Xenotransplants—the transfer of organs between species—offer new vectors of infection. In early 1997, the British government announced a ban on xenotransplants. A high-level government medical panel recently authorized their use in the United States.
• Infected Monkey Livers Transferred to Humans
In 1992-1993, monkey livers were transplanted into humans for the first time. While the science community hailed the achievement, it turned out the baboons (obtained from the Southwest Foundation, the largest primate research facility in the U.S.) were infected with SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus associated with AIDS), CMV (the monkey cytomegalovirus), EBV (Epstein-Barr virus) and Simian Agent 9 (the baboon form of hepatitis B). The patients died before any of the monkey viruses could take effect in their immuno-suppressed systems.
Source: Leonard G. Horowitz, Emerging Viruses (Rockport, MA: Tetrahedron, 1997).
• Scientists Call for Moratorium
A leading group of scientists, public health experts, and ethicists has called for a moratorium on the use of pig cells and organs to treat human diseases until comprehensive studies of the potential danger of creating new human epidemics are conducted.
"The public needs to be not only educated but must participate in this decision," Dr. Fritz Bach of Harvard Medical School said. "I don't think we scientists have the right to make this decision for the public. Bach, an expert in the field of cross-species transplants, and Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, Harvard University's provost and former public health dean, led a nine-member group calling for a temporary halt to animal-to-human transplants.
Source: Richard A. Knox, "Caution Urged on Animal-to-Human Transplants," Boston Globe, January 22, 1998.
• Transplants Transfer Viruses from Animals to Humans
Pig organs used in transplants can transfer two types of viruses to human beings, British scientists warned. In tests of pig tissues from the heart, kidney, and spleen, two types of porcine endogenous proviruses were found capable of infecting human cells.
Source: D. Butler, “Last Chance to Stop and Think on Risks of Xenotransplants,” and F. H. Bach and H. V. Fineberg, “Call for Moratorium on Xenotransplants,” Nature 391(6665)320-324, :326, 1998.
Yellow Emperor’s Classic
The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (the Nei Ching) recommends whole cereal grains, especially millet and brown rice, as principal food. One of the world’s oldest medical books, the Chinese text dates in written form to the third century B.C. but is believed to go back several thousand years earlier. The major source of theory and practice for Far Eastern medicine, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic recommends a balanced diet to promote health and long life and to prevent and relieve serious disease.
“The Yellow Emperor once addressed Tien Shih, the divinely inspired teacher: I have heard that in ancient times the people lived to be over 100 years, and yet they remained active and did not become decrepit in their activities. But nowadays people reach only half that age and yet become decrepit and failing. Is it because the world changes from generation to generation? Or is it because mankind has become negligent of the laws of nature?
“Ch’i Po answered: In ancient times those people who understood the Tao patterned their lives according to Yin and Yang. And so they lived in harmony.
“There was temperance in eating and drinking. Their hours of rising and retiring were regular, and their lives were not disorderly and wild. By these means the ancients kept their bodies united with their souls, so as to fulfill their allotted span completely, measuring unto a hundred years and more before they passed away.”
For serious illness, Ch’i Po relates, people treated disease “by cereal soups to be drunk for ten days.” He particularly emphasizes the value of whole brown rice for nourishment and energy. Observing the relationship between excessive salt intake and high blood pressure, the physician observes, “When in the kitchen there is an excessive use of salt, the pulse hardens.”
Emphasizing prevention over cure, the Classic states, “To administer medicines to diseases which have already developed and to suppress revolts which have already developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who dig a well after they have become thirsty, and of those who begin to cast weapons after they have already engaged in battle. Would these actions not be too late?”
Source: Ilza Veith, translator, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972); Henry C. Lu, translator, A Complete Translation of Nei Ching and Nan Ching, (Vancouver: The Academy of Oriental Heritage, 1978).
• Parallels Between Ancient and Modern Chinese Medicine
Describing parallels between the Yellow Emperor’s Classic and modern medicine, Shi Zhaoqi, director of the Department of Proctology at Guanganmen Hospital, stated, “In the text the disease was described as being caused by ‘a disorder of the arteries and veins,’ which is not unlike the modern diagnosis of ‘pathogenic dilation of the blood vessels.’” Shi then used principles in the text and in T’ang Dynasty manuals (dating to the 7th century) to devise a dietary-based remedy.
