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In cancer fight, a spice brings hope to the table
Houston Chronicle ^ | July 11, 2005 | TODD ACKERMAN

Posted on 07/11/2005 1:19:41 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the epitome of the conventional cancer establishment, is reporting promising test results on an unconventional weapon: a common spice used in Indian cooking.

In a host of studies, M.D. Anderson researchers are showing that curcumin, the pungent yellow spice in both turmeric and curry powders, has potent anti-cancer properties. They say it may prove effective for both prevention and treatment.

"Curcumin's promise is enormous," said Bharat B. Aggarwal, a professor of cancer medicine in M.D. Anderson's department of experimental therapeutics.

"It appears to inhibit multiple pathways by which cancer grows, and we know it's nontoxic."

Aggarwal added that "in a day when Vioxx and Bextra are off the table, curcumin may be one of the best new hopes on the table" — a reference to popular painkillers (Cox-2 inhibitors) taken off the market after reports they increased the risk of heart disease. Cox-2 inhibitors were considered potential cancer prevention agents because they'd been shown to inhibit tumor growth.

The latest study on curcumin is available today on the journal Cancer's Web site.

In it, M.D. Anderson researchers demonstrate in the laboratory how curcumin stops melanoma cells from proliferating along two key pathways and induces them to essentially commit suicide. The cells were taken from patients.

A month ago, the same researchers reported that in mice, curcumin helped stop the spread of breast cancer to the lungs. It outperformed the cancer drug Taxol in the study, though the best results came with a combination of curcumin and Taxol.

Putting it to the test The results of those studies have led to ongoing Phase I human trials at M.D. Anderson testing curcumin's ability to stop the growth of pancreatic cancer and multiple myeloma.

Still to come are a human trial for breast cancer and an animal trial for melanoma.

Elsewhere, researchers are studying curcumin with lung, colon, head and neck, oral and prostate cancers.

Aggarwal said the thing distinguishing curcumin from other natural products touted for their medicinal properties is the science behind it.

Herbs such as garlic, saw palmetto and gingko may receive more ink, but there have been about 2,000 studies on curcumin, says Aggarwal, easily more than any other natural product.

It is rich in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties.

Most intriguing, the rate of colon, breast, prostate and lung cancer is 10 times lower in India than in the United States.

Financial obstacles In the melanoma study, the M.D. Anderson team found curcumin shut down nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), a powerful protein known to promote an abnormal inflammatory response that leads to a variety of disorders, including arthritis and cancer; the protein known as IKK that switches NF-kB "on;" and STAT3, another pathway involved in the spread of tumors.

Aggarwal noted that the greatest obstacle to further study of curcumin is financial. No pharmaceutical company is likely to develop a natural product that can't be patented so the only sources of funding are government agencies.

Curcumin is available in capsule form at health food stores, though the purity of some brands may be in question because herbs aren't regulated. Aggarwal's team worked with a 96 percent pure product.

"Curcumin's efficacy for treating cancer is still to be proven," Aggarwal said. "But I would recommend it for prevention right now, based on animal studies. People have been eating it for thousands of years so we know it's safe."

• Ground from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, curcumin is a member of the ginger family.

• It has long had multiple uses in India and other Asian nations: food preservative, folk medicine, coloring agent, body cleanser and food flavorer (2 to 5 percent of turmeric is curcumin, for instance).

todd.ackerman@chron.com


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: cancer; curcumin; mdanderson; medicine
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1 posted on 07/11/2005 1:19:42 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

"Most intriguing, the rate of colon,
breast, prostate and lung cancer is
10 times lower in India than in the
United States."

Very interesting!


2 posted on 07/11/2005 1:38:19 AM PDT by Sabatier
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Cancer has been slowly killing off my family for the last few years. I'm hoping they solve it before it's my turn. I can't think of very many worse ways to go.


3 posted on 07/11/2005 1:39:42 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: SoDak

Head to the spice isle today.


4 posted on 07/11/2005 1:44:07 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Sabatier

***...It is rich in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. ...***


5 posted on 07/11/2005 1:44:32 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Sabatier
The average Indian male born in the 1990s can expect to live 58.5 years; women can expect to live only slightly longer (59.6 years), according to 1995 estimates. source

This undoubtedly has more to do with the cancer numbers than curcumin. However, this is in fact an exciting possibility for cancer treatment.

