Necessity and Invention and HBO

This little tale goes back a few centuries. In the process I will probably forget to mention some of the most important figures of this time-people whose discoveries ultimately changed the lives of millions of others for the better across 5 or 6 generations.

But first join me in the present time. I am executing “Plan B” or maybe even “Plan C” for my life. If you’ve read the previous blogs you know that I had the equivalent of a record scratch in a movie or rap song.  My universe just jumped a few feet to the left or right as a result of the actions of the past year.

Actually come to think of it I am right where I should be!

I am in Columbia South Carolina taking a Hyperbaric Medicine course.  For those of you who don’t know what that is think visually of the old “Iron Lung” machines from polio days and you’ll at least have the visual.  The physiology is of course very different.

The hyperbaric chamber has been around in some form or another for almost 2 centuries but it really didn’t start as a medical device.  The idea is you expose your patient to nearly 100% oxygen under much higher pressures than we get in the “real world”.

The result is huge increases in healing potential but only for specific people with specific problems.

My scientific interest in it stems from some more recent findings.  It turns out that the biochemical signals that are turned on by HBO (hyperbaric oxygen) are very very similar to those turned on by stem cells.  You may recall my involvement in the stem cell field. You may recall at one time in the recent past I was poised to make some contributions to that field.  You may have even heard one of my lectures on that very topic over the past 2 or 3 years.

For legal reasons I am exploring other avenues to harness that power in ways that others have not yet thought of thus escaping anything under the terms “non compete”!

In the process I learned a bit more about keeping an open mind and synthetic creativity.

Synthetic Creativity as opposed to the out of the blue never thought before Eureka kind of creativity is what non geniuses like me do to create things.  You see the relationships between 2 unrelated things and explore them for practical purposes.  In the process you discard 90+% of your ideas but the other 10% are doozies!

Anywho it turns out that this entire field of hyperbaric medicine was created by people who were bridge builders.  The need to build bigger bridges that would hold more weight meant our not so distant ancestors had to dig deep into the bedrock under rivers and erect stable stone and steel structures many of which are in use still today.  The Brooklyn Bridge is an example.

These bright minds of yesterday figured out how to do this by building what is commonly known as a Caisson or “box”. This way you can slowly but surely dig yourself a straight tunnel down below the water and into the bedrock.  The problem was when the diggers got down to a certain depth and then came up they developed muscle and joint aches that bent them over.

Hence the term “the Bends”.

Later it was determined that this condition was due to nitrogen gas in the air moving in and out of tissues as the workers moved from depths to the surface.

This showed up again as navy divers started to go deeper and deeper underwater with the advent of primitive devices to compress air.

Between these two situations a science was born and doctors, engineers, and scientists created the rudiments of hyperbaric medicine to treat these conditions.

The anesthetic potential for gasses under pressure was soon advanced as well.

Fast forward to today and we now know about signal molecules, oxygen gradients and other factors that have advanced our understanding and ability to heal wounds and certain diseases.

The “anti-aging” potential of this therapy remains strictly off label especially in this country, much like stem cells.

Again the parallels are amazing.

Personally I think until we consider aging a disease and actually try to cure it, there will be many other “age related” diseases we can do no more than “put a finger in the dyke” for.

Next time I will review the history of dykes.  Nah! Just kidding.

Today’s Secret has to do with creativity.  I’ll bet somewhere along the line you discovered a healthy practice that was immensely useful to you by simple synthetic creativity. It maybe something you “used to do” but somehow forgot it.  It’s time to resurrect that practice and shed some new light on it from where you are now.  You just may create another something new!

Oh yeah, and remember to take your fish oil!  Geez it feels good to say that again after so long!

Doc

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