Crisis in Canadian health care

In Canada most people have to wait a year or even  longer to have hip or knee surgery. The waiting time for this  procedure seems to have reached epidemic proportions.This reminds me of the polio pandemic of the 1940-50’s . The voluntary organization which was raising funds for this pandemic had 2 choices- “…It could have invested their resources into perfecting better iron lungs… Instead of iron lungs , the Foundation invested heavily in basic research on the conquest of polio. It was certainly the wiser decision” -a quote from Roy Walford textbook entitled  Maximum Life Span page 7.. Maybe our governments should follow this pattern for this disease. They may also wish to consider this same strategy for cataracts which  now has long waiting list  for a year or longer.

Politics priority-pipeline assistance vs Churchill railroad

If recent negotiation with the BC government fails before end of May 2018,  our federal  government is willing to  help financially  the cost of  this interprovincial pipeline from Alberta to the Vancouver port, but not for the repair on the washout railway line to Churchhill- a problem  unresolved for over 2 years and which has resulted in the cost of living for residents of Churchill.  Where are our government  priorities?

Hayflick limit, telomere length and stem cell therapy

Stem cells therapy is becoming a common form of therapy in medicine especially for strokes, heart attacks degenerative diseases like arthritis and disc degeneration. In some cases the cells undergo many cell divisions as they become miniature organ structures  like beating hearts etc.  It is now generally accepted that as normal cells divide their telomeres become shorter and when reach a certain shortening length  the cells eventually stop division. This phenomenon of telomere shortening is believed to be the cause of Hayflick limit of  cell divisions.

I wonder is some of the failures in using stem cell therapy may be due to telomere shortening.

Importance of knowledge of tumor biology

Using the words “tumor biology” I did a Google search  on one of my  other websites namely   <docSamBlog>  and found 3 posts. I refer the reader to the one which discusses the importance of formal courses in tumor biology  and nutrition for medical students as well as for practicing doctors- especially oncologists.  We all know that pathogenic bacteria can develop resistance to specific antibiotics . I wonder whether  the poor response in some patients with cancers  to  specific antitumor drugs , and/or the development of remissions are related to the ability of cancer cells to undergo  heteroploid transformation and specific selection of a karyotype. I recall from my research as a cell biologist with the Dept of Cancer Research at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon (1961-1965 period) where I demonstrated that if a single cancer cell  from a cell line was isolated and then allowed to undergo numerous cell divisions in cell culture -I used the tumor cell line called HeLa- that chromosome analysis of many cells from this population showed cells with varying number of chromosomes-ranging from the low 50s to 70’s with a stem cell line in the early 60’s(Hrushovetz, S.B. Importance of heteroploid transformation in the etiology of neoplasia. Proceedings of the 17th Western Regional Group MRC/NCI. 1963).This phenomenon is called heteroploid transformation.For my Master’s degree in Biochemistry from the U. of Alberta  (see publication Phytopathology 47:261-264.1957 )I had earlier shown that the addition of specific amino acids to the culture medium on which the cereal plant pathogen called Helminthosporium sativum was  sub cultivated could alter the virulence of this pathogen in producing root rot disease . Alternatively these experiments could be interpreted  as  demonstrating that for a pathogen to retain its virulence it required the presence in their environment of specific nutrients

Time to study the possible role of hydergine in concussions.

