Sunday, January 26, 2014

How to Fix Stuff

People have started asking me to help fix their things, too. (LOTS of people). I keep insisting I don't know how to fix things, but they beg to differ. Often. So here are my secrets (and then you can fix your own things!):

1. Have no other options (ie no budget for another washer and dryer) so either it's you or nothing. Start searching craiglist's free board for a free one that works, just in case it comes up (because then you don't have to fix it).
2. Figure it's already broken so you can't make it worse.
3. Google it. If you have the problem, someone else did, too, and someone who knows more than you told someone else how to fix it.
4. YouTube search it. Usually the make and model of whatever's broken and the words "how to" (and more terms if you've discovered them in your Google search). Watch people fix it.
5. Try to fix it. Fail. Repeat six or eight times, making sure you get hurt on the fifth or seventh time (usually). Pray for help after the third and eighth times. Or more often.
6. Take a break and repeat steps 3 and 4. Several times if necessary with whatever new words or ideas you've learned.
7. Call someone you know who knows more than you and see if they have any ideas.
8. Repeat steps 3 and 4 again. Several times if necessary.
9. Pray about it.
10. Try again and get the darn thing fixed. Or else throw it away and pray for a new one (you've been watching Craigslist just in case, right?). Or, if necessary, get someone else to help. (See if you can trade favors somehow because, you know, you're doing this because you didn't have the budget to get help in the first place).

Honestly, the secret is pray--google--try, over and over until you figure it out or you know you can't fix it.

The other secret is call your Dad and get his help. Dads can fix anything.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Did I just read that?

From facebook:

Ehem.  Bocelli is blind. So it obviously cannot be an argument that all people should see. Maybe that all people should not abort, but not one that all people should see. Or hear. Or...whatever.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fibro theories--some more

I've been reading a book about Zombies . The end of chapter one tells about an experiment someone did on mice. When mice are lacking food, they go into a state of slowed-down animation (not fully suspended animation, but definitely a metabolically slower state) called torpor. Scientists discovered that the starving, torpor-induced mice were overloaded with 5' AMP (adenosine monophosphate). So, being scientists, they injected the 5' AMP into normal, healthy, food-secure mice and, lo and behold, the mice had an overreaction to the AMP and instantly dropped into a severe torpor.

So, reading about that and how AMP messes with thermoregulation, and I remembered reading about AMP before.

AMP is what happens when a molecule of ATP (adenosine triphosphate--the cell's energy molecule) uses up two of the phosphates in a sort of double-energy reaction. In normal cellular energy use and production, ATP and ADP cycle to each other, back and forth, rarely needing to use two phosphates and turn into AMP. When ATP does get turned into AMP instead of ADP, there is an enzyme called adenylate kinase that takes an ATP and an AMP and combines them to form two ADP molecules, which are then easily used to form two ATP molecules. There is not direct way to recycle AMP into ATP, though, and the body usually considers an excess of AMP a waste product.

Apparently it is well-documented scientifically that the energy production systems, on a cellular level, are broken in people with fibro. And they're broken in a way that leads to an excess of AMP (you see where I'm going, right?).

Current theory (of the vein that pushes the idea that ribose is good for fibro--like here says that the AMP is considered a waste product and broken down and thrown away by the cell, leaving the cell with no building blocks to make more ADP and therefore more ATP, and that is why people with fibro lack energy.

But I have a different idea, based on the mouse studies. I have no idea what the difference between AMP and 5'AMP is.  It's really hard to look up online (oddly--most everything else is easy to find online). As far as I can tell, they are the same.

So what if the excess AMP is not actually being broken down in people with fibro, but is instead inducing a state of torpor? Torpor includes a reluctance to move, a lower metabolism, and a lower body temperature, all of which are hallmarks of fibro. What if the enzymes that usually "babysit" the ATP cycle are broken, so they don't regulate the ratio of AMP:ATP like they're supposed to. That would mess up (if my research is right and I understood the chemistry right) all kinds of metabolic processes, including the insulin and lipid production/ break down processes (which are also known to be broken in people with fibro).

