“The dogmatists insist that life must be explained in terms of physics as they understand it, and it happens that their “physics” is nothing but a doctrinal relic kept in place to justify their conceptions of biology.”
So I’ve blogged previously about a lot of this, but I think it would be useful to explore these ideas in more detail, as these areas are key to understanding the nature of biological life, as well as presenting solutions to some of the medical problems that the corporatocracy is unwilling to intelligently address.
The conventional view is that an organism’s form is an expression of a “genetic program”, that cancer is produced by rogue clonal genetic mutants, and that organisms capable of regeneration possess magical regeneration “genes” that trigger unconscious regenerative programs. There is good evidence that this biomechanical model is wrong. If an alternative view is adopted, one that examines the issues of morphogenesis, cancer and regeneration in holistic bio-energetic terms then the total organismic environment, respiratory intensity, and consciousness appear to come to the fore as the key issues in understanding these subjects.
In order to think about and understand morphogenesis, cancer and regeneration we need to think in terms of fields or at least field like effects, the current medical culture mired in reductionism neglects such ideas, but developmental fields of various sorts clearly have a functional reality. The essential quality of a field model is holism, a point is influenced by the larger whole in which it finds itself, the organism is a sensitive coherent whole, this is obvious to everyone except the reductionist authorities.
Epigenetic factors play key roles in pattern formation, these include, chemical gradients, electrical gradients, environmental stimuli, cell-cell contacts, all of these factors have in common metabolic processes, including both generation by respiratory processes and the ability to modulate respiration.
These morphogenetic fields are I think manifestations of consciousness. Consciousness, whether or not it can be explained, must be included in a holistic biology, as it is the fundamental attribute of biology, the sensitivity of organisms is consciousness in action, to exclude consciousness as a factor in biology is insanity. An organism is a pattern unfolding in time, oriented by consciousness.
What is metabolism? What is respiration? Understanding these concepts is critical to understanding the nature of life, the way these concepts are often understood in isolation from the organism as a whole can leave people with distorted ideas as to what metabolism and respiration actually are, at least that is the impression I get when I speak to some people about these ideas. The metabolic processes often appear to be understood as some kind of mechanical combustion engine, that burns up fuel like car engine, and that the best way to increase metabolism is engage in mindless exercise.
One of the criticisms often directed at Ray Peat is that he seems to think thyroid is the solution to everything, and hence he must be a quack, because thinking about the possibility of elegant panaceas is unscientific. If you believe that metabolism and life occur through the actions of ion and proton pumps installed in lipid bilayer membranes, then a focus on metabolism might seem as strange as suggesting that you fix a car’s flat tire by installing a new spark plug. So how could supporting thyroid function and improving metabolism correct, say, an arthritic condition?
The current mechanical model of biology, obscures the centrality of metabolism in the maintenance of the organism. This mechanical model leads people to suggest that lowering of metabolism is optimal if you want to achieve longevity, after all continual use of a car will lead to a more rapid breakdown of the parts, thankfully we are not machines.
If a different view of the Life process is taken, wherein Life is seen as a self-organizing dissipative structure, somewhat like a Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction or a cyclone. In such a model, coherent energy flow (metabolism) becomes on obvious focal point.
Energy and structure
Structure is generated by the energetic “whirlwind” of the respiratory process, distortions/interferences in respiration inevitably lead to structural distortions of one sort or another. However if interfering with respiration distorts structure, then supporting respiration will heal the organism.
“The intensity of oxidative metabolism is the basic factor that permits continuing coordination of activity, and the harmonious renewal of all the components of the organism.”
When the importance of respiration in healing and morphogenesis is examined it seems clear that the appearance of physicality is superficial, and an energetic reality emerges. Take for example the “injury potential”, where injured tissue will be electrically negative relative to uninjured, this electronic excitation might be more accurately seen as an incoherent discharge, which arises when the coherent energetic flow of the living state is disrupted. As Ray Peat has pointed out the so-called “membrane potential” is just another “injury potential”, the “membrane potential” is measured through piercing the cell with a micro-electrode, and because the cell is injured by this procedure its energetic structure is disrupted, and discharges creating the impression that the inside of the cell is “negative” in comparison to the outside. A sort of energetic decay can be seen, in simple injury, as well as other conditions demonstrating increased “reductive” stress, the “electrons” arise from the energetic disruption. Instead in the uninjured coherent living state the “electrons” are in a state of delocalized charging centripetal flow, manifesting in what is conventionally referred to as a more oxidized state. The nuclear theory of the atom seems questionable. The over reduced state of injury, cancer, as well as the active / dead state of Ling’s AI hypothesis could all be viewed as various degrees of energetic discharge and departure from the charged electronically desaturated living state. Agents such as ATP and CO2 which in Ling’s terminology are electron withdrawing cardinal adsorbents act to restore charge and coherent energy flow.