More curry chicken please!

6 posted on 07/11/2005 1:45:26 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter (John 6: 51-58)
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To: Sabatier; Cincinatus' Wife

It should be mentioned the high number of vegetarians, indeed strict vegetarians by Indian diet. There may be something there. Wish I could do it but just can't eat just vegetables all the time.

boy do I love cheeseburgers, and I'm sure they ain't too good for you, at least not as often as I eat them, LOL.


7 posted on 07/11/2005 1:46:57 AM PDT by F15Eagle
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Haven't the British adapted a diet rich with curried foods due to their historical relationship to India? How would such a study reflect over there? Determining the impact of such spices when introduce to an Anglo-Saxon population would be very useful before drawing any sort of conclusion based upon this particular study.

Seems to me that this should have been the next step.

Unless of course, the media was trying to invent news. But they wouldn't do that, would they?!? ;P

8 posted on 07/11/2005 1:50:47 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Democrats.. Socialists..Commies..Traitors...Who can tell the difference?)
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To: Straight Vermonter

Looks like the average Indian doesn't live long enough to get cancer.


9 posted on 07/11/2005 1:57:06 AM PDT by PeoplesRepublicOfWashington (Washington State--Land of Court-approved Voting Fraud.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I am so hoping that I get the genetic side from my mom. Seems like most of my dads side of the family has died early (50-60), almost all from cancer. The women on my moms side live long. My grandma is 88, and her mom died at 92. I think I'll go to the store...just in case.


10 posted on 07/11/2005 2:36:15 AM PDT by codyjacksmom (Yes, my kids are people too.)
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To: F15Eagle; Caipirabob

Good points.


11 posted on 07/11/2005 2:39:52 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: codyjacksmom

I doubt it could hurt!


12 posted on 07/11/2005 2:40:10 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Why can't they somehow discover someday that bacon prevents cancer?


13 posted on 07/11/2005 3:10:08 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Reading up on this, curcumin is derived from the curcuma longa plant.

My aunt sent me an unusual plant with pretty foliage many years ago.
I had to go to Exotica (THE encyclopedia of plants) to determine what it was.
Turns out it was curcuma inodora.
I wonder whether the inodora variety has the same chemical structure.
It is a very showy plant, at first glance reminding you of a colorful bromeliad.

14 posted on 07/11/2005 3:33:00 AM PDT by Vinnie
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; codyjacksmom
I doubt it could hurt!

Exactly...

It's been 25 years, and more, since I went on the Great Hunt for the Sure Cure for Cancer with my long-lost first wife... she had Kaposi's hemmoragic sarcoma, then malignant melanoma- but what set her off the deep end was when her brother got melanoma, too.

We started in Vancouver, and went all the way down to Contreras's clinic in Mexico, looking for "something- anything" that would offer an alternative to the dire prognosis from conventional medicine. Laetril, wheatgrass juice & sprouts, retinotherapy, reflexology, DMSO-- you name it, we tried it- And yes, her brother died eventually, despite the best conventional, and other, treatment...

...but...

while I remain unconvinced that "alternatives" offer any sort of sure cure, they did have snippets of knowledge that medicine poo-poos, yet- why not try diet, and exercise? Can't hurt you, you may feel better, or at least different for a while.

15 posted on 07/11/2005 3:34:52 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: backhoe
You are right, of the two, diet and exercise, I think the most important is exercise. You do need to control your diet of course but, exercise helps in a many of the problem areas besides cancer.
16 posted on 07/11/2005 4:22:20 AM PDT by depenzz
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To: backhoe

Life is worth fighting for.

Bump!


17 posted on 07/11/2005 4:29:17 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Vinnie

Thank you for the info.


18 posted on 07/11/2005 4:29:53 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: SoDak

I know what you mean.


19 posted on 07/11/2005 4:30:16 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: depenzz
You are right, of the two, diet and exercise, I think the most important is exercise. You do need to control your diet of course but, exercise helps in a many of the problem areas besides cancer.

It's just anecdotal, but the longest-lived people I have known were active, and did hard labor-- usually in the sunlight every day, just about up 'til the day they died. And many of them ate what I call a farmhand's or lumberjack's diet- eggs, meat, pancakes, bacon... plenty of vegtables, often cooked in some sort of fat, fried food. But they kept moving, until they could move no more.