Neurologists, other medical professionals especially sport doctors and therapists, and sports announcers among others, regularily gather for seminars and/or conventions to discuss concussions. Recently (on 06th Dec 2016) on a national evening TV program I viewed a seminar chaired by our Governor General a victim himself of concussions with 2 speakers Ken Dryden and Eric Lindros,- also victims of concussions. Although this presentation seem to provide valuable information on the incidence and long term effect of concussions they seemed to do little for finding a cause and/or a cure judging from the finding that both the incidence and costs for concussions continue to rise. The management of concussions still remain basically symptomatic with the affected individuals often making the final decision themselves as to when they are considered fit to return to their professional sport.
In an earlier post I outlined there are 4 levels of scientific proof categories for doing medical research. These are testimonial, argumentative, correlational and scientific -the latter being the accepted gold standard or double blind random study. In my opinion meetings and/or programs outlined above seem to only provide testimonial evidence. What is needed is more scientific based research- the 4th category or the gold standard. In 1998 The Life Extension Foundation published a pocket book entitled “The Physician’s Guide to Life Extension Drugs”. In this 268 pocket book, 14 pages were devoted to hydergine- In this section the authors mention that in many European countries (at least in the 1980 period) hydergine was used for emergencies with claims of reviving accident victims who were thought dead from heart attacks, drowning, and drug overdose! Many Hospitals in Europe routinely give hydergine to many patients before operations( Pearson and Shaw entitled Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach).Other effects of hydergine include increasing blood supply and amount of oxygen delivered to the brain resulting in enhancing metabolism of brain cells. Three other major effects of hydergine on the brain include protecting the brain from periods of insufficient oxygen supply (The Cat experiment), the prevention of free radical damage, and also the ability to increase memory, intelligence, learning and recall- the latter being the rationale for its use for treating senile dementia which is why hydergine is often labeled the smart drug. Incidentally hydergine was once the 5th most prescribed drug in Europe. What I have just described are the rationale for treatment of concussions with hydergine based on these argumentative and/or correlational observations and/or associations. We all know that in medicine before a drug can be prescribed as a treatment it must pass the gold standard test ,i.e. the 4th category of scientific proof- the highest level.. But here is the dilemma. Since we cannot predict who is likely to suffer a concussion following a head injury, and furthermore since the symptoms themselves are slow to appear whereas the damage to the brain may actually occur within minutes after the injury like in strokes and/or heart attacks, would it not be prudent to give the athlete prophylactically a drug like hydergine before they go on the playing field or an intravenous injection immediately following their head injury? Some time ago I posted such a post in my blog (docsamBlog). I have also sent emails to several professional hockey and football clubs suggesting that since they cannot predict who is likely to sustain a head injury and concussions, why not give them hydergine just like the surgeons in Europe were doing,i.e.before the scheduled games begin? I have also discussed this potential protocol with many of my medical colleagues. It seems this medical idea and others like the many paradigm shifts suggested for medical practice that I have presented at several meetings, reversing the aging process and many other ideas , have fallen on deaf ears.
Just a footnote for the reader to consider: Remember that Dr.Jenner and others who developed a vaccine for smallpox introduced this ” vaccination ” form of protection before they knew that smallpox was caused by a virus, Dr. Lind prescribed limes for those “adventurous & pirate sailors ” on their long sea journeys before we knew the role of vitamins (vitamin C) in nutrition- treatment of scurvy.
Posted 7th December 2016 by Dr. Semeon B. Hrushovetz
Labels: cat experiment concussions docSamBlog Eric Lindros Govenor General hydergine jenner and smallpox vaccination Ken Dryden life extension foundation categories of scientific proof neurologists

Iron Lungs of Gerontology,Alzheimers and Aging.

Tuberculosis also known as the white plague was the leading cause of death in the middle ages and remained as one of the 3 major causes of death into the early decades of the 20th century. Patients in Manitoba infected with tuberculosis were usuallysent to the sanatorium in Ninette Manitoba to recuperate from this tubercular bacillus. The advent of anti-tuberculous antibiotics changed that and Ninette has become an abandoned historic site.  When polio became an epidemic in the early 1950’s , those patients who had bulbar polio and paralysis of their respiratory muscles- could only survive with machines called iron lungs.Manitoba archives show wards at one of the city hospitals with thousands of patients  in such incubators.
Dr. Roy Walford in his textbook “Maximum Life Span ” detailed the  choices that the medical profession had when confronted with epidemic outbreaks of paralytic bulbar polio. Here is a  quote from pages  17-18 from  his textbook :

“… Our long-term efforts should be for prevention ahead of treatment. The national Foundation for infantile Paralysis faced a similar kind of policy decision in the 1940s and 50s. It could have invested all its resources in perfecting better iron lungs. If that had been the choice, we would now have the best designed iron lungs imaginable, inhabited by thousands of polio victims. Instead of iron lungs the Foundation invested heavily in basic research on the conquest of polio. It was certainly the wiser decision. …” He goes on to say “…My point is that old-age homes and the vast social support structures  continuously accumulating to care for the helpless aged are the iron lungs of gerontology. Improvements in the social, economic,and medical support system for the elderly  will merely provide symptomatic relief for an expanding problem … “