A thyroid supplement is one possible means of supporting respiratory intensity in an environment that contains many anti-respiratory factors (xeno-estrogens, fluoride, radiation, carrageenan, PUFA, etc).
The problems of cancer and regeneration or the lack of regeneration, are related problems, cancer is an excess of new tissue, which fails to integrate into the organism as a whole. Organisms capable of regeneration are remarkably resistant to cancer, even artificial attempts at inducing cancer in such animals are difficult, tissues exposed to carcinogens normalise rapidly, when tumors are transplanted onto amputated limb stumps of newts they are typically assimilated into a new limb (Oviedo and Beane 2009). This observation seems unremarkable, but if the mechanistic genetic reductionism of the scientific “orthodoxy” is correct the opposite might be expected, organisms whose cells are phenotypically labile, capable of relatively easy de-differention, and swift proliferation, might be expected to be prone to spontaneous cancer generation. However a model that works with a “morphogenetic” field would expect that regeneration and cancer should be inversely related, the field strength required for regeneration would also render cancer unlikely.
The regenerative blastema, a mass of undifferentiated cells, that forms from previously differentiated cells as part of the early regenerative process, shares features of cancer, and such similarities have led to theories that cancer represents an attempt at healing that somehow fails to be controlled by the normal processes of morphostasis.
Embryos also demonstrate significant resistance to cancer, human metastatic melanoma cells transplanted into chick embryos differentiate and function normally within the host (Kulesa et al. 2006). Malignant mouse teratocarcinoma cells were injected into mouse blastocysts (a pre-embyronic developmental form), the tumour cells differentiated into multiple normally functioning tissues, including immune cells, liver cells, and sperm cells, the mice produced were genetic chimeras capable of passing on genetic material from the tumour cells to their progeny, the same teratocarcinoma cells injected subcutaneously in mice form cancers (Mintz and Illmensee 1975). Gestating organisms also display significant regenerative abilities, and scar free healing (Redd et al. 2004).
“Given a natural tendency of cells to multiply, the interesting thing about regenerative healing is the question of why the new growth of tissue sometimes differentiates to fit appropriately into its surroundings, but sometimes fails to differentiate, becoming a tumor.”
There is now good evidence that the old idea that cancer is tissue that has escaped from the organising pattern of the individuation field is correct, the differentiation of cells is dependent on environmental signals, isolated cells are known to lose most functional differentiation when separated and placed in traditional cell cultures. Breast cancer cells implanted into in vitro tissue matrices containing collagen, fibroblasts, and basement membrane demonstrated near complete phenotype reversion, becoming more differentiated (Krause et al. 2010). The ability of the larger tissue environment to normalise cancer cells clearly demonstrates that cancer is a problem of organisational signalling.
This organizing field can be seen in regeneration and morphogenesis, in study where developmental defects were induced in tadpoles, by manipulating the embryonic voltage gradients that guide craniofacial patterning, displacing jaws and branchial arches, subsequent development was able to adjust and reshape to correct these perturbations (Vandenberg et al. 2012). Clearly morphogenesis is a dynamic holistic patterning process.
I think it is likely that morphogenesis and regeneration are examples of intelligence in the organism, they are guided by consciousness, no doubt this stinks of vitalism. The typical explanations for regeneration and morphogenesis rely on cascades of molecular signaling read out from genetic code, but this sort of reductionism fails to explain anything meaningful.
In a number of studies it has been shown that denervation results in the loss of regenerative capacity, although regeneration continues as normal if the nerve regenerates (Singer 1952). A study found that higher nerve quantity relative to non-nerve tissue was positively associated with regeneration in frogs, small young froglets, with a higher quantity of innervation were capable of regeneration, larger froglets and adults, with about half the innervation quantity of their smaller counterparts were completely devoid of regenerative capacity, however if their innervation was increased by deviating sciatic nerve bundles to the forelimb stump, almost all limbs which were usually non-regenerative with normal innervation demonstrated at least some regeneration (Kurabuchi 1992). The role of the nervous system in regeneration is further supported by observations that the regenerating limbs of newts, have a greater quantity of innervation (axoplasm of nerve per area of limb cross-section) than the normally non-regenerating limb of adult frogs. These studies might explain to some extent the increased regenerative capacity of young animals including human children who are recorded as having have regenerated finger tips, when the wound has not been stitched up by medical authorities. Young animals have a proportionally greater degree of nerve tissue.
