“I have a dream…” The iconic words, spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963 resonate in the ears of all those who, like me, would like to see true transformational development be born and flourish through the church of Jesus Christ in global communities bound by poverty, sickness, injustice, and apathy. This is the dream which has led me to a more than decade-long health care career in Africa, and the dream which made me join, in 2000, BethanyKids, a small faith-based organization whose motto is “healing children in Africa, transforming lives.”
Twenty years after its foundation, BethanyKids has resulted in thousands of operations and equal numbers of therapy sessions on children with disabilities, but have we really seen transformational development in the communities where we have worked? My motivation is a desire at all costs to see people and communities not only physically healed or improved, but actually “transformed into [God’s] image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). The fulfillment of the dream is, in my view, only granted to those who are both committed and intentional—in God’s words to Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).
My premise is that a health care ministry to children with disabilities and their families can—and should—be the springboard to holistic, transformational community development in low-resourced settings in Africa. I will develop this thesis in this blog series by first examining the context in which it is proposed with its social, cultural, and spiritual aspects. I will then define the specific bio-psychosocial and spiritual challenges that need to be met, and propose an elaborate, if hypothetical, plan of action.Full Text html
1. Evaluating Approaches to Discovering Origins of Diseases: A Conversation with a Medical Doctor
We need to be very careful about what we become convinced is the truth of a subject of interest to us. What we buy into must be proven and valid, not anecdotal.
The whole point of getting to the root causes of disease is to prevent them from happening at all, like scurvy or death in childbirth due to unwashed hands of doctors. Most of these insights have not come from the mainstream in any generation, unfortunately.
12 Book Reviews
These book reviews explore alternative ways of discovering the origins (and potential cure, prevention, or eradication) of various diseases. Books reviewed include this one:
Never Be Sick Again: One Disease, Two Causes, Six Pathways, by Raymond Francis.
Thesis: The basic thesis of this book is that all diseases at the foundation are due to cellular malfunction. When cells malfunction, body systems become disrupted. Cellular malfunction arises from two causes: deficiencies (cells not getting what they need) and toxicity (cells poisoned by something they do not need). We are healthy when all of our cells are functioning optimally. We become sick through deficiencies and toxicity which come through six primary pathways: 1) Nutrition, 2) Toxins, 3) Psychological responses, 4) Physical activities, 5) Genetic assault, 6) Medical intervention. To prevent or reverse disease, and to restore health, regardless of the trigger, toxins must be removed from the body and nutrition must give the cells what they need. Infectious agents (bacteria, mold, etc) almost all kill by toxins.
Author: The author, Raymond Francis, chemist and graduate of MIT, turned to research of the basis of health, after almost dying and suffering years of debilitating heart and health problems. He decided to work with the body’s amazing capacity to heal, and get rid of anything that worked against that. He has a website called Beyond Health News: http://www.beyondhealthnews.com/wpnews/index.php/2016/01/beyond-health-our-story-the-present/
2. A Growing Awareness about Disease
For years I became increasingly puzzled by the amount of pain, suffering, tragedy and death in the world. From the smallest animals to the largest, all seem to live lives fearful of predators whether animal or human or bacterial. Did God devise vicious animals, destructive parasites, and deadly germs?
Then my wife contracted terminal cancer. I immediately turned a great deal of energy and study into this new situation. I noted the perfectly enormous expenditures society is making in the medical world. However, I was surprised to discover that this enormous expense is almost entirely focused on healing the sick not seeking the source of the sickness.Full Text html
3. Genetics 101
A biochemcial geneticist gives a short introduction to help clarify the types of genetics involved in research into the origins (and potential cures) of disease. He writes: when we consider genetics there are at least 2 (to 3) major different types that geneticist usually refer to in genetic disease, including studying the origins of autism.Full Text html
The Roberta Winter Institute is dedicated to investigating and discussing evidence of an intelligent evil having a destructive influence on God’s good creation and the implications that notion would have on disease eradication efforts. Disease is a major cause of underdevelopment in many countries around the world, and so this discussion is extremely pertinent to the WCIDJ.Full Text html
5. Phyto-Bioactive Food Pyramid©: A Healthy Dietary Plan for Preventing Certain Common Cancers
Originally published in Volume 3, Issue 4: Agriculture, Food and Health
by RICHARD GUNASEKERA WITH RESEARCH ASSOCIATES, J ASIA, B AIG, S IVA, S OMASUNDARAM, & CAROLYN OATES
STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT DIETARY PHYTOCHEMICALS PLAY A DECISIVE ROLE in breast and prostate carcinogenesis by influencing their biological processes such as cell-cycle control, programmed cell death (apoptosis), inflammation, and DNA repair. Prostate and breast cancers are the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancers among both men and women in the United States and continue to be a major source of cancer-related mortalities around the world. Their pathogenesis includes the effects of environmental factors such as diet that may trigger the initiating of cancer in those who are predisposed genetically and epigenetically. Dietary phytochemicals can act as blocking agents by obstructing the initiation phase of carcinogenesis or they can act as suppressing agents by hindering the promotion and progression phases of carcinogenesis. My team has designed a food pyramid based on phytochemical bioactive molecules (PBAM) that will provide consumers, survivors, and cancer patients with information on bioactive foods that contain PBAM for cancer prevention. Ranked via a hierarchy-based system, the pyramid will inform users about which healthy foods contain phytochemicals that have cancer/disease preventive properties. The pyramid is created electronically linking data mined from the scientific literature, epidemiological databases, and medical information on diet, nutrition, and cancer-preventive phytochemicals. It is structured to help an average consumer make an informed choice of foods, based on good nutrition, specific to their subjective needs. Consumers will be able to buy foods based on rankings ranging from most beneficial to least beneficial for cancer prevention. Each food is ranked via a point system based on an algorithm that includes the concentration of the phytochemical and the amount of PBAM it provides. This phytochemical pyramid will give consumers the assurance and confidence to choose foods from grocery stores and restaurants that will help fight cancer and certain other diseases. It will be particularly useful for people who are genetically prone to prostate and breast cancer.Full Text html
This article was presented on October 10. 2014 at a Roberta Winter Institute symposium.