Because an excess of AMP in the muscles usually happens in time of stress or in times of heavy exercise, the body of someone with fibro would constantly be giving itself messages to rest and recover, and to stop muscle movement (like holding the arms out) way way way before it would be normal because the muscles would be getting the message that they were tired and hurting from too much exercise right off the bat. That would explain why Tim's muscles and mine feel the same when we hold our arms outstretched too long, but too long for him is several minutes, where too long for me is several seconds.

The ration of AMP:ATP also is related to what runners call the anaerobic threshold--the line where your body stops using energy effectively and your blood and muscles get bogged down with lactate, causing a lactate lethargy--that heavy feeling that you can't move your legs, and achy muscles. Science has apparently also proven that people with fibro reach the anaerobic threshold much faster than average healthy people do--like in response to regular life movement rather than exercise (which may be why so many of us have 2 "good hours" in the morning where we can get stuff done, and then we just feel like we don't want to move anymore...just like an athlete that hit that threshold).

Interestingly, the diabetes drug metformin can actually treat this AMP imbalance if it's caused by a breakdown of the enzyme 5' AMP-activated protein kinase (or AMPK), but there is some question if doing so can cause Alzheimers because having too much AMPK is connected with the development of Alzheimer's.  This might simply be a case of correlation and not causation. (People with Alzheimers have too much AMPK, but maybe that's because of the Alzheimer's and not the other way around).  I'm curious if anyone has tried to use metformin for Fibro?

There are other enzymes that could be the broken ones, of course, like adenylate kinase.

I am really curious if there is a messenger or regulatory enzyme that could be attached to many (most? all?) of the systems that are broken in fibro. Of if it could be something else? (For example, low ATP levels in cells make cell membranes unstable--could fibro patients be shedding cells at an abnormal rate? Fragile on a cellular level? Is the ATP issue causing the body to suck up phosphorus from the blood, which causes some of the symptoms of fibro and is scientifically correlated with chronic fatigue?).

Interestingly, the mouse study with AMP indicated that AMP is a key component of thermoregulation (namely, it can disable thermoregulation in mice). The link between thermoregulation breakdown and fibro is well established, but the cause has remained unclear ( theorized it had to do with brown fat, for example, and a recent study found a connection between nerves, blood vessels, and thermoregulation in fibro

So why does ribose help? Taking ribose increases the body's supply of adenosine, which allows it to make more ATP than it otherwise would. This increase in ATP once again balances the ratio of AMP:ATP. Apparently having this ratio right (not just having enough ATP) is the key to cells functioning properly and taking them out of the anaerobic threshold (allowing the body to process the lactic acid normally, removing the lactate lethargy) and also informing the cells that the muscles are no longer in a post-exercise recovery state all the time. It would also cancel the torpor and the metabolic issues associated with it, since they are regulated by an overabundance of AMP.   As one set of doctors suggested, it "reduces the metabolic strain" on the muscles.

Hmmm. All that from reading a book on Zombies.

I need to take some biochem classes so I can dig deeper.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Food allergies

For a year or so now I've wondered about the whole "Modern Life causes food allergies" claim that is being tossed around. I've heard it's because we eat too much processed food, because we don't play in the mud enough, because we go to doctors for all our problems so our immune systems are too weak. While the proponents of these ideas make strong arguments sometimes, the arguments don't seem to answer all the questions or clarify all the data exactly right.

Today it dawned on me:

Our grandparents didn't know anyone with food allergies because those people died the first time they had a bad reaction to food, which is usually in childhood. Modern medicine allows us to save the life of people with food allergies, so you meet them now. And they live to bear children, which would allow them to produce more people who potentially have food allergies.

People also didn't go to the doctor as often back then, for sure. And they died of that, too.

If you eliminate all the people with food allergies from the population by killing them off (or allowing them to die naturally, from their allergies), then of course you had fewer food allergies showing up in the population.

Also, people's diets were far more restricted--there was less choice by far. That means people were statistically less likely to be exposed to all the food allergens, giving them less chance to discover they had a food allergy.

So you either died from the food allergy right away or never found out you had one. There may have been just as many food allergy families back then--they just didn't know it or didn't survive to have children with more food allergies.