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Future Imperative

What if technology were being developed that could enhance your mind or body to extraordinary or even superhuman levels -- and some of these tools were already here? Wouldn't you be curious?

Actually, some are here. But human enhancement is an incredibly broad and compartmentalized field. We’re often unaware of what’s right next door. This site reviews resources and ideas from across the field and makes it easy for readers to find exactly the information they're most interested in.


The future is coming fast, and it's no longer possible to ignore how rapidly the world is changing. As the old order changes -- or more frequently crumbles altogether -- I offer a perspective on how we can transform ourselves in turn... for the better. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, financial or medical advice. Indeed, much of what I discuss amounts to possibilities rather than certainties, in an ever-changing present and an ever-uncertain future.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Curing All Cancers, or... A Bit of Wild Speculation

            The Obama Administration asked for our best ideas to be researched in their #CancerMoonshot, so here are three key concepts which they might find useful.
            The first core idea is to combine several techniques at once which are apt to lead to the death of cancerous cells while only enhancing each method’s effectiveness instead of interfering with each other. The second core idea is to apply some of these techniques to other major diseases. The third core idea is to enhance other elements of health care to help with diagnosis and prevention of cancer as well as other illnesses.
            So, to begin, the suspected cancer-fighting benefits of dichloroacetic acid (DCA) caused quite a stir a few years ago. DCA was reputedly reactivating mitochondria in cancer cells which had shifted to glycolysis (a less efficient, anaerobic form of energy production found in these oxygen-starved cells). These newly awakened mitochondria were, in turn, triggering apoptosis (cell death) in these malignant cells. Further, a similar effect has been noted when using the supplement quercetin on tumors, and reactivating mitochondria is also a property of pyrroloquinoline quinone (or PQQ), particularly when used in concert with COQ10 and N-acetylcysteine.
            My as-yet-untested (but public domain) idea is this: A device called the Q1000 generates far-infrared radiation (FIR) and red-spectrum light which supposedly have a number of positive effects on the body, including an enhancement of mitochondrial function by as much as 150% and an increase in blood circulation in the area targeted, even in conventional use of the device. My thought is that these light-therapy effects, whether from this instrument or another, could be leveraged with a number of tactics and resources, including some other methods for boosting circulation in a targeted area or reducing it (as appropriate)… potentially triggering the same reactivation of mitochondria and cell apoptosis claimed in the DCA research, only more dramatically so, while combining this treatment with other treatments which also lead to the destruction of cancerous cells.
            If we can reach that end goal of restarted mitochondria and resultant dying cancer cells consistently, cheaply, safely, non-toxically and with primarily positive side effects (if any), we could revolutionize cancer treatment… by destroying cancer.
            Failing that, if we can merely augment existing treatments cheaply and effectively, we would at least have the chance to dramatically reduce fatalities associated with the disease.
            Let us discuss a few options possible in such a treatment.

            First, the claim of wholly beneficial impacts of the Q1000 and/or similar forms of light therapy, even if true, is probably only accurate within some limited level of use, if not standard recommended exposures. But as we are trying to kill the cells in question (if not surrounding or interposing cells), a certain measure of latitude is possible here. Hence, if continuous exposure increases the likelihood of mitochondria reactivation, then we have every reason to pursue it. (How we can bring about this exposure and effectively target it without strapping multiple low-powered far-infrared lasers to the body of a hapless patient or lab rat will be dealt with below.)

            Second, changing circulation levels may prove useful in a few different ways. There are a number of physical and chemical methods for changing overall circulation either in the entire body or in specific areas, from niacin to negative pressure and so forth, but a less well-known and less intrusive technique is Dr. Win Wenger’s “Expansion method,” wherein you imagine a part of your body an inch larger in all dimensions and an inch further from the center of your body. This latter effect can be more precisely targeted than many, and being non-physical combines easily with other tools. (If necessary for some patients, more elaborate biofeedback training could refine this effect. And clearly the Q1000 itself is another source of targeted circulation enhancement, which is already involved in the overall process.)
            Depending on various tumors respond, these tools, used separately or in concert, could help reverse the shift to glycolysis as part of the reactivation of more normal cell function and the mitochondria themselves.
            Alternatively, if reactivating mitochondria does not require further circulation, but a reduction of circulation augmented by the Q1000 itself is required in any instance, there is a little-tested variant of the Expansion method, the Contractile technique. Imagining a part of the body as an inch smaller in all dimensions and an inch closer to the center of the body may well reduce circulation in that area. One reason to employ this tool could be to reduce blood flow to a newly forming tumor and to encourage its early shift to glycolysis so that change can be fatally reversed with Q1000 targeting and other resources. A shutdown in localized circulation by also encouraging glycolysis in cells on the surface of tumor which might not reach that state as quickly as the rest of the mass. Basic biofeedback techniques should help if any extensive training in this (very simple) technique) is needed, not to mention providing one objective measure of whether they are working at specific sites in the body.
            Further, ultrasound increases the absorption of topical quercetin up to a thousand times, which leads to two other interesting treatments – high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and hyperthermia. Increasing the heat of tumors by a few degrees can also trigger apoptosis, and ultrasound is one way this heat can be transmitted. Another obvious way to transmit heat would be far-infrared wavelengths as employed by the Q1000 and similar therapies (which also have some ability to penetrate tissues). The precise, ideal intensities of FIR/red-spectrum light and ultrasound to be employed, as well as the optimal quantities of the above substances is clearly a matter for experimentation and will likely vary based on the cancer’s type, location and stage of development, as well as factors apt to vary from patient to patient.

(Incidentally, ultrasound can also open the blood-brain barrier when passing medications into the central nervous system, which has implications for cancer and other treatments in that part of the body.)