If innervation (nerve supply) is involved in regeneration and there is a relationship between regeneration and cancer, denervation should affect carcinogenesis, multiple studies suggest that it does. Rats subjected to subdiaphragmatic truncal vagotomy developed tumors and carcinoma of the gastric mucosa (Kaminishi et al. 1995), denervation of sensory nerves with capsaicin increased tumor metastases of the heart and lungs in mice (Erin et al. 2004). Denervation has other effects on tissue, causing increased excitability and muscle spasm, inducing atrophy in muscles, changes in vascularization including narrowing of the lumen of arterioles increased collagen deposition, and capillary necrosis (Carpenter and Karpati 1982, and Borisov et al. 2000), denervation increases mast cells (de Morais et al. 2008). Denervation also causes changes to mitochondria, decreasing the activity of respiratory enzymes including cytochrome oxidase, decreasing cardiolipin (Wicks and Hood 1991), in muscle tissue denervation reduces mitochondrial size, leads to changes in mitochondrial arrangements, with mitochondria becoming less organized (Miledi and Slater 1968).
Interestingly height in humans is positively associated with cancer, tall people get more cancer, it is possible the ratio of brain and nerve tissue to body size play a similar role here as it appears to with regenerative capacity (Green et al. 2011).
Given that nerve supply plays a clear role in morphostasis, promoting regeneration, differentiation, and inhibiting cancer, as well as exerting trophic effects preventing tissue atrophy, the suggestion that consciousness might be intimately involved in these processes does not seem unreasonable, unless there is an irrational adherence to an ideology that claims that consciousness is an illusionary ghost in the machine of biology. The idea that consciousness is involved in healing is supported by a study where the rate of healing was lower in individuals with poor anger control, these individuals also had higher cortisol levels when wounded (Gouin et al. 2008).
I think some studies showing that denervation increases lactate and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production (Karpati et al. 1979, and Muller et al. 2007), and a study showing that meditation decreased lactate (Perez-De-Albeniz and Holmes 2000) suggest that it is consciousness that centres the respiratory whirlwind, and that consciousness is capable of increasing the coherence of energy flow and cytoplasmic microstructure, evidenced in reduced plasma lactate.
There are studies (McCaig and Rajnicek 1991) demonstrating that nerves grow towards cathodes (negative polarity) this seems to suggest that the conscious organism senses the energetic discharge (negative polarity) produced by injury and that the nerves as potential regulators of the morphogenetic field grow towards it in an attempt at restoring coherence. Cancer cells have also been shown in one study to migrate towards cathodes (Yan et al. 2009), this might support the idea that cancer is in some way an attempt at healing. Robert Becker and others have studied the electrical properties of wounds and regenerating tissue, they have also succeeded in inducing incomplete regeneration in rats using implanted bimetallic electrogenic devices to simulate the electrical environment in the tissues of regenerative animals such as salamanders, the rats regenerated missing portions of the humeral shaft along with differentiated muscle tissue (Becker and Spadaro 1972).
Becker (1960), has also shown that the central nervous system appears to be intimately involved in the bioelectric fields generated by organisms, the spatial organization of the field correlated with the morphology of the central nervous system, areas of nerve cell aggregations in the central nervous system appear to serve as both sources and sinks of the potential, with transmission along major nerve trunks. Becker concluded that the dc bioelectric potential in organisms may be generated within and conducted by portions of the central nervous system. Borgens disagrees with Becker arguing that denervation was associated with increased current leaving the amputated limb (Borgens et al. 1979), I think there might be a way of reconciling this apparent contradiction, with the nervous system acting in some way to structure the total bioelectric field.
Interestingly the “immune system” also appears to play a role in regeneration, macrophage depletion of axolotls resulted in failure of limb regeneration, the wound closed over with extensive fibrosis, if macrophages were restored and the stump re-cut regeneration occurred (Godwin et al. 2013). I think this study supports the idea that the “immune system” might more accurately be described as a morphostatic “clean up the mess” system as Jamie Cunliffe has proposed (http://www.morphostasis.org.uk/). A new perspective on the “immune system” might lead to some rational thinking about and solutions to the so-called “auto-immune” diseases.
Predictably (the lymphoid organs are innervated by sympathetic nerves) denervation also affects immune function, reducing generation of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes and mobilisation of macrophages (Leo et al. 1998, and Richards et al. 1999).
