Monday, 11 March 2013

Rats in the Basement - lab update #1

This may be only the 4th post on this blog, but in the background research is actually quite far advanced.  A few hundred learned papers on, have there been any further epiphanies?

Well at the risk of sounding smug, I have to say yes, or least maybe.
When I started out in late January 2013, I knew that rats in the basement was not going to be an option; either my elder son would use them for target practice, or my wife would object.

My original plan was to rely on my powers of observation to guide my research and just draw on the pool of existing scientific research as needed to develop a plausible hypothesis, that could then be tested and quite likely rejected.  This is more like primary research, the fun type. I used to do a lot of this.  Primary research is used extensively in the business world and sometimes verges on espionage.

In primary research I now have two projects:
·         TRH and more specifically TRH analogs.  This looks very promising, but gets pretty complicated and there will be lots of citations.

·         Hypokalemic Sensory Overstimulation.  This may prove to be just a curiosity.

Secondary research is what most people do.  It is all about reading other people’s research and then either dutifully regurgitating it, or putting a new spin on it and taking it forward.  I used to this a lot and it can also be fun.  The interesting thing I learned is that two different people, or “expert” teams, could look at the same data and come to diametrically opposing conclusions.  This has great relevance to Applied Neurological Analysis, which as from post #1 is now officially known as ANA.
Researching TRH took me into the depths of research concerning a wide range of psychiatric disorders, addictions, epilepsy and even HIV-AIDS.  It also led me to read some much lighter weight studies that actually did have the word autism in them.  Then one evening, on Google Scholar, I was jumping between Hyperbaric treatment for autism and vitamin B12 injections and had about 20 windows open on my laptop.
Just as lithium-ion batteries can overheat and start smoking on Boeing 787s, it is also possible with your laptop.  Not wanting my research to be grounded, I picked up the pace.
I was reading a paper that was in effect junking the use of Methylcobolamin (Methyl-B12) injections in autism.  Then I saw that it mentioned a subgroup for which it appeared the therapy had indeed produced a measurable  positive effect.  The author hypothesized that in these children the B12 was somehow raising the level of Glutathione (GSH). A-Ha and what exactly is that?  All will be revealed in a later post.
This led to 2 developments:-
·         Open up an investigation into GSH

·         Note that sub-groups can exist in autism and so there just may be more to a “failed” clinical trial than meets the eye.
Having allowed the laptop to cool down, I did a trawl through the research on Omega 3 fish oil.  I am not a follower of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), but it turns out that its followers are big buyers of fish oil.

I used to take omega 3 capsules because I read they are good for your heart.  A friend recently asked us to pick up some special ones in London that are supposed to make your kid get higher marks at school.  It turns out that even my Mum used to be given cod liver oil and malt during World War 2.  I would have written “during the war”, but in many parts of the world, where you read this blog, it then raises the question “which one?”.

Having learned from my friend Colin, that you can actually be allergic to specific kinds of fish, I had discovered a few months back that I too have intolerance to farmed salmon and trout.  When I looked into what they feed the fish, I soon came to believe that this was a plausible cause of my symptoms.  So this means no more salmon and much less “natural” omega 3.  It turns out that some people are even allergic to the fish oil supplements as well, but thankfully not me.

I concluded that I have a ready use for a large batch of unwanted, long expiry dated fish oil, should I need one.  So I decided to add an Omega 3 to my secondary research and potentially add it to the primary research pile.  I do admit to starting with a sceptical bias.

As you can see, often you need both primary and secondary research for the same job, but for the moment at least, there are no rats in the basement.


If a further dose of humour is required at this time of day, ponder the reaction of the Japanese airline executive from ANA (All Nipon Airways) who is googling to see how much PR he is getting due the Lithim-Ion batteries in his parked fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Colin will be famous in Japan, as he deserves to be, and the sales of fish oil will rise.


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