Sunday, February 28, 2010

Canine Evolution

When Homo came down from the trees that no doubt took countless thousands of years and eventually found living to be improved and stood up to see the view and perhaps view the sea he slowly found he had company. Wolf like animals of those days were perhaps pack animals as they are now but once in a while a few wolves out of the pack over came fear of humans because of several observations. From the wolf's point of view, it found an advantage in waiting near the humanoid family to wait for the eventual food from man's leftovers. Gradually the fear left an occasional one who followed the man-like creature who had to hunt for part of his livelihood finding that at the end of the hunt the man would "dress out" his game, leaving the offal or innards rather than carrying them for miles back to his home. Moreover a few wolf-like animals returned to feast on the leftovers. It must have been rewarding or it would not have happened and the strain that had lost enough fear gradually entered the hunt to the advantage of the human. Those camp follower-dogs actually entered into the hunt by following the particular game the human was running down. He could trail an antelope-like creature right through a heard of antelopes and the predator human could, with his slowly developed anatomy run with the dogs trailing the prey until it was exhausted and killed. One reason the fear was lessened was that eventually over, as I should repeat more often, over years of realization that the dog became an important part of the chase. It may have been a question of synergism by happenstance that the two creatures survived by cooperating in the acquisition of food in times of little plenty and of predators man could protect the dog from and the dog could warn the human of the approach of danger when man was sleeping.
As to the variation in our dogs the individuals with the scenting advantage was important as was the ability to run the distances required to run down game. We know man can run down most heard animals such as horses and we know dogs and modern wolves can do the same thing. Perhaps some isolated clans of humans found dogs that would point game and the hunter could approach and, with sling shot or arrow or whatever could capture the game. A dog with that capability would be of more value than used for food. Thus we have the pointing breeds of bird dogs for example. Our retrievers have traits that could have been of vital help in retrieving wounded game.
The treeing hounds could have been of great value in trailing and treeing game and announcing the capability by barking up the tree that had needed food for the human.
Slowly, with the human trait of bonding as with mother and her child came bonding of humans with dogs that were part of the bread winning of the partnership. Think of it, when a starving man is able to get food only with the help of a dog a gradual bonding was a most natural result. With bonding still an important human trait the Chihuahuas and so many others with the only reason for existence is the emotional and not the utilitarian side of the relationship.Too bad our ancestors took so long to learn to record the past for us. Medical science recognizes that sudden tranquility in humans can lower our blood pressure as watching an aquarium of tropical fish or by petting a dog. Amen for now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Health Science Must Wake Up

The evidence becomes more and more obvious that man is a running animal and that observation requires that human investigations take that into consideration with many studies. Assuming that couch potatoes are normal can be misleading when exercise of unknown degree is necessary for being normal. It is research on the 30 million or so runners in our country who are closer to normal in physiology that results become most meaningful. Recentaly an ongoing billion dollar study of pregnant women and their offspring until 21 years of age is underway with your and my tax money. If the study concerned normal women the results would be more meaningful. Normal being running.

For example without proper exercise toxic materials ingested by unsuspecting women that may cause problems in couch potatoes could be eliminated by running pregnant woman. A question arises, could in any of a particular type of malady such as autism in the offspring be eliminated in a woman who runs once a week in at least part of her pregnancy?. That example is admittedly not an accepted fact but the question demands exploration.

The question of how much exercise presents itself and the literature is full of opinions as how little is necessary. Runners would be more apt to ask how much is too much? Watching the winter Olympics and the conclusion of events such as male and female cross country races, bodies are seen lying in many positions, panting before finally arising usually with laughter. Was that experience, excessive? I don't think so. I recall a race I ran in Trumbull, Conn. where at the end a police car followed along my side with bells and horn and flashing lights to indicate the arrival of the last contestant. In that excitement along with cheering friends I started my, "sprint" too soon and literally one step before the finish line I collapsed, and helped to my feet by medics on hand for such a case who walked me to their ambulance where in less than 5 minutes I thanked them and left for the after-race festivities. Was that over doing exercise for my 85 year old body? I was in proper condition and suffered not one iota of injury so I don't think that event was overdoing as far as my health was concerned. As far as my ego, that was a different matter. Perhaps the experts will define,"over doing" one day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What If Running is Necessary to Be Normal?

Let it be known that I think running in humans is necessary for a human to be normal.
In science there is nothing wrong with such an assumption as long as the mind is kept open for evidence to verify such a statement or to refute it. The reasons for belief are interesting in themselves as is the science that explores questions and finds answers. There have to be enough evidence to make a position worth exploring. Here then is, in my opinion, why and and the how to determine the validity of the statement, "humans must exercise as much as running provides to be normal." The question arises, are human non-runners either abnormal or subnormal?

What if statistics indicate that runners rarely get Alzheimer's as has been reported and that runners live on an average of two to two and a half years linger than do non-runners as has been reported? And what if problems without published causes such as ALS, MS, Cystic Fibrosis, Parkinson's and other problems are shown to be rarely found in runners, would science be interested in searching for why?

