Tailor-Made Stem Cell Therapy for Diseases

“We plan to bring out innovative tailor-made cells for diseases”

My first thought is that developing tailor-made cures for diseases is a marketing strategy that is very reflective of the culture we live in, where people do not want to look at their health holistically, but rather get obsessed on whatever particular symptom or disease that is impacting them.  I think this approach really feeds on people’s obsession with disease and our failure to see it in the larger context of living a balanced and healthy life.  I also think the concept is short-sighted in its potential impact on the whole system.  While tailor-made cells may be available for Parkinson’s or Motor Neuron Disease, what other effects will it have? 


I do think the idea of regenerative medicine has it’s place and offers promise to people who haven’t had many options, but my hope is that it can be used in more of a holistic context when possible.

Which Way Forward? Laughing…

Do you agree that “Laughter really is the best medicine?”

Whole-heartedly! On a personal level, I’ve felt the healing benefits of laughter and happiness.  I feel like a different person when I’m happy, laughing and in the flow of life.  I feel more energized, healthier, capable, and open to life.  I truly believe this has a physiological basis.  I have experienced how laughter cuts through stress, so it does not surprise me at all that what’s happening on a chemical level in the body is that the body’s stress hormones (cortisol and epinephrine) are secreted less, which boosts the immune response.  We are definitely less likely to get sick.  This is as important for ourselves as it is for our clients and as Chinese medicine practioners, we want to effectively be able to explain this to clients and bring laughter and happiness into conversations about one’s health.  For clients that may not be happy, we can offer gateway in with qigong practices like the inner smile and laughing meditations.  We can also encourage people to notice how they feel on a physical, emotional, psychological level when they’ve been laughing.

Living Diversity & Cell Biology

Cell Biology:  Animal, Bacteria, Plant and Virus Cell structures

I really loved the Virtual Cell link with the vivid visual and hover-over description of the elements of the cell.  In an ideal situation, there would be a link to more information in addition to the summary offered because it is very general and basic info.  That said, I really appreciated the combination of visual representation with contextual information.


In looking at the variety of cell types:  the cellular structures of plants and animals are strikingly similar.  The cellular structure of bacteria is markedly simpler and the cellular structure of viruses looks very robotic and mechanical (not “alive”).


In the Intro to Cell and Virus structure, I enjoyed learning about the origin of a word I use a lot with clients when I give them yogic stretches for upper back tension ….I had no idea “tensegrity” was not a specific yogic-alignment  term.  It turns out, “tensegrity” (a contraction of “tensional integrity”), is a concept and word originally coined by Buckminster Fullerhe and word refers to structures that are mechanically stable because stresses are distributed and balanced throughout the entire structure, not because the individual components have great strength.  I love this term and use it all the time but enjoyed hearing its origin…

Cancer Risk

Child cancer risk higher in richer rural families?

The idea of isolation leading to less-developed immune systems deeply resonates with me but in an even broader way than what was explained in the article.  I think the more isolated, and the less connection and love a person receives, the less developed their immune system will be, and the more prone to physical, psychological and spiritual issues.  I appreciated Cely’s comment in class about this and feel this “bigger picture” view on the problems associated with lack of connection is really necessary for us as chinese medicine practioners to have in mind.  I definitely see myself talking with clients who are having health and psychological issues about the importance of connection, love and support in life and asking them questions about how they feel about their relationships, support system, etc.


As discussed in the article, on a purely physical level, if a person is more isolated, living in big & clean houses and big plots of land, and has minimal contact with fewer people, there’s less of a chance of coming across a particular virus.  I do think that protecting children from coming in touch with bacteria prevents their immune system from developing.  I think that children do need exposure to bacteria, germs and viruses to stimulate their immune systems. 

Cancer Risk and Hygiene

Child cancer risk higher in richer rural families?

In this article, the wealthy populations studied had contact with fewer people, more land, lived in bigger houses, and most likely had a more “hygienic” household….they basically were exposed to fewer germs and bacteria and had less of a chance of coming across a particular virus…I really think that protecting children from coming in touch with bacteria prevents their immune system from developing.  Children need exposure to bacteria, germs and viruses to stimulate their immune systems.  I do think there can be a “chain reaction, where with little exposure to bacteria as a child, the immune system is not as well developed and cannot ward off infections later in childhood which makes children more vulnerable to cancer…


I really appreciated and agreed with Cely’s comment about the potential linkage between isolation and lack of connection could also contribute to the higher risk in richer rural families because I think connection is very important

Week 10: Restoring Bison

How would you prioritize the reintroduction of the American Bison….

I think it’s really important culturally, spiritually, economically and environmentally to reintroduce the Bison.  It feels like it’s an important part of our heritage that should be reestablished.  It feels very culturally significant and is symbolic of hope for Native Indian people, as Bison represented there spirit and symbolized balance and harmony with nature, where they could rely on nature for food and sustenance.  The Bison symbolized strength and unity and as Fred DuBray of the Cheyenne River Sioux wrote, “…as we bring our herds back to health, we will also bring our people back to health.”  I think as a culture we need to continually prioritize balance and returning to a state of balance, after it’s been lost. 


The population of Bison has completely plummeted, from 20-30 million to now only 250K in the US.  As Larry mentioned in class, this has largely contributed to the “dustbowl” and likely has a range of other snowball effects….


I think the community oriented, bottoms up approach is also important for the Bison’s re-introduction.  The Buffalo Commons seems to follow this type of “bottoms up” approach and includes a number of seemingly unconnected components that promote a healthier, more sustainable and community oriented life in the Great Plains.