Of note. a similar world wide programmed vaccinations program for smallpox was successful  in irradicating    this so called red disease

Cancer etiology genetic or environmental

Cancer aetiology-genetic or environmental
In order to prevent what is going to kill you, you need to know what those factors are. Lets zero in on Canada’s number one killer cancer -When you search Canadian vital statistics lets consider the latest figures which I reviewed- those for the year 2011. There were 246,596 deaths. Statistics Canada divided their population into 4 age groups: 1-24, 25-44, 45-64, and 65 years and over, and found that the percentage of cancer deaths were 10%, 21%, 44% and 28% respectively. Not surprising cancer was the our number one cause of death in all 4 age groups. But what surprised me was that cancer caused 10% of the 2679 deaths in the youngest age group. Most oncologists estimate that only 10-20% of cancers are genetically determined, with the rest due to environmental factors with diet responsible for 35%, and tobacco 25%(at least for males.with the percentage in females rapidly approaching the same figure). It is also well documented that the main reason for the higher cancer deaths in those 45 and over for lung cancer and possibly also for the other environmental factors like diet and radiation is due to the so called lag period. If this hypothesis for the mechanism of environmental carcinogenesis applies then genetically determined cancers in the 1-24 age group should be responsible for more cancer deaths with fewer from environmental such as by food, smoking ,radiation, etc. Such information may give the oncologists,epidemiologists, and genetic counselling specialists new tools for their management of this major killer.
Posted 4 days ago by Dr. Semeon B. Hrushovetz

Genetic etiology of cancers

Earlier this month- about a week ago- in my other blog <docSamBlog>  I published a post citing ( using the argumentative scientific approach )  that oncologist might wish to use the argumentative  approach that with the data suggestion that 20% of tutors are genetically determined and that for the other 80% which have an environmental cause , and further that because there is a lag period of requiring up to 20 years or more before the precancerous lesion becomes an established cancer, and further it could be argued that in the first quarter of life  ( 1-24 Yeatrs these predetermined factors have not had sufficient time for these precancerous lesions to become established, that  a higher if not indeed most of the cancers of this age period  may ineed be of genetic origin

Today I read a report (or was it on the TV) detailed the history of this tumor by a neurological surgeon from my alma mater. Apparently after a vigorous chemotherapy protocol the lesion resolved only to appear in another part of the brain which I believed again went into remission . I would like to comment that what we are seeing is the epigenetic effect of chemotherapeutic effect on cancer genes.. Also that the approach for treating the majority- probably 80% or more-whose etiology aare caused by environmental factors- like smoking, food (nutrition), radiation etc. Epigenesis may explain the often observed phenomena of miracle cured in children.-

Choices for Alzheimer’s management-More Nursing Home Beds or Medical Research

Before discussing these 2 choices here are some interesting facts  regarding Alzheimer’s that I extracted from  internet searches   :

Data  for  USA  : Alzheimer’s  ranks as the 6th  leading  cause of death surpassing  breast and  prostate cancer deaths combined ; currently   every minute someone develops Alzheimers  (thats 60 new cases every hour, 1440 for each day (24×60) and  525,600  for each year (1440×365);  predictions are that  by 2050 this rate  will double to a new case of Alzheimer’s  developing every  30 seconds  doubling the number  to over 1 million new cases annually ;   the   medicare costs today to treat Alzheimer’s in the USA is 236 billion annually excluding the $5000 that care givers also spend annually with  predictions based on increase in number of people over agen85  that   by  2050   these costs will  rise to over one trillion dollars annually .