When respiration is inhibited energy ceases to flow, or its flow slows and stagnates, this inhibited flow leads to weakening of the morphogenetic fields, structural disruption, inflammation, swelling, and in more extreme cases cancer and tissue atrophy/death. Many pesticides interfere with mitochondrial metabolism, these pesticides have been linked to neural tube defects (Rull et al. 2006), TCDD (a dioxin) a known carcinogen induces mitochondrial dysfunction, triggering calcium uptake by the cell, and increased ROS, cells became more invasive (Biswas et al.2008). Altered mitochondrial bioenergetics have been linked to cancer since Otto Warburg’s observation that cancer was associated with increased rates of aerobic glycolysis, linking this to some sort of loss of structure within the cell, realising that mitochondrial oxidation involved a greater degree of structure than the simpler fermentation of glycolysis. Recent studies also link mitochondrial function to tumour initiation, invasiveness and regression, with mitochondrial dysfunction producing changes in extracellular matrix modelling (van Waveren et al. 2006). This ability of cancer cells to alter the extracellular matrix supports the idea of a “cancer field” wherein the distorted metabolism of cancer cells generates further distortion in the surrounding tissue, cells bordering on metastases display structural abnormalities (Correa et al. 1998).
Evidence for altered structural properties of cancer cells was found by Raymond Damadian who examined tumour cells with magnetic resonance (NMR) and found increased relaxation times for the water in cancer ells suggesting that it is in a less structured state than water in non-cancer cells, Damadian’s inspiration in examining this was the work of Gilbert Ling (Damadian 1971). Ling’s work has already been mentioned previously on this blog, given the central role of ATP in stabilising the protein-water matrix of the cytoplasm, cancer cells with there characteristic metabolic dysfunction would be expected to show signs of structural disturbance.
Respiration guided by consciousness is the organizing force, when this force is inhibited disease results.
The ability to trigger re-differentiation of cancer cells has been virtually ignored by mainstream medicine, but this capacity seems to radically question the idea that cancer is produced by genetic mutations, as the dogma would suggest that if so cancer cells should after mutation be forever determined in their identity.
Given the facts of spontaneous remission and the in vitro inducible cellular re-differentiation of cancer cells into non-cancer cells, as well as the resistance of highly regenerative animals to cancer, an alternative therapeutic approach seems to be possible, instead of the heroic “cut, burn and poison” mode of warfare on the evil mutant cancer monster.
“If cancers were werewolves, the cancer industry’s search for more refined killing technologies might be going in the right direction. But the genetic doctrine of cancer’s origin is just as mythical as werewolves and vampires.”
Possible practical strategies to take in optimising healing both of injury and cancer would aim at increasing the coherence and strength of the morphogenetic fields, much of this has been discussed previously on this blog (and of course in Ray Peat’s work). Restoration of efficient mitochondrial metabolism being paramount in assisting in differentiation.
Therapeutics would include; meditation to increase conscious inhabitation of our nervous system, promoting a further development of the nervous system, which should increase the trophic morphogenetic aspect of nerve function. Reduced breathing practices such as pranayama and Buteyko technique, to increase carbon dioxide and efficiency of oxygen utilisation. There is also evidence suggestive of a role of carbon dioxide in regenerative processes, it protects the lungs prophylactically from endotoxin induced injury and appears therapeutic post injury (Laffey et al. 2004). Carbon dioxide inhibits lactate formation (Cohen et al. 1990), and appears to shift the cell towards a more “oxidized” state with increased NAD+/NADH ratio (Gyulai et al.1982), cancer cell typically appear more “reduced” favouring NADH (Pelicano et al. 2006). Further carbon dioxide interacts with collagen increasing its ability to structure water, this likely also means the collagen becomes a more coherent communicator, allowing for effective morphogenetic signalling (Specchio et al. 1988). This evidence strongly supports the view of carbon dioxide as a doping agent / cardinal adsorbent / kosmotrope that increases our charge, conductivity and coherence.
Dietary avoidance of anti-metabolic substances would also be useful, these include polyunsaturated fatty acids (vegetable oils, most nuts and seeds and fish oil), inflammatory amino acids such as cysteine, methionine, and tryptophan, found in muscle meats, the typical cuts of meat usually eaten in western diets. Certain food contaminants common in processed foods such as carragenaan should also be avoided.
Supplemental use of adaptogenic herbs, and possible careful use of hormonal treatments such as thyroid, as experimentally induced hyper-thyroidism appears to be able to speed healing and regeneration of neurons (McIsaac and Kiernan 1975 and Lewin-Kowalik et al. 1993), and thyroid hormone speeding wound healing (Safer et al.2005). Neurosteroids such as pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA due to their generally stabilising effects both on nerve and other cells might also be useful.
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Axolotl photo: Tim Flach http://www.timflach.com/