Observe and learn with Lord Bragg

Good day all.

There was a nice section about Art on the BBC Breakfast programme. Lovely, amusing interviews with curators describing the importance of art in the world, and a tour around some interesting modern pieces in Tate Modern, London.

Actually, I was talking to Lord Bragg about one of his relatives recently, Damien.

Many years ago, Damien Bragg was asked to plasterboard and decorate a wall at the Tate, just between the toilets and the cafe.

The stupid idiot kicked the tin of “Luscious purple” all over the floor and a door. He is now a celeb artist! At the time he was described as “radical” and “game changing”.  In an interview with “Emulsion Weekly“, he himself recalls the moment his life changed forever.

“I am the luckiest bastard who has ever used a brush!”

I can remember clipping the lid, and *** it went everywhere. I grabbed some sponges and tried to mop it up, but it just got worse and worse and when I slung the sponge at the wall, jeesh you should have seen it“.

Of course, that is now history. Damien Bragg has moved on. Here he is recreating his most famous work “Magnolia Badger“.

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Right back to my week. On Monday I had a new session of Physio, in here….

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Yes it is the manipulation room, again, at the amazing Boxgrove Clinic. The session was focused on stretches, to help preserve as much range of movement in my muscles as possible. It was really good, and I am planning on trying to attend a couple of times monthly. I was told to keep my hands off Patricia’s fluffy cuffs though! It was an accident honest!

At the Boxgrove, they have an amazing setup for wellness, and also have a great nutrition team. Thanks for the salted caramel apricot Chocolate bites recipe. I am going to make 20Kg of them to start my own Hyperfoods Business!

On the subject of superfoods. I mentioned tumeric last week and thought I would look into it. In fact I did acquire some tumeric latte powder several months ago, but it tasted like ****.

To summarise, the BBC program “Trust me I am a Doctor” last week showed that turmeric taken in supplement capsules, had no effect on some DNA Methylation factors. DNA methylation is currently being linked to some cancers/neurological diseases and it does have some very strong evidence. For example, it has absolutely been shown that smoking has a direct effect on our DNA and its replication.

Although a supplement of turmeric appeared to have no effect, turmeric directly added to food in about 100 volunteers did appear to affect these Methylation factors!

To be brutal, it is not highly scientific, and of course more work needs to be done! (Darn I hate that phrase).

But from a strict scientific viewpoint, we need to analyse the context of the turmeric consumption. This is when real science and analysis comes into play.

So even at a basic level you would have to ask

  1. How did people take the turmeric?
  2. What was it mixed with?
  3. How was it cooked, if at all?
  4. What time of day?

and much much more.

It’s quite possible, for example, that the powder was taken in milk or other fluid. In fact powders and a lot of food supplements generally require this. So you cannot exclude the increased calories or fat taken in as being the “altering” component. To do this, a further placebo test would be required in which an inert powder is given to a second cohort of people alongside the real turmeric.

But despite the test being inconclusive and the second level link, ie methylation, and then cancer, turmeric is cheap, harmless and so passes my test of acceptability! Just buy basic turmeric though.

However, please always question food studies as they typically are biased, ie they are looking for what they want to find and quote sound bites from scientific papers.

So more curry for me!

I thought I might also touch on one of the proposed risk factors for MND/ALS. It is often said that fit people, or more active than normal people, get it? In fact, I have even heard one Professor say she has never seen a couch potato with MND/ALS. Apart this anecdote, what evidence is there for this? Well as it largely relies on recall, ie personal statements about fitness and activity it is very difficult to study.

But in summary, what has been found is there may be a link with “natural physical ability” rather than the actual effort of the work. For example, you would expect clusters of extreme sports exercisers, such as Marathon runners, to show up, if the work factor was key. Currently, there is no such evidence.

So at a first look, this exercise/fit risk may be down to again, yes genetics, or a level of inherited burden. And one other factor is that as most people develop MND in their 50’s, they have survived the number 1 killer, heart attacks. So by definition more fit people would appear to develop MND.

Often I see the quotation living life like a Ferrari versus a Fiat 100! The fast car will burn itself out more quickly. Ironically, I have heard anecdotally that some Ferrari owners are often worried about exploding engines!

All in all there is no real hard evidence, and more importantly if there was, how does it help us? So it always comes back for me to understanding what is actually happening with the disease rather than searching for “risk factors”, which in my view is a very poor use of research money.

In the UK next week we see the return of the Apprentice,  a TV programme where the UK’s  Lord Sugar chooses from a quite unbelievable selection of human beings to give £250,000 to. My American friends, I believe Donald Trump hosts the same programme over there. This year’s candidates look like they won’t let us down. I particularly like Frances Bishop‘s audition.

Lord Bragg, Hank Bragg and Pamela Bragg actually did apply to this year’s apprentice! I managed to get some snapshots of their rejected applications, which I think was rather unfair as they would have made great candidates. Lord Lee would just like to say that the photos have absolutely not been photoshopped.

 

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It’s a shame that Lord Bragg didn’t make it. Lord Sugar could have learned so much from him! Pamela has since gone on to found a new wine company, “Pairs well with Chardonnay”.

Same time next week readers. Off to see my consultant on Monday, Dr Death as I call him. Another 6 months have passed! I might outlast him!

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One Comment

  1. Jim Barlow says:

    Brilliant and funny as always
    Thanks Lee

    Like

Comments are closed.