Canadian picture-just as gloomy : according to Canadian vital statistics for  2013  Alzheimer’s  ranked as the 5th major cause of deaths behind, cancer, heart disease,stroke, and chronic respiratory disease; because the elderly are currently the fastest growing segment of our population  there are now more people over age 65 than  those under age 17  with the prediction that by 2050 half of the elderly will be over age 85; since incidence is related to age viz.  at age 65 only 8% of the Canadian population have   some degree of Alzheimers but by  age 85 this incidence increases to 35%; since  by  the year 2050  half of the elderly will be over the age of 85 you arrive at the alarming conclusion that Alzheimer’s  could have 35% of more of the population having Alzheimer’s and become the become the number one cause of death;    the  current annual health care costs for Alzheimer’s is  around 30 billion,  by 2050 it could increase  to over 300 billion  and it alone could bankrupt our healthcare  system for Canada.

We desparetly need a solution now . In the title of this post I suggested there were 2 routes available.-  more nursing home beds or basic research to find the cause and cure  of rAlzheimer’s.  As with other  pandemics in the past we also had similar 2 choices . For example In the 1940’s and 50s with the polio epidemic , governments were facing a similar policy decision- should they   invest their resources to build more and better iron lung machines with   hospitals to house the iron lungs with patients in  these machines  or should they invest in basic medical research to find a cure for polio. The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis as it was called in those days  chose the latter- a wise decision.  Regarding Alzheimers we have the same 2 choices-more nursing home beds or medical research.  I especially like the comments by Dr. Roy Walford in his text book entitled Maximum Life Span. Here is part of his quote found on  pp17-18   “… My point is that old age homes and all the vast social support structures continuously accumulating to care for the helpless aged are the iron lungs of gerontology. Improvements in the social, economic and medical support system for the elderly will merely provide symptomatic relief for an expanding problem. …” .

By giving top priority to constructing 1200 more nursing home beds the province of Manitoba would seem to have made their decision. Of note in  Saskatchewan the government claims that everyday there are 10 new cases of Alzheimer’s. Thats over 3600 cases each year. If eventually 25% of these cases require nursing home beds , then the  province would have to build over 900 beds annually. In the 19th century  tuberculosis- known also as the white plaque- was the leading cause of death claiming over 35% of the population.  Sanatoria like the Manitoba one had at  Ninette were quickly constructed . With the discovery of antibiotics which  specifically killed the  tuberculosis bacterium   patients no  longer had to go to sanatoria  and these buildings soon  became museums.

I have become quite fascinated with the advances made in Alzheimer’s research, and will discuss topics role of Vitamin D and the 7 common ways we have to slow the aging . These  together with 3 special procedures – 1)  hyperspectral endoscopy to view the retina and the brain. According to Swati More “… the retina is not only connected to the brain , it is part of the Central Nervous System…-” ;  2)perispinal etanercept administration to neutralize tumor necrosis factor-alfa (TNF-alpha) which is believed involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease- this drug is currently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.; 3) deep brain stimulation – Dr. Andres Lozano has used it to treat Parkinsonism and there are trials with Alzheimer’s patients. Look for these to appear in my future posts.







Criteria when person is officially dead.

I ask this question because of my research experience will behaviour of human lymphocytes in cell culture at the Kidonan Institute of Gerontology- a private non profit research Lab I set up in December 1974 during my early years of Medical practice.

To discuss the  history of this private non profit research Lab you have to go  back to July 1965- actually 1961- the year after I graduated from Medicine from U. of Manitoba in 1960 and had done  a one year rotating internship at St. Boniface General Hospital, Upon completing my rotating internship I was invited by the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon to join their newly formed Department of Cancer research as a cell biologist with the rank of Asst. Professor.. At this Cancer Research Lab they had  just hired Dr. Joesph Morgan – from the Connaught Research Lab in Toronto where together with Dr. C Parker they perfected the tissue culture techniques to grow human polio virus in tissue culture and enabled Dr. Salk to developed the polio vaccine for which he received the Nobel Prizefor Medicine..This enabled me to perfect the techniques of tissue culturegrowth of human tissue  Not only did I he esearch LOver the next 4 years I when I set up the Winnipeg Clinic Research Institute  Laboratory at the Winnipeg Clinic on the invitation  by Dr. PHT Thorlakson.  I was invited by theU. of Saskatchewan to work as a cel biologist in their newly established Department of Cancer Research in 1961 to set up a private Research Labmat the Winnipeg Clinic.