I suggest a crash program of statistical analysis be undertaken immediately to determine if running is the answer to such important tragic maladies of so many humans. A friend of mine who was perhaps the last person Dr. Kovorican helped end her life had Parkinson's and did not want the lingering disease before normal death. The haunting question I personally have over her early death is, "what if she had been a runner?" I have a guilty conscience over believing about the need of running in humans that if known by others would save unbelievable unnecessary suffering not with drugs but with running.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Veterinarian's View on the Control of Human Hospital Related Infictions

First we must define the problem. It is that an estimated 2,000,000 patients who enter human hospitals as patients contract an infection not present prior to their admission. Of those patients in one year in our country 90,000 actually die of their infection. The following adresses only those infections that are the result of bacterial infections that are the major problem. I have been informed that that figure may underestimate the problem as many of the smaller human hospitals do not report on this situation.

Next we should consider some of the efforts made so far in the unsuccessful effort. 1. Sick leaves for all hospital employees obviously affected by symptoms. 2.Hand washing. 3. Constant testing of premises including heating and air conditioning ducts. 4. The use of proven more and more effective bactericidal agents used in cleaning and disinfecting. 5.Other efforts such as discouraging the wearing of long neckties in favor of bow or no ties. Hmmmm.

It seems to this veterinarian that the more dangerous killing organisms are the most difficult to control in human hospitals. To locate the source of these dangerous agents should be a major effort in the eventual control of such a serious problem.
In consideration of potential sources the medical profession has decided that human hands are a major source. That effort, having been tried without improvement the other sources should be investigated. What are they? 1. There is a question as to the more obvious source but I shall put down as source in no order of importance,1. The human mouth. 2.The filth walked into hospitals on shoes. 3.Sanitation of the premisis.

Next logically come the attempts to control this problem. First the for the human mouth. An experiment for a hospital-wide examination of every mouth that enters the establishment should be instigated by requiring everyone to spit into a container for bacterial examination. This experiment should be for a 24 hour period. The hunt would be for specific bacterial organisms most frequently associated with the diseases contracted in that specific hospital. Admittedly this requires a massive temporary enlargement of the bacterial effort with both facilities and the expert bacteriologists searching for the culprits. Ideally each specimen would be examined immediately and after incubation.

Another volunteer human hospital could study the other source of filth and that is the shoes of everyone admitted through the doors. Disposable sterile "booties" or shoe coverings should be handed to all to be worn over shoes. Each pair of "booties" would be removed, folded and placed in an envelope marked with name and address for bacteriologists to seek the bacteria involved. The debris from the shoes would indicate information of public health importance if a pattern of infection was to be found on shoes from a specific geographic area or places of employment.

For another experiment, in one small surgical facility a culture of harmless organisms, perhaps yeast could be sprayed over the facility to try to introduce an agent that would overcome the dangerous bacteria. Very few bacterial organisms can survive in the presence of yeast. After 100 or so procedures were performed in such z facility the effectiveness or not of the attempt could be evaluated.

As a veterinarian, I see another area of perhaps even more potential for good than the above and that is the encouragement of the human immune system. There is much statistical evidence that runners have stronger resistance to many infections than non-runners. For perhaps a volunteer hospital could refuse to permit the entry of any patient who did not run at least once a week. That experiment should be done by a hospital in a large metropolitan area or as part of a huge establishment as the Mayo Clinic, or the Columbia Medical Center facilities. The USATF(Track and Field) approximates 30 million runners who run at least once weekly and it would take a facility in a heavily populated area to find enough runner-patients in need of surgery to fill beds to make it worthwhile.

On visiting the Hog Farm at the University of New Hampshire some years ago to purchase a piglet for a pet a sterile white outer clothing was issued with plastic boots for our shoes, masks and hats and that was not to protect us but to protect the pigs from contracting diseases from us. Wouldn't you think the human medical profession would do as much for their patients as the veterinary profession is capable doing for pigs? Or shouldn't the two professions work together as all medical professions should do?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Letter from a Member of the Veterinary Profession to Members of the Human Medical Profession

From recent visits to human hospitals the efforts to control hospital related infections have really gone a little far in the wrong direction. In that effort human doctors were instructed to wear bow ties or no ties rather than dangling ties that may be related to HRIs (hospital related infections). Recently it seems more time is spent rubbing stuff into hands than is spent with the patients. Is that a Madison Avenue effect? It comes to mind that one human hospital should have adopted that hand "sterilization" before equipping all hospitals with dispensers and antiseptics deemed necessary. Then when that effort was found to be less than effective only one hospital would have borne the expense. From the veterinary point of view we wonder why veterinary surgery virtually never results in a HRI? Could it be that in attempting to sterilize the environment in human facilities the harmless organisms are killed and the deadly ones are left? In other words the stronger the attempts, the worse the infection rates. Human doctors say that digs do not operate om dogs implying that it is tie surgeons who spread infections. In our veterinary facilities we cannot afford the extremes of the control that human physicians attempt. Could the human medical profession be barking up the wrong tree? We know that in bacterial cultures in the laboratory we find one organism will out grow all others in time. Why not take that knowledge further and apply a harmless easily-grown organism to be used with cleaning agents to control the serious ones. A vat of yeast could be growing that for little or no cost could supply all the yeast necessary for every operating room in a large hospital. Actually it could be adequate for the whole hospital. About the vogue of hand washing and application of chemicals to sterilize them, why not attack the most obvious area of potential infection and that is the human mouth? Ask any bacteriologist and she or he will tell you that the human mouth is, bacteriologically crawling with all kinds of organisms with the potential of causing damage to humans. It is not only in sneezing and coughing but in just breathing that infective organisms can contaminate the environment. I would think shoes would carry more problems into hospitals than hands. Perhaps the above suggestions are too drenched with common sense to be considered by the human profession.