Today I would like to discuss the theology of disease. There are several ways this topic can be approached, and I do not intend to touch on all of them, but merely touch on two aspects: what we believe about God’s design of nature in relationship to disease, and what we believe we should do about disease as a result.
All of the life forms on our planet appear to have amazing built-in mechanisms both for ongoing growth and for the replenishing of damaged or old cells. They also have mechanisms for correcting things that have gone wrong and, to some extent, for fighting off the invasion of destructive micro-organisms.Full Text html
BLOG: Discovery of the Origin of Narcolepsy
Science Nordic reports that Danish researchers have confirmed the long-held suspicion that narcolepsy is caused by the immune system attacking some specific nerve cells in the brain, thus destroying the brain’s ability to regulate the sleep pattern. The study has figured out which cells in the immune system are responsible for the attack, says Birgitte Rahbek Kornum, a senior researcher at the Molecular Sleep Laboratory, Department of Diagnostics at Glostrup Hospital in Denmark.Full Text html
BLOG: Gene Therapy for Inherited Eye Disease
A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee endorsed the first gene therapy for an inherited disorder — a rare condition that causes a progressive form of blindness that usually starts in childhood.
The recommendation came in a unanimous 16-0 vote after a daylong hearing that included emotional testimonials by doctors, parents of children blinded by the disease and from children and young adults helped by the treatment.
“Before surgery, my vision was dark. It was like sunglasses over my eyes while looking through a little tunnel,” 18-year-old Misty Lovelace of Kentucky, told the committee. “I can honestly say my biggest dream came true when I got my sight. I would never give it up for anything. It was truly a miracle.”Full Text html
BLOG: Is the World Getting Worse? — Or Better?
Is the World Getting Worse? — Or Better?
Spoiler Alert: The answer is “both.” In this blog I compare comments by Ralph Winter in his article, “The Story of Our Planet,” with an interview in the New York Times with philanthropist Bill Gates and psychologist Steven Pinker. This blog focuses on these men’s views on improvement or the need for improvement in three areas: War and Violence, Poverty, and Disease. So where is the kingdom of God in all this? Winter asked. He responded to his own question by saying, “one generalization is safe: things are getting both worse and better at the same time. It is by no means a completely uneven contest much less one that favors evil.” He saw the principles of God’s Kingdom at work in overcoming “the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Through the actions of God’s followers, God is restoring his glory in the eyes of the world through “the progressive defeat of a major, celestial counter being.”Full Text html
BLOG: Parasites without Borders
Parasites Without Borders was founded as a direct response to the question: What can I do to help eliminate human suffering due to parasitic infections? Their mission is to help bring the latest medical and basic biological information pertaining to diseases caused by parasites to every practicing physician and medical student within the United States. The main problem is that, while many U.S. doctors volunteer their services in the less developed world, they then encounter infectious entities that they have never before even heard of. Parasites Without Borders addresses this by supplying an open-access comprehensive textbook on the subject of parasitic diseases and their management. In addition, they plan to offer a free online course based on their book that will enable each student the opportunity of becoming certified in parasitic diseases once they have successfully completed the course.Full Text html
BLOG: Stop America’s #1 Killer
A book published in 2005 has a thought-provoking connection to comments Ralph Winter made that same year. He was particularly concerned that heart disease, “America’s #1 Killer,” malaria, and cancer were not being fought against at the origins of these diseases. I don’t know if he saw the book reviewed in the Journal of Orthomoledular Medicine, but his daughter, Rebecca Lewis, is reading it now and sent me the link. In the book, cardiologist Thomas E. Levy claims that reversible vitamin deficiency has been found to be the origin of all coronary heart disease. He says unequivocally: “Coronary heart disease is arterial scurvy. Atherosclerosis is easily preventable and even reversible.”Full Text html
On October 24, 2017, Rotary and the Bill Gates Foundation held the 5th annual World Polio Day event. Global health experts and celebrities shared the progress on the road to polio eradication, which the Gates Foundations says could be by the end of 2017.Full Text html
MedicalNewsToday reports that scientists have found two new risk genes for Alzheimer’s. This new research moves us closer to understanding some of the causes of this devastating disease.Full Text html
“An Ancient Cure for Alzheimer’s?” asks an opinion article in the New York Times. Studies in a remote Bolivian tribe may lead to understanding genetic and parasitic or infectious links to the origin and possible cures for the Alzheimer’s “plague” in Western countries.