20 posted on 07/11/2005 4:32:28 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: backhoe

A year or more ago, we had a doctor who was a freeper, he wrote to me about using the natural cancer cures for my
daughter in law.

He felt that the natural cures should be used, as well as the treatments from the doctor.

He felt that the addition of the natural cures would increase the chances of survival by 20 to 25 percent.

Theresa's cancer was to far along for any cure and we lost her last fall.

My sympathy for the loss of your wife.


21 posted on 07/11/2005 4:43:28 AM PDT by nw_arizona_granny (http://bernie.house.gov/pc/members.asp Meet YOUR Communist party members in Congress)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

This looks more promising than some...thanks for posting this.


22 posted on 07/11/2005 4:44:23 AM PDT by SE Mom (God Bless those who serve.(Central Florida))
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To: nw_arizona_granny
A year or more ago, we had a doctor who was a freeper, he wrote to me about using the natural cancer cures for my daughter in law. He felt that the natural cures should be used, as well as the treatments from the doctor. He felt that the addition of the natural cures would increase the chances of survival by 20 to 25 percent. Theresa's cancer was to far along for any cure and we lost her last fall.

I'm very sorry to hear that- there are just some conditions that can't be survived. It doesn't make it any easier to bear, however.

The one thing I'll say in favor of Contreras's clinic is that they tried everything- conventional or not- and sometimes bought time, or even saved those considered beyond hope.

23 posted on 07/11/2005 5:05:45 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: backhoe

I met a family in Ohio where two sisters and brother lived to 100,102,103.... All were bright and active until the end (the last died of complications from a broken hip or would probably still be alive)
Most people do not give genetics enough respect because there's no way to improve your genes. Still I suppose diet and exercise couldn't hurt.


24 posted on 07/11/2005 5:44:03 AM PDT by hford02 (I have to get my tinfoil hat refitted -- I keep picking up NPR and Air America)
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To: backhoe
If I or any of my family were told they had cancer, I would head to the mecca--MD Anderson. When I saw this research was being done there, I put more credibility in the story.

Many many friends of mine have been treated for their various cancers at MD Anderson, and most have done real well. I have yet to hear anyone criticize the treatment they have gotten there.

25 posted on 07/11/2005 5:55:18 AM PDT by basil (Exercise your Second Amendment--buy another gun today!)
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To: SoDak

Mine too. I've lost my mom, two nephews and my sister to this curse. I know there are natural cures but the FDA and FTC won't pursue them because there's no MONEY involved in it. I won't give a dime to the Cancer Society until they start pursing these natural cures or at least testing them.

Cinnamon is supposed to be very good for diabetics, too. I think many spices will be coming to the forefront.


26 posted on 07/11/2005 6:18:28 AM PDT by Marysecretary (Thank you, Lord, for FOUR MORE YEARS!!!)
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To: basil
Many many friends of mine have been treated for their various cancers at MD Anderson, and most have done real well. I have yet to hear anyone criticize the treatment they have gotten there.

I've heard many excellent things about them- at that time in my own adventures, Duke was leading with immunothearapy for melanoma, so we ended up there. It does help to have a Doc you really trust, which we did- old family friend. I actually had young medical people track me down in those neo-gothic corridors, grab my hand, and ask, "Say, I've heard you know Marv Engel? Hellofa doctor!"

27 posted on 07/11/2005 6:23:29 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: backhoe

Brother I went on that same search with my later wife as well. Nothing worked not the most ancient nor the most modern and no one could have fought more persistently or with more courage than my dear Arlene. It will be eight years in September since she passed at the age of 43.


28 posted on 07/11/2005 6:23:38 AM PDT by justshutupandtakeit (Public Enemy #1, the RATmedia.)
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To: F15Eagle

I had a cheeseburger yesterday with onions and mayo. It was sooo good. Today I'll have a boca burger in repentance (smile). I think a vegan diet is the best if you have any kind of illness but I can't just do carrot and other fruit/veggie juices and vegetables. I tried it and my bowels were working just great but it's a hard one to stay on for long. I'm not supposed to eat a lot of green veggies because of the renal diet and being on coumadin, but I have a lot of salads. M


29 posted on 07/11/2005 6:24:31 AM PDT by Marysecretary (Thank you, Lord, for FOUR MORE YEARS!!!)
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To: Marysecretary
In Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novel, CANCER WARD, the patients have a long discussion about a tree bark tea that is supposed to work wonders. Later one of the three female doctor admits that it may have some beneficial effects especially with stomach cancer.

