Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Shadows from a wall near St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

Tuesday is science day in the WSJ. One of the most interesting stories concerns the signaling of the cancer cells to recruit healthy cells to maintain its growth. Turns out if you cut open a tumor, most of the cells are normal cells. I assumed that they were all tumor cells. The tumor even sends out signals to the bone marrow to produce what it needs. I have heard that in the cases when a primary tumor is excised, distal secondary tumors experience a growth spurt. Presumably the primary tumor sent out signals to suppress their growth but in its absence, the tumors are free to grow. Not all of these signaling compounds have been identified. One factor has been; the angiogenesis factor which is responsible for recruiting blood vessels to grow to supply the tumor. Avastin is a monocolonal antibody developed to target this. It works for a while but the pesky tumors develop alternate signalling methods.

Another was on healthy baby fat. Turns out that babies have brown fat full of mitochondria that kick in when they are chilled. Little babies don't shiver and are hard put to tell their parents that they are cold. Adults have both brown fat and white fat. White fat is mainly big lumps of fat. The article theorizes that when an adult is chilled, the brown fat starts metabolizing . They hypothesized that in lower temperatures, we'd lose weight assuming we don't eat more to compensate. Well I am out running in the cold and I am still fat. I used to swim laps for exercise in fairly cool water. I theorized that the cold water just made me produce another layer of fat to protect me like a seal. I switched to running and initially the pounds melted off but then my body learned to compensate. Sometime this fall assuming I don't become injured, I will run my 35,000th mile which translates into 1000 lbs of fat-a half ton. Am I 1000 lbs underweight? No..somehow the energy balance is on the input side. But running provides many other benefits. I have no varicose veins, my skin is smooth, I have good circulation, my heart rate is 55, it puts me in a better mood, and I'd probably be alot larger without it and much less firm.

This afternoon I went in to deal with the hair. Only the ends of my hair were curls-like a grown out perm. Short straight hair -think pixie-really wouldn't be a good look for me. Fortunately, after the curls were cut off, I still have chemo wave so my hair has 'body'. My hair is now lighter than it was. My 'roots' won't be as obvious. So some people get to keep their chemo curls forever; others a year. I guess I fit into the latter category. But if and when the wave goes away, I will grow the hair out to its former length.


Holly said...

ugh....mainly big lumps of fat...thanks dear!!

Teri Bernstein said...

Pix, please! I wanna see that hair! I was just in Chicago and unfortunately I might as well have just applied some ugly lumps of white and flabby fat to my belly and hips--five days of no exercise and no walking...not to mention Chicago in-law type eating (love it)...


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