Thursday, January 29, 2004

Change Is Good
My neurologist was saying that the real question that needs to be answered is why the voluntary motor nerve cells in the brain die, while the sensory nerves just millimeters, or microns away next door, do not die. I said that if I answer that, I get the Nobel Prize.

He also agreed with my new motto: "Change Is Good." Since we don't know what causes ALS, when you start making changes in your life, behavior, and environment, you stand a chance of eliminating the factor, or factors, that may be killing you. Why did I stop eating eggs? Why will I trade in the Neon for a Passat? Why get the iPod? Why take the 13 substances? Because, silly, "Change is Good."

Unless the apoptosis (programmed cell death) and subsequent demylination (picture an icicle melting) are genetically programmed into me. In which case no amount of Change is Good will make a difference. But if it were merely a genetic disorder (Hah! Notice that glib post-HGP phrase) they would have found the cause and quite likely be on the way to a cure. Yes, there are some people who have a genetic form of ALS (I believe I read that somewhere), but for the vast majority of people that is not the explanation. ALS appears randomly throughout the world population at the same rate everywhere. And you can bet they have done lots of studies on diet, exposure to toxics and radiation, etc., trying to find the answer. That's reductionism and correlation. Very powerful tools. Which have yielded naught, against ALS.

Maybe it has to do with particle physics. Don't laugh. Seriously. Did you know that billions of neutrinos pass through your thumbnail every single second? The true universe is not made up of the things that make up the universe you and I believe that we live in. Normal solid matter is 4 percent of the universe, according to advanced scientific studies performed by orbiting telescopes and instruments. So maybe there is a rare event in which a tiny black hole (or what the heck, just call it a Magic Particle) comes out of nowhere and hits your brain just right.... No, that doesn't make sense either, because (a) the Magic Particle has a trajectory and should injure you along that path, not in this nice vertical way that all ALS partents have, neatly confined to the motor cortex. Then how about some generalized non-trajectoried bathing radiation? OK, but why don't your sensory nerves react the same way when they get bathed? We are back to the same question: What is it about voluntary nerves that makes them die this way (in the presence of the Magic Particle or bathing radiation or even naked pictures of Julia Child)?

I think it must be: Evil thoughts on the part of the afflicted. Has anyone ever done a personality study on the ALS population?

How about ... evil deeds?!?!

I obviously have a lot of research to do. I am a monkey in the cockpit of an airplane.
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