“There is really no cure yet for Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Trumble told the NY Times writer. “We have nothing that can undo the damage already done.” Why, he wondered, had billions of dollars and decades of research yielded so little? Perhaps major clues were being missed.
The article hints at the need for inter-disciplinary research, which is one of the goals of the Institute for the Study of the Origins of Disease founded by Ralph D. Winter.Full Text html
The Roberta Winter Institute’s Facebook page recently posted an excerpt from The Economist about epigenetic therapies that can stop cancer cells from growing without having to kill all its cells.Full Text html
Blog: Fighting Back against Disease in God’s Name
Excerpts from a couple of Greg Boyd’s articles explain disease in terms of spiritual warfare.
Care for creation was our first command: “Fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28). Fighting back against the evil effects on this war-torn creation is a means of obeying this original command and demonstrating God’s will on earth as his representative (Boyd 2009, 292).
We are doing spiritual warfare when we fight disease. This is more than just prayer. Anything we do to push back the harmful effects of nature is a step toward reclaiming nature, toward rebuking the curse. We have a spectrum of viruses and diseases that we have to fight against: AIDs, Ebola, leprosy, malaria. There have been times in history where large segments of the population were wiped out by the plague. In the Middle Ages, 30-40% of the world’s population was killed by the plague (Boyd 2009, 292).Full Text html
Blog: Gene-Altering Leukemia Treatment
The New York Times reported on July 12: A Food and Drug Administration panel opened a new era in medicine on Wednesday, unanimously recommending that the agency approve the first-ever treatment that genetically alters a patient’s own cells to fight cancer, transforming them into what scientists call “a living drug” that powerfully bolsters the immune system to shut down the disease. If the F.D.A. accepts the recommendation, which is likely, the treatment will be the first gene therapy ever to reach the market. Others are expected.Full Text html
Blog: Genetic Origins of Autism?
As a biochemical geneticist, I’m very interested in two recent reports about genetic research into the origins of autism. The first one comes through a professional email list, with permission from the sender to quote her in this blog. The second report is from Vox.com.
The medical community is getting closer and closer to finally zeroing in on the cause. One of the most promising areas of research on the disorder is about recent advances in grasping how particular genetic mutations change the biology of the brain in ways that cause autism symptoms.Full Text html
Blog: Insight into Autism and Genetic Links
The New York Times summarizes the technical study reported in the journal Nature showing that how we look at other people’s faces is strongly influenced by our genes. Scientists have reported new research that may be especially important for understanding autism because it suggests that people are born with neurological differences that affect how they develop socially.
Despite evidence that autism is among the most highly heritable neuropsychiatric conditions with a majority of genetic risk attributable to common (polygenic) factors, its neurobiological mechanisms remain unknown. Autism is instead defined behaviourally, by atypical trajectories of social development that can result in profound impairments in social-communicative function and poor inclusion into wider societies that are often less than tolerant. Atypical social visual
engagement is observable within the first six months in infants that are later diagnosed with autism and continues through later life.
Blog: Links from Mike
A medical doctor has been collecting links related to the origins and potential eradication of various diseases. This blog gives links and sentence summaries of seven online articles.Full Text html
Blog: Phyto-BioActive Food Pyramid app
An announcement on Monday, May 18, 2015 about the Phyto-BioActive Food Pyramid app, now In prototype form.Full Text html
Medical Doctor: I’m curious whether or not the Polio Global Eradication Initiative is something ISOD would support/encourage: http://polioeradication.org/news-post/circulating-vaccine-derived-poliovirus-type-2-confirmed-in-syria/?utm_source=Global+Health+NOW+Main+List&utm_campaign=15d9ecdf55-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_08&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8d0d062dbd-15d9ecdf55-8946
Biblical Scholar: This is certainly an example of active efforts to finish the eradication of a particular disease by going after its origins. It also demonstrates the deviousness of an enemy’s work—strains of viruses mutating in order to avoid eradication. My biblical studies of the Johannine Epistles, which were written in the same tradition as the Gospel of John, have led me to apply to disease issues the position taken in 1 John 5:19, that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” I believe the free will choices of both humans and fallen angels are responsible for diseases such as polio.Full Text html