This novel takes place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, USSR in 1955. It is semi-autobiographical as Solzhenitsyn was a cancer patient there after serving an eight year sentence in the Gulag. He was given three weeks to live at one point but is still alive today after getting conventional treatments and waiting in the queues.
30 posted on 07/11/2005 6:28:07 AM PDT by Monterrosa-24
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To: SoDak
Oh man, I actually saw a PBS special in the 1980's that said that bacon causes cancer.
31 posted on 07/11/2005 6:32:05 AM PDT by krb (ad hominem arguments are for stupid people)
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To: Sabatier
"Most intriguing, the rate of colon, breast, prostate and lung cancer is 10 times lower in India than in the United States."

Very interesting!

Well, it's no wonder...have you ever eaten Indian food? Let's just call it "intestinal Drano."

32 posted on 07/11/2005 6:32:13 AM PDT by Andonius_99
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To: justshutupandtakeit
Brother I went on that same search with my later wife as well. Nothing worked not the most ancient nor the most modern and no one could have fought more persistently or with more courage than my dear Arlene. It will be eight years in September since she passed at the age of 43.

God bless you neighbor- life goes on, but it leaves a hole in your heart that nothing ever really fills. I remarried after a few years, and it kind of spooks me when I realize how many years I've had with wife #2 compared to the little more that seven with my first. And how, every once in a while, I'll have the errant thought, "boy, wait 'til I tell Helen about that one!" and then realize I'm not ever going home to that home again.

33 posted on 07/11/2005 6:33:00 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Very interestng news.

We have always thought that GOD put on earth something to cure every disease, all we have to do is locate them.

34 posted on 07/11/2005 6:35:35 AM PDT by Dustbunny (The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist)
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To: F15Eagle
It should be mentioned the high number of vegetarians, indeed strict vegetarians by Indian diet.

I know several dozen "strict" vegitarians and several vegans. Down to the last person they are the unhealthiest looking people I've ever known. They are gaunt, stay sick all winter and lack energy. Forget about trying to find somewhere to go out to dinner with them too. One even suffered a broken arm (humerus bone) in flight in a hang glider under normal flight conditions. She is a nurse practitioner and knows and understands the benefits of good nutrition. She has since begun eating meat again, her color came back, she has boundless energy and she no longer stays sick during the cold and flu season.

35 posted on 07/11/2005 6:38:48 AM PDT by Thermalseeker
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To: backhoe; justshutupandtakeit
My heart goes out to both of you.

Cancer is such an insidious, awful disease. However, once in a while, you run across a patient who has cancer and has undergone treatments that to me seemed worse than the disease itself, but they hang on somehow, and keep going.

Someday, the cure will be found, but until that day, there will be many horrors such as you experienced. God bless you both, and your families.

36 posted on 07/11/2005 6:44:46 AM PDT by basil (Exercise your Second Amendment--buy another gun today!)
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To: backhoe
I was given less than a year to live in 1998 -- lung cancer. Thanks to God, good doctors and a special diet that my RN daughter put me on, I'm still here. I'm convinced that the diet played a large part in my case. Anyone who would like details, just FReepmail me.

Carolyn

37 posted on 07/11/2005 7:22:06 AM PDT by CDHart (The world has become a lunatic asylum and the lunatics are in charge.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

When the article states: "curcumin, the pungent yellow spice in both turmeric and curry powders" what it really means is "curcumin, otherwise known as turmeric, which is the spice in curry powder which makes it yellow".

It's TURMERIC! Same family as ginger and golden seal. I use it like golden seal because it is so much cheaper. It helps cuts and wounds, to sprinkle on them -helps heal them up. Make a paste and apply to boils, rashes or pimples. Of course, turns the skin an appealing shade of yellow. :-)

It's good to eat it every day in food.


38 posted on 07/11/2005 7:25:57 AM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: Caipirabob

Indians eat turmeric every day. I doubt the British eat it every day.