Sources:“Traditional Chinese Medicine Making Its Mark on the World,” Beijing Review, May 19, 1986.
Yin and Yang
Yin and yang refer to the complementary/opposite energies that make up all things. Yin/yang classification forms the foundation of Far Eastern philosophy and medicine. The principal text for understanding yin and yang is the I Ching or Book of Change.
Yang, originally the sunny side of a mountain, stands for the active principle. It represents the relative tendency of contraction, centripetality, density, heat, light, strength, and other qualities whose energy tends to go down and inward.
Yin, originally the shady side of a mountain, is the receptive or yielding principle. It represents the relative tendency of expansion, growth, centrifugality, diffusion, cold, darkness, and other qualities whose energy tends to go up and outward. Together yin and yang represent the law of universal change, the forces and tendencies that differentiate from absolute unity and manifest and space and time and all relative worlds. See Five Transformations, Yellow Emperor’s Classic.
• Acupuncture Beneficial for Apoplexy
In a study of ki flow and regulation of yin/yang energy balance, researchers in Xian, China, treated 300 patients with apoplexy, stimulating three principal huatuojiaji, extra-channel acupoints along the spine. The treatments resulted in 100 cures, 107 marked improvements, 87 improvements, and 6 ineffective treatments for an overall success rate of 98 percent.
Source: Y. Zhang, “Observation of Curative Effects of Huatuojiaji in the Treatment of 300 Cases of Apoplexy,” Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 16(2):117-20, 1996.
• Balancing Yin/Yang in Blood of Coronary Patients
In a study of 80 coronary heart disease patients, a Chinese physician reported that using traditional methods to activate the blood, warm yang, nourish yin, and replenish qi resulted in a total effective rate of 92.5 percent. Blood pressure and blood lipids also dropped significantly.
Source: Y. Yao, “Therapeutic Effects of the Blood-Activating and Stasis-Reducing Method in 80 Cases of Coronary Heart Disease,” Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 15(1):10-13, 1995.
• Computerized Diagnosis and Treatment of Yin/Yang Imbalance
Far Eastern medical researchers have long taught that yin/yang imbalances caused by most diseases can be reflected in main and collateral channels systems. The channels, or meridians, can adjust and control the physiological function and pathological expression of the body’s viscera and bowels. Through reaction points along the body surface and main and collateral channels, adjustments can be made.
In Kunming, China, scientists announced that they had developed a computerized method for diagnosing and treating patients utilizing biological information sensors attached to meridian channels and points which sense the signals of disease in the human body. The diagnostic information is then converted into an electromagnetic impulse that is transmitted by a wave generator through the main and collateral channel points. In a test of 300 patients with diseases ranging from stomach ache to coronary heart disease and Meniere’s disease, the researchers reported 7.3 percent marked improvement and 82.7 percent improvement for an overall success rate of 90 percent.
The instrument “has good application prospects and will become a new therapy in home medical care,” the study concluded.
Source: Y. Tengxiang et al., “The Design and Application of Microcomputer Human Body Infomration Balance Diagnosis and Treatment Instrument,” Medinfo 8(Pt. 10):913, 1995.
Zinc, a trace mineral involved in enzymatic reactions and other metabolic processes, is found naturally in whole grains, fish and seafood, and other animal foods.
• Whole Foods High in Zinc
Zinc deficiencies are increasingly common in pregnant mothers, teenagers, and in the elderly. They have been associated in medical studies with learning disabilities, infertility, immunodepression, sickle-cell anemia, slower healing of wounds, and other disorders.
Whole sources of zinc include brown rice, barley, whole wheat, rye, oats, and other whole cereal grains; nuts; sunflower and pumpkin seeds; sea vegetables; lentils and peas; watercress and parsley.
Sources: National Academy of Sciences, Diet and Health (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1989) and Michio Kushi and Martha Cottrell, AIDS, Macrobiotics, and Natural Immunity (Tokyo and New York, Japan Publications, 1990).