fascial contracture sometimes improves spontaneously within a few days [24] and [25]. This seems to indicate a fairly rapid release of cellular contractions, rather than long term morphological changes in the collagen architecture.”

“Suspending thin strips of this fascia in a superfusion system, they were able to induce clear and reversible tissue contractions in response to mepyramine, calcium chloride, as well as adenosine. (…) The rapid onset, the reversibility, the repeatability and the dose dependency of the contractile responses in all these tissues suggest that cellular receptors are responsible for the observed effects.”

For endurance athletes:
“When exposed to several hours or even days of high stress situations, an innate capacity to increase fascial stiffness may be invaluable.”

“Given the genetic capacity of fibroblasts to become contractile, it seems feasible that our bodies now may contain the ability to activate this advantage when challenged by periods of high mechanical and/or emotional stress.”

For body builders, power lifters, and mixed martial artists:
“A temporary increase in fascial stiffness would consequently improve fascial proprioception and increase muscular activation. An animal or person with an enhanced fascial stiffness would therefore have the advantage of a generally more precise and more rapid muscular reflex coordination in response to fascial proprioception, as well as the increased sturdiness.”


“If we hypothetically apply the same force ratio to whole fascial sheets in the human body, it seems clear that such fascial contractions could have substantial biomechanical influences.”

“Manual deep tissue therapies, such as Rolfing or myofascial release, which claim to influence fascial tone [38], may be able to benefit from more specific understanding (and new questions) from this new perspective. It is also possible, that acupuncture, which has been recently shown to be intimately linked with fascial anatomy [39] and [40], may be better understood and its effectiveness improved.”

“How is fascial contractility related to microinjuries, to hypoxia, to stress or infection related cytokines? How does it respond to different hormonal or pharmacological agents? Why does the fascial contraction in frozen shoulder often heal spontaneously, while this is rarely the case with the palmar fascia in Dupuytren contracture? How do different types of static and cyclic mechanical stimulation influence fascial contractility?”

Active fascial contractility: Fascia may be able to contract in a smooth muscle-like manner and thereby influence musculoskeletal dynamics