            Third, these tools can be combined with supplements and/or drugs (such as DCA) already known or suspected as mitochondrial rejuvenators or reactivators. These could be injected directly into tumors of sufficient size or as close to them as possible. Testing alternatives for relative value, compatibility with common drugs and so forth would be the obvious choice.
            Conventional drugs attacking the cancer may or may not be counterproductive, synergistic or neutral in their impact – alternatively disrupting mitochondrial reactivation, supplementing the effect with a lethal impact on targeted cells (especially surface cells), or having no significant net result. Again, DCA is an obvious option, as are quercetin, PQQ and anything likely to work synergistically in reactivating mitochondria.
            Allowing these supplements to flow in prior to any disruption in circulation may be necessary, depending on what you decide to do with blood flow around tumors. On the other hand, you may use such manipulations to boost the presence of these materials before beginning Q1000 exposure in earnest, perhaps increasing their levels again during breaks in FIR/red-spectrum treatment. Then again, injections, as well as another technique discussed below, may make these effort unnecessary.

            Fourth, how could these energies be transmitted continuously to precise locations without immobilizing the subject? Simple. Far-infrared, near-infrared and the entire spectrum of visible light can be transmitted over fiber optic lines. Said lines are also used in endoscopic surgery. These lines can be run through clothing made for this purpose, with their end points transmitting the necessary light and/or infrared radiation into fixed points. The cables can be set in position by any number of methods, from tight clothing molded to the body, to periodic patient/practitioner adjustment (with key points temporarily inked as indicators), to something as prosaic as a light bandage or tape. Internal transmission of these wavelengths is possible through medical endoscopes, though presumably for much shorter periods of time. Ultrasonic transmitters could similarly integrated into clothes or strapped on to the body.
            As an aside, to the extent that certain of these spectrums are capable of killing bacteria, then, to the extent that they penetrate human tissue more effectively than anything else in the visible spectrum, they may be effective for targeted or more broad-based elimination of harmful bacteria, such as in a patient suffering from a serious disease. The degree to which directly affecting its environment with light, FIR, ultrasound, heat and other factors, particularly in concert with conventional treatments can destroy bacterial or even viral infections may prove a critical area of study. Imagine if AIDS could be purged from lymph nodes or anywhere it may conceal itself in the body, turning its traditional safe havens into deathtraps for the virus.
            Further, certain frequencies of light have been observed to break up the protein tangles associated with Alzheimer’s. To the extent that countering this symptom helps in the disease’s overall treatment, it is worth noting. Indeed, any symptoms which can be countered in a safe, non-invasive way may be worth eliminating, particularly if these interventions prove effective in slowing the pace of the condition.
            Alternatively, to the extent that that transmission of light into mitochondria serves as an additional energy source, the above clothing, used within reasonable limits, might serve as an effective way to help normal exercising individuals increase their overall energy levels. Even people engaged in their daily activities might find such clothing useful, though again, within safe limits. (The potential impacts on fitness, obesity, diabetes and so forth require further consideration.)

            Finally, there are many other resources which should be tested for their value in diagnosis, for directly targeting (or healing) aberrant cells, for prevention of these or other illnesses and for the general enhancement of human health. For example, right now IBM has been developing a diagnostic version of Watson which collects symptoms and checks them against its database, presumably using both hard data from testing and subjective information from the patient’s comments and their doctor’s observations. But as our processing power and sensors’ accuracy continue to skyrocket, imagine a medical system that collected as much information as possible – continuously – from each patient included and uploaded them as anonymous profiles to an immense database. That next-generation supercomputer, be it Watson or whatever, would be constantly that array of subjective commentary and that ocean of hard data against everyone else, and would take particular note whenever someone was conclusively diagnosed with a particular condition. By taking that information and comparing patients against a host of other profiles, our neo-Watson could potentially note problems emerging before anyone thought to notice them, and narrow down if not correctly identify them in very little time. Other diagnostic and treatment options emerge in the face of even more radical improvements in processing power and sensor design, such as scanning every cell in the body non-invasively to look for any threats or problems, however small, and the potential capacity to address them all. However, that discussion will have to wait for a description of those next-generation technologies, which is beyond the scope of this article.
            Another curious option is simple hypnosis. Even self-hypnosis (listening to pre-recorded suggestions prepared by a hypnotist who may have no connection to the subject at all) has repeatedly been able to cause very measurable changes in the bodies of adults. Ironically, researcher repeated the same test over and over since the first trials in the 70s, but it has only been in the last 15 years or so that anyone has really been asking whether we should be applying the ability to make these changes to anything that actually matters – healing wounds, curing illnesses, improving circulation, reducing excess fat, increasing muscle strength, reducing the symptoms of aging or improving the fundamental bases of intelligence, to name a few. Self-hypnosis is, of course, almost an open invitation to fraudulent products, especially given that the only guarantor of effectiveness is market competition, and even a very well received recording may only be making someone feel good rather than dealing with the underlying problem it supposedly targets. Nevertheless, an effective recording can be duplicated without limit, and therefore any such tools which can be confirmed to be effective can be used at minimal expense to prevent or ameliorate conditions without disrupting any other interventions or therapies.
            Another question would be whether heavy metals and other toxins accumulating in the body could be purged or at least reduced. Obviously some issues arise with the overuse of powerful chelation techniques, but if safer and less-disruptive tools exists, they could be a fruitful means to prevent any number of long-term problems.

            Again, I do not presently have the resources to test the above suppositions, and this innovation was never the primary thrust of my research. But these techniques, speculative as they are, are now in the public domain. You may do with them as you will.