39 posted on 07/11/2005 7:26:56 AM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Usually when lifespans are determined, all the infant and child deaths are figured in, but once a person attains adulthood they may live to an old age.

Just like we read that in the middle ages, or a couple of hundred years ago in our country, the lifespan was shorter. Actually many people lived to a ripe old age, but the infant mortality was higher so it brought down the average. It's not that everyone in the middle ages died at 40. I'm sure it's the same in India - there are plenty of old people there.


40 posted on 07/11/2005 7:29:39 AM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: CDHart
Thank you, Carolyn, I will remember that.
Just for the sake of accuracy, while melanoma is what killed my BIL, quite ironically my first wife died from a stroke- after apparently beating both malignancies. Berry aneurism in the circlet of Willis. Nobody saw it coming- it was silent & undetected until it burst. On her 36th birthday, within minutes of the hour she was born-- it makes me subscribe ( to an extent ) to what I call the "Big Clock Theory"-- that each of us has a clock running on us, and until it strikes, you can literally stand up and walk through Hell unscathed- and when it chimes that final time, no power on Earth can help you.
41 posted on 07/11/2005 7:29:48 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: Thermalseeker

There is a world of difference between vegetarians who eat milk products, and vegans. Vegans are nutcases who ruin their health.

I have been a milk product eating vegetarian for 35 yrs, raised two kids on the diet who have stuck with it even into adulthood, and they are healthy beautiful women.

It is the lack of milk products which destroy the health of vegans, or those whackjobs who eat only raw food.


42 posted on 07/11/2005 7:34:22 AM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: PeoplesRepublicOfWashington
You make a very good point.
43 posted on 07/11/2005 7:35:50 AM PDT by Churchillspirit (Anaheim Angels - 2002 World Series Champions)
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To: backhoe

It can be called "karma" (though most people misunderstand the meaning of the word), or destiny. I've seen two friends, one a very, very dear friend, live very healthy lives with good diets and habits, and succumb to cancer at 28 and a young 50.

What really matters is not how long we walk the earth, but what our destination is after we leave. What lessons we learn here.

I've had some severe illnesses in my time, and they have taught me lessons I value like treasures.


44 posted on 07/11/2005 7:41:57 AM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: little jeremiah
It can be called "karma" (though most people misunderstand the meaning of the word), or destiny. I've seen two friends, one a very, very dear friend, live very healthy lives with good diets and habits, and succumb to cancer at 28 and a young 50. What really matters is not how long we walk the earth, but what our destination is after we leave. What lessons we learn here. I've had some severe illnesses in my time, and they have taught me lessons I value like treasures.

Soldiers call it "seeing the elephant," and there are many ways to do this.

45 posted on 07/11/2005 7:44:41 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: backhoe

Hmm - could you explain "seeing the elephant"?


46 posted on 07/11/2005 7:48:21 AM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: backhoe
Interesting theory. Your wife dying at 36 -- that must have been awful for you. Aneurysms are not usually detectable until they go. What we need is a body scanner like they used on Star Trek, and I think the MRIs, etc. are the forerunner of that.

Carolyn

47 posted on 07/11/2005 7:49:29 AM PDT by CDHart (The world has become a lunatic asylum and the lunatics are in charge.)
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To: little jeremiah

Facing death.


48 posted on 07/11/2005 8:09:42 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: CDHart
Interesting theory. Your wife dying at 36 -- that must have been awful for you. Aneurysms are not usually detectable until they go.

I was 31 at the time, and the richness of ironies still rankles, a little. In all the tests they ran, they never x-rayed her head-- she had been born with it. Or so the pathologist claimed. If she had not had her neck broken in a wreck ( which, among many other things, caused chronically low [ 60/40 ] blood pressure ) it probably would have burst long before that, since prior to becoming handicapped, she was quite the athlete. Archer, runner, swimmer, horsewoman.

49 posted on 07/11/2005 8:18:06 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: Marysecretary
Cinnamon is supposed to be very good for diabetics, too.

No question about it...cinnamon is an essential part of my family's daily diet. Cancer treatment is one issue, but a cure? Never happen.

50 posted on 07/11/2005 8:28:47 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (New England...the Sodom and Gomorrah of the 21st Century, and proud of it!)
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